THE NAMES OF GOD – JEHOVAH NISSI – Exodus 17:8-16 – July 3, 2022 – Pastor Marvin Engle
The Hebrew names of God in the Old Testament did not come to us by accident or by chance. These names were very carefully chosen by the Holy Spirit, the Author of Scripture, to drive home to our hearts some of the great attributes and characteristics of our God and our Savior. Each new name of God is first used in a historical setting that reveals a new attribute of God or a new aspect of His character that has important lessons to teach us.
We are now studying the Jehovah-Titles, the Jehovah compounds, that begin with the name Jehovah, then combines it with a title to give another special meaning to Jehovah’s personal dealings with His redeemed people. You may remember that the name, Jehovah, means the One who becomes what exactly what we need in every trial of life.
The first Jehovah-Title we studied was “Jehovah-Jireh,” the LORD who provides the needs of His believing people. We studied in its first mention the time when God provided a lamb as a substitute to die in the place of Abraham’s beloved son, Isaac. This pictured the time when God would provide Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God, to die for our sins on the Cross as our Substitute and Savior. All who trust Christ as Savior are forgiven of their sins.
The second Jehovah-Title we learned last week was “Jehovah-Rapha,” the LORD who heals our diseases, and more importantly, He is the one who provides spiritual soul healing for the fatal disease of sin which all men inherited from Adam. Physical disease can cause physical death, but the spiritual disease of sin can bring eternal death. Jehovah-Rapha is the one who can take the bitter experiences of life and turn them into sweetness by His salvation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WILDERNESS TRIALS:
It is important to understand that the Wilderness experiences of children of Israel were intended to illustrate the experiences that occur in the lives of believers in their journeys in the Christian life. We all begin as new Christians and have much to learn.
The redemption of Israel from Egypt by the blood of the Passover Lamb was a picture of our salvation by faith in the blood of Christ. Their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea is a picture of the God’s deliverance of believers from the world and the beginning of a new life in Christ. The Wilderness journeys portray God allowing or sending experiences in our lives to teach us to trust in Him for the supply of our everyday needs of life. Each new trial was the test of their faith to see whether they would rely on their own wisdom and solutions, or turn to God for His – Proverbs 3:5-7 – 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
It is important to remember that God led them to every place where they experienced trials to teach them to go to Him in prayer and seek His will. These experiences parallel the experiences of new Christians as they begin the walk of faith in the Christian life. How have you responded to the trials He has used to test you as a Christian, young or mature?
THE FIRST OCCASION OF WARFARE: Exodus 17:8-13
“THEN came Amalek…” The timing of the first warfare of Israel in the Wilderness teaches us a great spiritual lesson: Israel has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, has begun to feed on the manna from Heaven, and has received the life-giving water from the Rock (17:6), a type of our receiving of the Holy Spirit; then came warfare with Amalek.
“WHO IS AMALEK?”
Amalek is an Arab nation, the descendants of Esau, a powerful nation living north of the Sinai Desert; they were a barbarous tribe who preyed on caravans, always looking for an opportunity to attack and steal from other peoples. They evidently saw the Israelites in the desert far from caravan routes, and assumed they had lost their way.
Being descendants of Esau, they had all the characteristics of Esau. They were profane; they had no fear of God and no appreciation for spiritual things. The spiritual meant nothing to them. Esau chose to live by his flesh nature and sold what had eternal value, his birthright, to his brother, Jacob, because he craved for a meal to satisfy the hunger of his flesh and counted his birthright as of no value. He chose the temporal over the spiritual.
The Amalekites were the first enemy Israel faced in the Wilderness and became the constant enemies of God’s people and were always at war with the children of Israel. Moses’ generation had to fight them; Joshua’s generation had to fight the Amalekites; King Saul had to fight them; King David had to fight them. In fact, they were not destroyed until the events of the Book of Esther as we will see Thursday night. (16)
AMALEK REPRESENTS THE FLESH – THE SINFUL NATURE
Do you remember how surprised you were after you were first saved when you were tempted to say or do something you knew was wrong? Perhaps you thought when you were saved your new Christian life would be so wonderful you might never be tempted to sin again! Amelek is a picture of our old sin nature that tempts us to sin, the Bible calls the flesh.
The Apostle Paul helps us understand the battle that a Christian faces with his flesh nature. Romans 7:17-21 – 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. We were born with a sinful nature that was not eradicated when we became a Christian. We will be at constant war with our flesh nature until we die. We will always be at war with our sin nature and the temptation to sin!
God gave us a new divine nature when we were saved, but our old sin nature conducts constant warfare with us, seeking to defeat and destroy us in our Christian life.
HOW DID AMALEK ATTACK ISRAEL?
We learn their manner of attack from Deuteronomy 25:17-18 – 17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; 18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast FAINT and WEARY; and HE FEARED NOT GOD. Amalek attacked Israel suddenly and from behind where Israel was its weakest. They attacked when the people were strung out, and they were unprepared. Amalek was seeking to destroy Israel; their perpetual enemies.
Your flesh nature will attack you and tempt you where you are weakest; when you are tired and weary and discouraged and ready to faint in your faith. Do you have what the Bible calls “a besetting sin?” Many Christians do! – Hebrews 12:1 – … let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,.. A besetting sin is a particular sin that each individual is most frequently tempted to commit. It is a Christian’s special weakness; it differs among individual believers. We must be on guard constantly and be spiritually ready, lest we be overcome by our sinful flesh nature. Our sin nature will attack us when we are weak and spiritually unprepared.
HOW DID ISRAEL FIGHT AMALEK?
The children of Israel were a nation of slaves, not a trained army. This is the first time Israel has had to fight her own battles. Always before, God fought the battles for Israel. Moses calmly ordered Joshua to take up his sword (13) and choose men to fight Amalek while Moses would stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in his hands (9-10).
