Faithlife Sermons

Gratefully Giving Glory

Thanksgiving 2019  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:16
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Exodus 17:15 NASB95PARA
Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner;
BAK - On the journey to Sinai, just following the Horeb water from the rock miracle, Isreal was attached by the Amalekites.
Who were they?:
Genesis 36:12 NASB95PARA
Timna was a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Esau’s wife Adah.
The Amalekites were, as we see in Genesis, decedents of Esau. Now you know why they are so much set against Isreal. Recall the lessor blessing:
Genesis 27:40 NASB95PARA
“By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck.”
At one point Esau intended to kill Jacob (that is Isreal).
Back to our text, Moses tells Joshua to fight the Amalekites while he, along with Aaron and Hur, stand over them on a hill. So long as Moses holds the staff high, Isreal prevails. By nightfall, Isreal wins by the sword, that is they beat down the Amalekites by the sword.
Our text tells us that Moses made an altar commemorating the victory. Moses, and undoubtedly the people with him, were happy to win and wanted to express gratitude to God. They built the altar and gave it the name yhwh y nissi or The Lord is my Banner.
Building it demonstrated thankfulness. Naming it glorified God.
TRANS - Let’s discuss being grateful toward God.

God and Gratefulness

Moses built an altar
I checked five translations and they all said this the exact same way. He built an altar.
Let’s see if we can look at this by comparing it to modern day occurrences.
When really bad things happen, Americans start praying. Preachers get on newscasts and churches open their doors for prayer gatherings. But, then the crisis is over and people go back to godless patterns of living.
Following the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Katrina, and 9/11 many churches had special prayer services. This even went on for over a year following 9/11.
Now, churches make special times for asking God to come to our aid, but can you think of a time when churches had special services thanking God for helping in those trying times?
When did we schedule a service thanking God for delivering us from trouble? Perhaps churches don’t do this?
Well, this is not the case for Moses.
Following victory, when the crisis was over, after God delivered the people from a most serious situation Moses built an altar and thanked God.
Moses did not do what most churches do, that is to forget what God had done through a crisis.
I suggest this, just a we celebrated paying of a mortgage, just as we celebrate a baptism, just as we celebrate a marriage or holiday, we can celebrate God being here through a storm, through a tragedy.
Now, this does sound odd; we aren’t in the practice of celebrating God’s deliverance. We’re happy He’s with us during trouble, but we’re not in the habit of throwing a party that expresses thanksgiving towards God.
But, why not? Moses did. Certainly we can express our appreciation for what God does when He delivers us from trouble. After all, we ask for His help. Should we not express our gratitude for his provision?
Sadly, few are like Moses. We build huge altars of requests when times are tough, but few altars of gratitude and thanksgiving once the trouble is past.
Perhaps we might change that?
TRANS - So it’s easy to overlook fleshing out gratitude. Perhaps it might help to see how making an altar helps us do what God created humankind to do all along. That is, perhaps altar building, demonstrating thankfulness, might be easier when we see how it fits into God’s plans for humankind.

God the Glorified

Do you know that your number one, that is the thing you are supposed to do, is to glorify God?:
1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB95PARA
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
God wants us to glorify Him. All creation is created for that purpose. And there is none other worthy of getting your glory:
Revelation 4:11 NASB95PARA
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
See it? You and I are created, we exist, because of God’s will. God wills you to glorify Him.
Moses gets this. Moses knows that God gives victory.
What does Moses do? He names the altar he built. He expresses thanks by doing something for God; built an altar. Now he glorifies God by naming the altar, that is he says, “God, this is done all for you, because of you, and not for us, but all for you.”
Another way to look at this is by examining the name given by Moses. God you are our “banner.”
A “banner” is like a flag.
AMG Bible Illustrations The Banner of the Cross

There are many interesting things about flags. The white flag is the sign of peace. After a battle parties from both sides often go out to the field to rescue the wounded or bury the dead, under the protection of the white flag. The red flag is a sign of defiance, and is often used by revolutionists and communists. In the United States Navy it is a mark of danger, and shows a vessel to be receiving or discharging her powder. The black flag is the sign of piracy. The yellow flag shows a vessel to be in quarantine, and is the sign of contagious disease. A flag at half-mast means mourning. If the President of the United States goes on board a ship, the American flag is carried in the bow of his barge, or hoisted at the main vessel on board of which he is. Our Christian flag is the banner of the Cross. It means that the church is in the world to save souls, and no church ought to ever pull that banner down. Summer and winter, weekday and weekend, it should always be kept afloat by the disciples of Jesus.

In a way, Moses is saying, “God is our flag.”
We fly our flag in honor of our victory. Naming the altar glorified God who helped them defeat the Amalekites. Making God our flag means three things:

We are inspired by God

Flags inspire people to take positive action. Our military will agree.
Call to mind the image of Iwo Jima. This meaningful picture urged lots of people to buy war bonds and others to join the military. The image compelled people to do what the might to join our nation in the WWII effort.
Let’s be inspired by God to worship and to serve Him more. He should be our inspiration and not some sales gimmick or trinket offered by so many churches.

We are identified in God

Each nation, every state, and many groups have flags. As people display loyalty to a flag, they align with others who let others know who they are and what for what they stand.
As citizens of the USA, we stand for freedom, democracy, and rights as citizens to have fair and equal representation in government.
Moses led the people to identify, that in the altar they built and named, that they were people of the one true God.

We have ideology from God

The flag of the USA speaks to the principles of freedom. Flags of some nations speak to oppression and evil.
When we say God is our “banner,” this, also, entails that we honor what God represents. We stand beneath the flag or our God, we represent his righteousness and truth. The gods of Amalek represented evil. Our God represents holiness.
We must stand for honesty, truth, the way of holiness. We need to honor God and all he represents.


As we’ve noted, building and altar honors God’s blessings.
We note that altars are for worshiping and always involve the expression of gratitude.
In addition, we understand the obligation we have to worship God with consistency.
As you meet with others this week, will you intentionally let them know it is God that gets the thanksgivings we all remember with so many expressions this time of year.
Whether an altar or a turkey, who we thank is what differs God’s people from all the others.
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