The Lord is My Banner
Exodus 17:15 And Moses built an altar and called it, The LORD is my banner.
The national flag of Denmark—a white cross on a red ground is the oldest national flag in history, unchanged since the 13th century. Legend says that in 1219, King Waldemar, leading his troops into battle, saw a cross in the sky and took it to mean victory was assured. When the battle was won, the flag was adopted. It is believed that while the battle was going on, Danish priest kneeled on the nearby hill and prayed to God for the victory of the Danes by raising his hands. While he prayed the Danes were winning. As he was growing tired and his hands started to drop so the Danes started to lose. Two soldiers needed to hold his hands so he could continue to pray. At last Danes won the battle against Estonians on June 15, 1219 through the power of God.
In spite of Israel’s constant grumbling attitude, God’s faithfulness for his people continued. Even Moses determined to pray for them. Whenever Israel was surrounded with enemies, it was God who rescued them. In the above chapter, Moses appointed Joshua as captain of the army to fight Amalekites. During the battle when Moses held up his hands, Israelites won but when he lowered his hand then Amalekites won. At the end Israelites won the battle and Moses built an altar to honor God and called it ‘The Lord is my Banner.’
Whenever we are weak, we experience the power of God. In adverse situation when things appear to be impossible then God through His grace provides us strength and courage. Paul writes in 2 Corinth. 12:9 ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor. 12:9). Always remember, under the Lord’s Banner we are more than conquerors. He gives power to overcome every spiritual battle we face. In the play The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Elizabeth asked her husband Robert, “O Robert, how can you love me when you are so strong and I am so weak?” He replied, “Elizabeth, my strength needs your weakness just as much as your weakness needs my strength.”
Moses as a leader stood between the people and God. As long as his hands were up, Israel won. This showed Moses’ continuous intercession for the people of Israel. By delivering Israelites from the Egypt, God himself fought the battle. Similarly, Jesus Christ won the battle at the cross of Calvary against the powers of satan and gave us the eternal deliverance from sin and death. Now He trains us for the spiritual battle. He wants that we should trust Him. Like Moses, Jesus intercedes for us as a High Priest. Many don’t understand the power in the name of Jesus. But He is the head of the Church and Captain of our army. We need to approach the throne of grace with boldness so that through God’s mercy we may continue to win against the principalities of darkness.
As Christians, we have already received victory through Jesus Christ and we are on the winning side. By raising hands towards the heaven, Moses showed his total dependence on God. There is no victory without God’s intervention. In Christ we have overcome the world and hence our eyes should be fixed on Him. When Jesus has the power to raise Lazarus who was dead for four days then for Him nothing is impossible. Every time when we conquer over difficulties, trials and temptations we experience the power of God in a new way. Bible says in 1 Jn. 5:4, ‘for everyone born of God overcomes the world.’ One should not forget God’s providence in their lives. This lent season once again reminds us the unfailing love of God that enables us to overcome every single battle of our lives.
Rev. Dr. Samuel Richmond Saxena