Two things happened last night that have led me to this post.
1. One of my besties, Jody, called me and told me her dad has had a heart attack. What? Oh, Jody. He is fairly stable….Thank the Lord. But here’s Jody’s dilemma. She is in Knoxville and Dad is in Canada and that is a very helpless feeling for her. So, love her, she is trying to figure out how to arrange her life so that she can be go be with Dad and Mom, while also trying to figure out how to arrange life here so she can feel good about leaving her husband and children for a few days. While doing ALL of this, she is sorting through the emotions caused by her Dad’s condition.
2. Fast forward a couple of hours to my boys bedtime. The Bible story fell on “The Lord is my Banner”. I’m going to confess that reading my boy’s children Bibles has really increased my knowledge of the Old Testament. I say that, swallowing my pride, because it is a little embarrassing. I should know it already, right? Wrong. I didn’t grow up in church every Sunday, so therefore I missed out on a lot of foundational, key Bible stories. Even if I had grown up in church, who’s to say that I’d remember them, anyway. So…The Lord Is My Banner.
Here’s the very brief recap. The Israelites, God’s chosen people, are walking through the desert, just having left slavery in Egypt and they are looking for the Promised Land. Along the way, the Amalekite army ambush them and start to attack. Moses says, “Hey, Joshua! Go grab some armed, Israelite men and fight back. I’m going up on this hill to pray for you all!” -My paraphrase 🙂 So Moses goes up to pray. He lifts his arms, staff in hand, up to God. And prays. And prays and prays. As long as He has his staff is lifted, the Israelites win. When he gets tired and lowers his arms, the Israelites lose. When two of Moses’s men, Aaron and Hur, see Moses getting tired, they rush to his aid. They each “held his hand up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” Exodus 17:12, 13. Teamwork. Awesome.
Back to Jody. I think, in life, we are always one of three places. #1 The afflicted or sick. The one who needs prayer. #2 The few that are closest to the sick/afflicted (the inner circle: family, spouse, children) or #3 The friends of the inner circle.
This morning I am #3. A friend of the inner circle. I have at one time or another been the other two, as well. I’ve been the one sick/afflicted and I’ve been the inner circle of the very sick. Those are two scary places to be. And I will be honest…. you’d think prayer would just come very easily and naturally to those two groups – not always so. I think it is very hard to pray when you are under great hardship or illness. Too many emotion to sort through. Too afraid to pray. Too mad to pray. Too tired to pray. Too busy to pray. Too confused to pray.
The Lord is our Banner. Yahweh Nissi. What exactly does that mean? Well, think of a banner. Usually a banner is raised in support of something. At a sporting event, banners cover the stadium or arena. If a company or group is going to support a team or a cause, they have to believe in the team. Example…”Pepsi is a proud sponser of ______.”
God believed in his people.
“Yahweh Nissi is descriptive of God’s covering, His protection, His ownership, His power, His intervention, and finally yet importantly, it speaks of the pride and confidence He has in his children. ” – T. Ortiz
So this morning, I think of Jody, standing over her sweet dad. Holding up her hands in prayer to God on his behalf. And I imagine her arms growing tired. Her mind growing weary with great concern. Her heart heavy. Her body tired. So, Jody. I today want you to know that I am grabbing your arm for you. Standing in faith with you. Teamwork. I support you and love you and even though I don’t know your dad, by golly, I love him, too.
Jody -The Lord is your Banner. He is your dad’s banner. He believes in you. Supports you. He is intervening for you. He is fighting for your dad. He loves you and your dad and takes great pride in you both.
So where are you today? Are you the sick? Are you the inner circle? Are you to be Aaron and Hur to the inner circle? Wherever you are – The Lord supports you. He fights for you. He is proud to be your sponsor.
The Lord is your Banner. Yahweh Nissi.
Praise His Holy Name.