In wartime, sometimes the army gets disorganized and scattered. That’s when the standard bearer finds a hill and holds up the banner for all to see. Then all can regroup around that banner. Our standard-bearer is the Holy Spirit, calling the troops to rally around the banner—Jehovah.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week sharing with you the Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hands through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.
This week I’m going to continue with the rich and exciting theme that I started with but did not complete last week: God Revealed In His Names, what we can know about God from the various names given him in Scripture.
But first, let me say thank you to those of you who’ve been writing to me. Before I finish this talk I’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you, so please take time to write, even if it’s only a brief note.
Now, to return to our theme. Last week I spoke about the two main names for God in the Hebrew of the Old Testament: Elohim and Jehovah. I explained that Elohim depicts God primarily as Creator and ruler of the universe. Its main associations are power, majesty, righteousness and justice, and that which is eternal and heavenly.
On the other hand, Jehovah, or Yahweh, has different associations. First, it’s primarily a name, specifically the name under which God relates to man as person to person. Secondly, the name Jehovah or Yahweh emphasizes that this person is unchanging and eternal. So, those are the two emphases of the name Jehovah. It’s personal and it emphasizes that the person is an eternal, unchanging person.
For these reasons Jehovah is particularly associated with God’s covenant with man. Because covenant also is a person to person relationship and covenant also is unchanging and permanent. So, that the two main aspects of the name of Jehovah or Yahweh reappear in the word and the concept for covenant. In particular, Jehovah is directly linked with seven specific names or titles representing seven aspects of God’s covenant keeping faithfulness in his dealings with men.
In order of their occurrence, these names reveal Jehovah in the following aspects. First, the one who provides. Second, the one who heals. Third, the one who is our banner. Fourth, the one who is our peace. Fifth, the one who is our shepherd. Sixth, the one who is our righteousness. Seventh, the one who is there or permanently present.
Last week I dealt with the first two of these covenant names, the one who provides and the one who heals. This week I’m going to deal with the remaining five covenant names commencing today with the third, the one who is our banner.
This covenant name of Jehovah is mentioned in the book of Exodus in chapter 17. This records an incident in the experience of Israel on their way through the desert to the Promised Land after coming out of Egypt. During the course of their journey one of the Gentile nations in that area, the Amalekites or Amalek, as they’ve been known by a single name, came and sought to oppose Israel’s journey to their inheritance and Israel had to fight to continue their journey. Eventually Israel was successful in the fighting and Amalek were defeated and Israel was able to continue their journey. This is the record of this incident. Exodus 17:8 and then verses 13-16.
“Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim.”
And then we read the account of the battle. Here’s the conclusion.
“So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, Write this in a book as a memorial, and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and named it The Lord is My Banner; and he said, The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”
You see, this particular incident is invested with a permanent significance because the lesson, as I see it, is in our journey through and in our attempt to enter the inheritance God has provided for us, we’re always going to face opposition. This is not just something that happened once, it’s going to happen from generation to generation. And the Lord is going to take our side, he’s going to stand with us in the opposition but we’re going to have to fight these battles. And the particular aspect of the Lord’s help that’s brought out here is in the name of the altar that Moses built: “The Lord is My Banner.” So that the Lord has given us a banner that will bring us victory in the warfare that we have to go through.
There’s much in the New Testament about this warfare. For instance, in Ephesians 6:12 Paul says:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
In other words, we as Christians also are going to encounter opposition and warfare, although our war will not be with physical enemies but with spiritual Satanic forces that will oppose our journey.
And then in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 Paul talks about the type of weapons that we need in this warfare. He says:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
Not of the flesh means, in other words, they’re the opposite, they’re spiritual. So, God has provided us with spiritual weapons for a spiritual warfare. In Psalm 20:5, in particular, we hear about the banner that the Lord has provided.
“We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners.”
So, our banner is the name of the Lord our God and his victory becomes our victory as we set up our banners in his name. In other words, in his name his victory that he’s already won for us in this war becomes available to us when we use the right banner.
Now, there’s much, of course, about the name of the Lord in the New Testament. For instance, in Philippians 2:9-11 Paul says this about Jesus:
“Therefore God also highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
So, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we have a banner before which all the forces of evil have to bow and yield. And the Paul says
in this way, Christ’s victory becomes our victory. 2 Corinthians 2:14:
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in his triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of him in every place.”
So you see, Christ’s victory which he won over Satan on the cross is made available to us but one condition that it’s available to us is that we use the banner that God has provided us which is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, the name of the Lord is our banner in this war.
As we continue to look at our banner, the name of the Lord, I want to just show you briefly from the Old Testament Scriptures and from history the significance of the one who carried the banner in an ancient army, the banner or the standard. Describing the defeat of a large Gentile army, the Assyrian army, the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 10:18 says this:
“...they shall be as when a standard bearer fainteth...”
Now, when the standard bearer fainted, the whole army was in disorganization because ancient armies were trained that if they were hard pressed in battle they were liable to be divided and separated from one another and lose contact the standard bearer would find some kind of eminence, a hill or something, and lift up the standard and the soldiers were trained to regroup around the standard. But when the standard bearer fainted then there was no place for them to regroup. That meant a real serious problem in the army. But, in our case, for us as Christians our standard bearer is the Holy Spirit. Listen to what Isaiah says in Isaiah 59:19.
“So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
You see, the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, is our standard bearer when we’re hard pressed by the forces of Satan and they’re coming like a flood against us. The good news for us is that our commander in chief directs our standard bearer, the Holy Spirit, to lift up the standard and we regroup around that standard. The standard being the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, he is our gathering point, our rallying point. And when we’re hard pressed in this Christian warfare the Holy Spirit lifts up that standard which is the name of the Lord Jesus. And when we see his name uplifted we gather there.
You see, that’s what’s happening today. All across the earth the Holy Spirit is lifting up afresh the standard of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s people are rallying to that standard, irrespective of denomination or other things that have separated them.
Finally, look at this picture of the victorious church in the Song of Solomon. Song of Solomon 6:4:
“You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling, as lovely as Jerusalem, as awesome as an army with banners.”
And again in Song of Solomon 6:10:
“Who is that that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners?”
That’s the bride of Christ but it’s also the army of Christ. The bride is also the army. It’s very interesting in the two closing pictures of Christians in the epistle of the Ephesians the one but last is the bride and the last is the army. So, we’re both the bride and the army and we’re going to come forth on the stage of history as prophesied there in the Song of Solomon like an army, awesome with its banner. Remember that our banner is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, our time is up for today but I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be speaking about the next great covenant name of Jehovah, the one who is our peace.
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