ODJ: Sword of Praise

September 30, 2018 

READ: Exodus 17:8-16 

Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”) (v.15).

With my focus on my computer screen, I was vaguely aware of the worship music playing softly in my headphones. But after the first chords of a powerful song began to play, I could suddenly feel the strength of God’s presence filling my heart just as it had the first time I’d heard it. My soul was like parched ground, cracked from the trials of ministry, and the delicate notes and powerful lyrics refreshed me during a season when I felt like giving up.

Typically discussed as a story to remind us of the importance of standing alongside others in prayer, as Aaron and Hur do for Moses (Exodus 17:12), the battle at Rephidim also illuminates the power of living under the banner of God’s covering. While we may not have experienced the physical deliverance of God on an actual battlefield, God’s power realised in our spiritual battles is no less significant.

Exodus 17 details a heated battle between the Israelites and their Amalekite neighbours (vv.8,10). As a sign of God’s delegated power, Moses raised his staff (v.11). Many years prior, he had taken off his sandals in the presence of a holy God. Now, far from the burning bush and far into the wilderness, he still worshipped. Though there was no music to be sung, no responsive readings to be heard, Moses’ worship was in his recognition of God’s worthiness, his very claim to God’s authority, strength and power.

A seemingly simple staff became the sword of praise as the people of Israel routed their enemy (vv.13-14). How very beautiful and appropriate then that the same worship that ushered in victory found its expression before the altar of Yahweh-Nissi, “the Lord is my banner” (v.15). May we too worship God in the midst of the battles we face today!

—Regina Franklin

365-day plan: Luke 24:13-43

Read Psalm 149:1-9 and consider how keeping “the praises of God” in our mouths makes our prayers powerful. 
What current spiritual battle are you in the midst of? How can continually acknowledging God’s worthiness be a weapon in this battle?