Raised Arms | Devotion 5: The Lord is My Banner
When I became a grandmother for the first time, a dear friend at work gave me a “Grandmother Gift.” I had never heard of such a thing, but it was the sweetest thought. Enclosed in the gift bag was a book for Grandma to write all the memories she has with her grandchild. It suggested items like a favorite book read together or the first trip to the park or zoo, were to be written in the book as a forever memory (We need to admit as we get older, our memory is not as sharp as it once was).
Sometimes we take a picture or write it in a journal, but it is always important to remember special events or life occurrences and pass them along to the next generation.
There are different ways of preserving a memory. Another example is when my father passed away, friends at work got together and gave me a lawn decoration that would always remind me of my father each time I saw it. Memories are important – to remember our failures and to learn from them, but more importantly, to show future generations our successes and how God was in control.
Such was the case with Moses in Exodus chapter 17. God had commanded Moses to go to the top of the hill, raise his staff high, and He (God) would help Joshua and his army defeat the Amalek army. Moses’ arms grew tired. As the staff dropped, the Amalekites prevailed. When the staff was raised again, Joshua and the Israelite’s prevailed. So Aaron and Hur each held up one of Moses’ arms until sunset, the Israelite’s prevailed, and the army was victorious. Moses was told by God to write this memory down on a scroll (Exodus 17:14) and as a way of remembrance. Moses obeyed, built an altar, and named it Jehovah Nissi, or “The Lord is My Banner” (Exodus 17:15). The name proclaims God’s leadership and protection of His people.
Joshua’s army had defeated the Amalek army, with the help of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, but more importantly, with God’s intervention. God told them what to do, and they would win. They obeyed, and they won. They wanted to leave a permanent marker of this event. The altar named, “The Lord is My Banner” would be for all to see, not to forget this event, and to remember God’s involvement. It was the first time God showed the Israelite nation that He fought for them, He led them into battle, and He protected them. He was their banner.
It is fun for me to look at that book with my grandson and share special memories together. However, it is more important that I share other memories – the times God protected me, guided me, and loved me through the many trials in my life. I want him, and all three of my grandchildren, to see God’s providence in my life and to see, “The Lord is My Banner.”