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Bible Studies for Life
March 18, 2017
Exodus 17:8-16 (CSB)
One interesting story from the most recent Olympics was that, as a penalty, one country could not fly its flag, even if its athletes won. This country’s athletes had to wear neutral colors, and the bobsled was just white. They could compete and win, but they were flag-less.
In Exodus 17 we find Israel’s first battle, along with the first mention of Joshua. The Amalekites, who did not fear God, came and attacked. According to Deuteronomy 25:18, they were attacking the tired stragglers in the back of the line.
Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:12), so I’m not sure if he was still upset at the stealing of Esau’s birthright, but he attacked.
Moses told Joshua to go and select some men to fight. Moses stood on a hill and held up the staff of God. When Moses held up the staff of God, the Israelites prevailed. With the help of Aaron and others holding up Moses’ arms, the Israelites won the battle.
In order to remember this victory, Moses instructed Joshua to build an altar and name it Yahweh-nissi (YHWH) or “The LORD is my Banner.” Even though Joshua’s name means “YHWH is the Deliverer,” the altar was not named for him.
Even though Moses held up the staff to the point of exhaustion, the altar was not named for Moses. The LORD was, and is, the “Banner.”
God did not deliver His people out of Egypt so that He could have nothing to do with them. God continued to deliver His people from their enemies.
God is our flag. He is over us as our Protector. We are covered by His powerful presence. Our allegiance is with Him alone.
“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” (Ex. 17:15-16).