Summary: The name we are focusing on today is Jehovah Nissi, which means, “God is my Banner.”
Today we conclude our sermon series called, “What God Goes By.” Let’s begin with a matching quiz to see how well you know the names of God.
a. The Covenant Keeper
2. Adonai b. God the Healer
3. Jehovah Shalom c. The God Who is There
4. Jehovah Jireh d. God of the Angel Armies
5. Yahweh e. God the Creator
6. El Shaddai f. God the Provider
7. Jehovah Shammah g. God the Lord
8. Jehovah Rapha h. The God of Peace
9. Jehovah Sabaoth i. God the Almighty
(Answers: 1-e; 2-g; 3-h; 4-f; 5-a; 6-i; 7-c; 8-b; 9-d)
The name we are focusing on today is Jehovah Nissi, which means, “God is my Banner.” It’s been really neat to have banners posted in the auditorium during this series to help us remember how He has revealed himself. There’s something about seeing God’s name high and lifted up that reminds us of His presence, His power and His peace. Some of you may wonder why we’ve camped in the Old Testament for so long. I’ve even heard someone say that we’ve been spending too much time in the first part of the Bible. Let me address that concern. We’ve tackled this topic for at least four reasons.
We all need to get to know God better. By learning His names, we’ll be able to call upon Him. According to Psalm 75:1, “His name is near.”
The entire Bible is inspired by God. We need to remember that according to 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
Jesus fulfills the Old Testament. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Each name of God has its fulfillment in Christ.
The Old Testament stories serve as “examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did…and were written down as warnings for us…” (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11). Romans 15:4 also elevates the importance of the Old Testament: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Ray Stedman writes: “The Old Testament is really the richest commentary ever written on the New Testament. If you are…beginning to fail and your heart finds itself in the grasp of doubt, then turn to the record of God at work in the Old Testament.”
By the way, after Easter we will launch a new sermon series called “A Journey to Joy.” This study will be a verse-by-verse exposition through the New Testament book of Philippians.
In order to understand and appreciate Jehovah Nissi, let’s look at how this name was first used. Two weeks ago when we studied Jehovah Rapha, we learned in Exodus 15 that the people of Israel went from praising to protesting. They sang and then they got sour because they didn’t have any water. When they finally found some water, it was bitter, but when Moses threw a piece of wood into it, it became better. In chapter 16, the Israelites commence their complaining again, this time because they are hungry. Showing His grace and teaching them that He provides for their daily needs, God rained down bread from heaven each morning and for their evening meal he provided barbequed quail.
When we come to chapter 17, the people are on the move, and when they get to Rephidim, they become thirsty again. True to form, the Israelites immediately lash out at Moses one more time in verse 2: “So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’” Then they start grumbling in verse 4 and accuse Moses of bringing them into the desert to kill them. Friend, if you find yourself grumbling and complaining, it could be a sign that some sourness has infected your spiritual life. Someone has said, “Christians are like cars – when they begin to knock, there’s something wrong inside.” Ken Hemphill, who has written a wonderful book called, “The Names of God,” offers this perspective: “When we fail to see God’s hand in our daily affairs and to trust Him for our daily provision, we begin to fret and complain about our difficult circumstances” (Page 108).
Moses is exasperated and so he cries out to the Lord: “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” God then instructs Moses to take some of the elders and go ahead of the people. When he comes to the rock at Horeb, he was to strike it with his rod, or staff. When he hit the rock, water flowed out of it. According to verse 7, this place was called Massah and Meribah, which are names that mean testing and quarreling. They were putting God to the test by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” In essence they doubted Jehovah Shammah, the God who is there; and Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.