What Does Jehovah-Nissi mean? – Exodus 17

When you meet someone, one of the first questions you ask is, “What’s your name?” That is how friendships and relationships begin. Most of us have more than one name depending on the relationship of the person addressing us. Our names tell who we are to that person. Similarly, the names of God reveal who He is to us and who He desires to be in our lives. In Genesis 1:1 we see God as Elohim, the Creator. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God is eternal. He created all things and He knows all things. In Genesis 2 we see God as Jehovah, which is His personal name. Genesis 2:4 says, “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” God is Creator but He is not some impersonal force or power who is distant. God is personal. He desires to know us on a personal level and He wants us to know Him. He desires a relationship with His creation. You can believe in Elohim (there is a God) and not believe in Jehovah (know Him personally).

Throughout the Old Testament, God is known by many names. Many of those names compound with Jehovah, telling us more about God, His character, and who He desires to be in our lives. That is exactly what we see in Exodus 17 with Jehovah-Nissi, God our Victory.

In Times of Weariness
Exodus 17 is where we read this name for the first time. The Israelites complained to Moses, “Give us water to drink” (v. 2). They were camping in the wilderness and there was no water. Moses brought their complaint before the Lord and in verse 6 we see the Lord say, “I am going to stand there in front of you on the rock at Horeb; when you hit the rock, water will come out of it and the people will drink.” First Corinthians 10:4 says that rock was Christ, the solid rock, the cornerstone that was struck, beaten, and crucified on the cross. John 7 says the water is a picture of the Holy Spirit. The Israelites had traveled in the hot, dry, desert with wind and sand, and they were thirsty. They were weary. Don’t grow weary in well doing. Jehovah-Nissi will enable you to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint. When you are weary God is your victory, Jehovah-Nissi. The name means the LORD is our banner, mighty warrior, victory. A banner today is like a sign or flag. You see them often at sporting events to show whose team you are for. Moses wanted to remind God’s people that our allegiance is ultimately to the LORD. God alone gives us the victory.

In Times of Warfare
Right after God gives the Israelites water from the rock, we read, “At Rephidim, Amalek came and fought against Israel” (v. 8). Rephidim means place of rest. The enemy will hit you when you are hungry, thirsty, defenseless, and you let down your guard. In this story, Moses stood on the hilltop and as long as his hands were lifted, Israel prevailed. Aaron and Hur helped Moses keep his hands up and “Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword” (v. 13). This reminds me of Psalm 63:4, “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” What happens on the hilltop determines the outcome in the valley. Fight the good fight of faith. Pray and fight for your marriage, children, business, and testimony. The arm of flesh alone will fail. Find an Aaron and a Hur who will agree with you in prayer. Our God is mighty to save, mighty in battle. He is our defender, our shield, our fortress, our refuge. No wonder Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”

In Times of Worship
The chapter ends, “And Moses built an altar and named it, ‘The LORD Is My Banner.’ He said, ‘Indeed, my hand is lifted up toward the LORD’S throne. The LORD will be at war with Amalek from generation to generation’” (v. 15-16). The battle is the LORD’s. God will contend/fight with those who contend with you. You get under the banner of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and He will give you the victory!

First John 5:4 says, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” First Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Moses knew Jehovah brought the victory and gave God all the glory. Look to Jehovah-Nissi today for your victory.

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