This immediately tells us we are expected to take the sword of God’s Word and fight with our Amalek nature. The plan and program of God is not to annihilate our flesh nature; His plan and program is that we, as believers, learn how to fight our Amalek sinful nature and learn how to have victory over the flesh! It is essential to a victorious Christian life!
HOW DID ISRAEL GAIN VICTORY OVER AMALEK?
Moses was to take the rod of God. You remember that was his shepherd’s club that he yielded to God, and it became the representative of the power of God. With that rod Moses did miracles; he brought plagues on Egypt; he parted the Red Sea; he struck the Rock and rivers of water arose in the desert. Now he was to take the rod of God and hold it up as a picture of intercessory prayer and hold it high, seeking the power of God to win the victory.
Joshua was in the valley fighting Amalek with the sword. Moses was on top of the hill, interceding in prayer and holding the rod up as an ensign, a banner, a standard or emblem of God’s power. The battle with Amalek was fierce, but the key to victory was on the hill, where God was called upon to give Israel the victory over Amalek. (10-13) Lesson: If we try to fight Amalek in our own strength, our own wisdom or willpower, we will lose. We must pray, be in the Word, our sword, and call on God for help as we fight our Amalek daily. The power for victory in the Christian life comes from God in answer to prayer as we battle the flesh!
THE MEANING OF JEHOVAH-NISSI – THE LORD OUR BANNER: Exodus 17:14-16
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JEHOVAH-NISSI
This is the first time God told man to write something down (14). This account was to be written in a book and it was to be rehearsed in the ears of Joshua. Why? Friends, Joshua was in the valley busy fighting the enemy; he could not have known how the battle went in his favor and then in the favor of the enemy. Joshua must not accept praise as a “great military leader.” He must be told and learn that the battle was won only because Moses, Aaron and Hur were up on the top of the hill praying and the LORD God gave the victory over Amalek.
Some might remember that after the Israelites had rebelled and refused to trust in God and enter the Promised Land as encouraged by Joshua and Caleb, God condemned them to wander 40 years in the Wilderness as a judgment for their disobedience. Then some rebels tried to enter Canaan and fight Amalek without God’s help. Numbers 14:40-45 – 40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned. 41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper.42 GO NOT UP, for THE Lord IS NOT AMONG YOU; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. 43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the Lord, therefore the Lord WILL NOT BE WITH YOU. 44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: 45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.
We learn from this that if we try to fight our Amalek, our flesh nature, in our own strength and wisdom, we will be defeated every time. Victory only comes by walking with God in the Spirit and depending on Him for victory over our sinful nature – Galatians 5:16-17 NIV– 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JEHOVAH-NISSI
The LORD Jehovah is now worshiped as Moses builds and altar and names it Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord our Banner, the One who gives victory over Amalek. A banner is like a flag or standard carried at the head of a military force to remind the troops that they are fighting for their nation. Jehovah-Nissi was the banner of the rod of God held up as a symbol of the fact that the victory over the Amalekites was won because of the power of their God.
Psalm 20:1-2, 5-7 – The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; 2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and IN THE NAME OF OUR GOD WE WILL SET UP OUR BANNERS: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions. 6 Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but WE WILL REMEMBER THE NAME OF THE LORD OUR GOD.
WHAT IS THE FLESH NATURE WE FIGHT?
To recognize the flesh nature and its characteristics, a word picture may help the believer to recognize when he are acting in according to his flesh nature.
SELF-WILL – THE FLESH WANTS ITS OWN WAY AND IS DETERMINED TO HAVE IT.
SELF-ASSERTION – THE FLESH HAS AN EXAGGERATED OPINION OF ITS OWN IMPORTANCE.
SELF-CENTEREDNESS – THE FLESH IS THE CENTER OF ITS OWN WORLD, FROM BEGINNING TO END.
SELF-CONCEIT – THE FLESH IS FILLED WITH HIMSELF AND HAS LITTLE REGARD FOR THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS.
SELF-LOVE – THE FLESH LOVES HIMSELF MOST AND MAKES HIMSELF HIS OWN IDOL. HE IS SELFISH!
SELF-INDULGENCE – THE FLESH LUSTS WHATEVER HE WANTS, OFTEN INDULGING HIMSELF ABOVE OTHERS.
SELF-PLEASING – THE FLESH LIVES TO PLEASE HIMSELF AND IS GRUMPY UNLESS OTHERS MEET HIS NEEDS.
SELF-SEEKING – THE FLESH SEEKS PRAISE, POSITION AND PROMINENCE FOR HIMSELF.
SELF-TRUST – THE FLESH IS VERY CONFIDENT AND TRUSTS HIMSELF AS WISER THAN OTHERS.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY – THE FLESH IS EGOTISTICAL AND HAS NO NEED OF OTHERS, SATISFIED WITH HIMSELF.
SELF-EXALTATION – THE FLESH WILL EXALT HIMSELF AND ADMIRE AND PRAISE HIMSELF IF OTHERS DON’T.
SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS – THE FLESH LOVES TO DRESS HIMSELF IN THE GARMENTS OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS.
SELF-GLORYING – THE FLESH TAKES ALL THE CREDIT FOR HIS OWN GOOD QUALITIES AND TELLS OTHERS.
SELF-DEFENSE – THE FLESH IS ALWAYS READY TO DEFEND HIMSELF WHEN ANYONE QUESTIONS HIS ACTIONS.
SELF-DEPRECIATION – THE FLESH SOMETIMES PUTS HIMSELF DOWN SO OTHERS WILL PRAISE HIM.
SELF-PITY – THE FLESH AT TIMES EXAGGERATES HIS SUFFERING AND CIRCUMSTANCES SO OTHERS WILL PITY.