"Moses built an altar and called it 'The Lord is my Banner.'" Exodus 17:15
The Israelites were on a faith journey with God, and Moses was leading them on this journey. Up to this point, Moses had come a long way in his own faith journey with God. God blessed Moses and equipped him for the task at hand - leading God's children out of Egypt and toward the Promise Land. It wouldn't be an easy task, but it would be worthwhile. In Exodus 16, the children of God were in the desert, and they were hungry. They began to grumble against Moses and Aaron, but God blessed them with bread from heaven. God's glory appeared to Israel in the cloud. Exodus 16:35 says, "The Israelites at manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan." God provided for His children. In Exodus 17, we find that the children of God sometimes suffered memory loss. Exodus 17:1-3 says, "They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, 'Give us water to drink.' Moses replied, 'Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?' But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, 'Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?'" I don't know how Moses did it! The children of God were so impatient and so forgetful. Wait...that sounds a lot like me...sounds a lot like us. Moses did the right thing in this situation. He went to God. God was his Banner! He cried out to God, and God heard his prayer and answered his prayer. God gave the Israelites water from the rock. Even when His children were faithless, God remained faithful. As if that wasn't enough for Moses to deal with, now the Amalekites were coming to attack Israel. Again, Moses knew where his strength was; his strength was in his Banner, the Lord God Almighty! Joshua went out with his men to fight the Amalekites, but it wasn't the sword that won the battle; it was the hand of God. Exodus 17:11-11 says, "As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword." Joshua showed strong faith by going out for battle against a strong Amalekite army. He used the physical weaponry available to him, but the power was in the use of the spiritual weaponry of Moses! Moses lifted his hands up to God, appealing for God's power to help them in the battle. God did not disappoint His children. After the battle was won, God commanded Moses to write it all down as a reminder to Joshua and the children. Moses then built an altar and called it "The Lord is my Banner." This was a sign to the people that Moses believed, obeyed, and praised his Lord. It was an act of worship and an act of gratitude. In military terms, a banner was raised as a signal for the soldiers. They would rally around the banner for instructions and for encouragement for the days ahead. Moses realized that his source of power and strength was the Lord God Almighty, and he wanted everyone to know it. I wonder today, what kind of banner are we raising? Are we raising a banner that is filled with grumbling and complaining? Are we raising a banner that points to self? I wonder today, are we truly believing, obeying, and praising the Lord God Almighty? God has provided for us, and He continues to provide for us. God has rescued us and redeemed us from our sins. He has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us and guide us. We need to raise our Banner, the Lord God Almighty, and in doing so, we need to point others to Him. We need to rely on His power and His strength in our lives to face the daily battles, and we need to share His power and His strength with others as they face their battles, as well. May God be lifted high and glorified in our lives today and each day forward. The Lord is my Banner! Amen!