One of God’s names in scripture is Jehovah-Nissi. It means the God who provides, who is a banner, who lifts ups, who exalts. It’s an interesting combination of meanings all together in one word.
This Hebrew word nissi was used in Jewish weddings. When the bride and groom were at the wedding party, all of the guests would make the couple sit in two chairs; then they would lift the chairs up and walk around the room, carrying the bride and groom. That action of lifting up was called nissi.
I think it’s a powerful picture because marriage is a kind of lifting up and great exaltation. I’ve been married for many years, and it’s a wonderful blessing, but it’s also a test.
We don’t really want God to test us; we don’t want to go through dry seasons where we feel alone and away from his presence. We don’t want to go through the test of having to move to difficult places, the test of friends hurting our hearts, the test of family difficulties, the test of financial difficulties, the tests in church or ministry.
When Paul was talking about some of the tests in his life, he said, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles…danger from false brothers. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:24-26,28, ESV).
Why is he saying this? What’s the point of this?
Paul provides the answer in very next chapter. “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
There’s a reason for God’s tests. He tests us in the area we love most. Every test you’re going through is not God’s desire to push you back or keep you in your place; it’s God’s desire to bring you nissi, to bring you to a new place, to elevate your faith and have you worship him as the Lord who lifts us up.