Rally around your banner

Hurrah for the flag of the free! May it wave as our standard forever,

The gem of the land and the sea, The banner of the right.

Let despots remember the day, When our fathers with mighty endeavor

Proclaimed as they marched to the fray, That by their might and by their right

It waves forever.

lyrics from The Stars and Stripes Forever

When Moses was leading Israel through the wilderness, Amalek attacked them. Moses ordered Joshua to choose some men and go fight Amalek. Moses said he would stand on the top of a hill with the staff of God in his hand. During the battle, whenever Moses held up his hand Israel prevailed. Whenever he lowered it Amalek prevailed. As fatigue grew in Moses, Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one man on each side of him. In this way Moses’ hands remained elevated and Israel overwhelmed Amalek on the battlefield.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner…” — Exodus 17:14-15a

This name of God “Jehovah Nissi” — The LORD Is My Banner — is no incidental thing. Moses is that generation’s visible mediator between them and God. He is a type of Christ. In his declaration, “The LORD Is My Banner,” he is making a clear statement on behalf of the people he represents.

Thid-TatteredFlagDon’t forget, the banner of any people is the thing around which they rally. On the battlefield it was (and is) their focal point. It was their entire identity. From their banner a people draw their worth.

Moses has declared that God, Himself, is the Banner of these people. God is their sole identity. He is their defender, sustainer and their inheritance. Their identity is that they are God’s Chosen People.

This is an exclusive relationship.

You can only have one banner.

Oh, it may be possible to identify with more than one banner for a while.  If you have an ally in a cause, as the U.S. did in World War II, you can have a sort of joint allegiance. Americans could take refuge around the Union Jack, the banner of the British, because the British were fighting alongside Americans with the same objectives. But allegiances change. Don’t forget, it was from the British that Americans had to wrest their liberty through a long and bloody conflict. Today’s allies can be tomorrow’s enemies. So, ultimately it really is possible to have only one allegiance.

But, some may want to argue that it is possible, and even honorable, to serve “God and Country.” This is a common conviction among many Christians. It is especially common among evangelicals in the United States where religion and patriotism have become so intertwined as to be almost indistinguishable.

But, if you claim Jesus as your Lord, then you might want to seriously reconsider His words…

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” — Matthew 6:24

Jesus doesn’t say you “shouldn’t” serve two masters. He says you “can’t.”

Besides, evidence is mounting that suggests the kingdom represented by the Star-Spangled Banner is no longer an ally of Jehovah Nissi. In fact, the kingdom represented by the Star-Spangled Banner is daily placing itself at odds with the Kingdom of God, as these stories clearly illustrate.

I believe the day is fast approaching when the rulers of this earthly kingdom will demand you rally around one banner or the other (and I’m not the only one who thinks so). Don’t wait for them to make such a demand — rally around your banner today.

For me the decision is already made. I appeal to Scripture and allow the book of Joshua to express my thoughts on the matter…

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” — Joshua 24:14-15

Despite the claims of John Phillip Sousa in “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” ultimately every banner will end up on the dust heap of history — every banner except one…

…and around this last banner will rally a people from every tribe, nation, and tongue to the glory of God alone.

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

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