Today’s blog is written by Bonnie Russman who reminds us that we don’t fight our battles alone but that the LORD is our banner.
“The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua,“Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hurwent to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the LORD, the LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” (–Exodus 17:8-16)
Whether it is a hand-made sign carried by a group of protestors in Washington, D.C., the colorful pennant of a local baseball team, or the flag of a nation being held high as its soldiers march into battle, banners have historically been used to make a statement. They are proclamations and expressions of allegiance, pride, support, or love. They are often displayed as a visible symbol of something much deeper – a truly heartfelt belief.
In this passage from Exodus, the people of Israel won a great victory under the Lord’s direction and favor, and through Moses’ obedience and leadership the enemy was defeated. As Moses’ hands were lifted up in praise, God Himself was their banner!
We, too, have our battles, like the athletes, demonstrators, or soldiers. Life brings us trials and challenges, but we also have a very real spiritual enemy who wants to see us defeated. What about our banner? What do we hold up in this life-long battle? What is our symbol of allegiance, pride, and proclamation? In what do we deeply believe?
I am reminded of a great old hymn of the church, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!” Indeed, Christ Himself is our banner, and His cross is the terrible, beautiful, and everlasting symbol of our victory! It is His profound expression of love for us, and beneath it we find our hope and rest.
“You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth.” (-Psalm 60:4)
If you were to make an actual banner that expressed or proclaimed your faith in Jesus and what He means to you, what would it look like? Think of its color, size, shape, and what symbols or words you would use to display your love for Him. As you envision this banner, thank God for who He is and all that He has done for you.
Thank You, oh God, for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to remember that you are always with me, sending your Holy Spirit to guide, protect, and defend. Give me courage each day to stand strong and fight with the mighty spiritual weapons that You provide, and may I always lift high the cross with passion, pride, and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.