By the dawns early light
What so proudly we hailed
At the twilights last gleaming?
Who’s broad striped and bright stars
Through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watched
Were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare!
The bombs bursting in air!
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there
Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free
And the home of the brave?
These words were penned by Francis Scott Key during the British assault on Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. They tell the story of the banner that waved throughout the battle and gave him hope that the American colonies had not been over taken. It was a dark, rainy night and he relied on the explosions to be able to see if they were still being victorious against the British. That banner has since become a symbol of hope for the oppressed in the world. It stands for freedom, and when we see it waving, it should give us courage.
I share that with you because a similar story took place in Exodus 17. The Israelites had fled Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land when they were attacked by the Amalekites. Joshua led the children of Israel into battle while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up a hill to observe the fight. As long as Moses held up his rod as a banner, the Israelites were winning. When it dropped, they began to be overtaken by the enemy.
After they won the battle, Moses built an altar to God and called it Jehovah Nissi which means “The Lord is my banner”. He was reminding himself, the Israelites and us that when we are in a battle, we can look to God for victory. His banner will continue to wave no matter how perilous the fight is against you. It may be dark, it may be raining, the battle may still be raging, and things may seem hopeless, but if we will look to Him and lift Him up, we will be victorious. He is the Lord our banner.