The Banner Over Me
“He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.” – Song of Solomon 2:4
What is the flag of heaven? Is there a banner which flies over heaven’s population, and if so, what does the flag convey? Perhaps not a material one like the flags of earth, one of many colors and symbols. But Solomon writes of God’s and the Savior’s banner over us; a banner of love, one which marks the people living under it as dearly loved by the Triune God, who provided salvation for them. They are a people who have not only been dearly loved, but kept by His power. Peoples of the earth have been born and resided under various nation/states: entities which have designed, selected, and flown flags symbolizing them as separate peoples of indigenous nationality and tongues.
The populations of the nations of the world are marked by these banners; cloth flags of various designs and colors. All nations of the world have their own unique flag. Why? What is the purpose of a national flag and what does it represent? It appears to eventually represent the character of a people and/or their leaders who rule over them. The flags of the communist nations of the world represent the ideology and practice of communism with its true imperialism, dominating and suppressing the freedoms of peoples who are subjugated by its tyrannical government and ideology. The Nazi flag of Hitler’s Germany came to represent the evils of his fascist regime, perpetrating a heinously evil holocaust upon millions of Jewish men, women, and children due to the utter hatred Satan placed within Hitler and his comrades’ hearts. Ironically, even Hitler had Jewish blood, and should have been relegated himself to the gas chambers under his own racist standard. All sinners break their own standards, and all humans are sinners.
Symbols from the flags of nations are placed on the military armaments of those nations, like the circle of Japan’s flag being painted on the wings of their war planes becoming known as “Zeros.” Or the swastikas of Nazi Germany decorating the sides of their panzer tanks. Or the hammer and sickle of communist Russia; the yellow star of China on red background; the flags of chiefly Muslim nations with various symbols of their Islamic religion.
A flag, or whom it represents, is hated or liked by the world’s population based on the perceived character and actions of the people and leaders over which it flies. The flag of the United States has through the years represented freedom and liberty to many oppressed peoples of the world, whose freedom was won by the blood of American soldiers fighting under the banner of the “stars and stripes.” Oh, there are those who hate the “stars and stripes,” but they most normally do so because their defeat ended their own enslavement of other peoples, or through propaganda they misunderstood what the “stars and stripes” stood for, or it is as simple as their flag’s sports team and athletes lose to the team or athletes flying the “stars and stripes.” But the “stars and stripes” are truly loved by a great many people in the world. People do not fear when they see this flag come into view, especially when they have been oppressed and persecuted. They know it stands for freedom.
Patriotism, a term for pride in country more than for any particular race is a pride and loyalty to the homeland in which one is born and reared or even later adopted. It may be a nation of multiple races, tongues, and former nationalities, as America is, a melting pot. Patriotism is not antithetical to being a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus, for His word commands believers to be good citizens on earth. All Christians know, or should, that their authentic and lasting citizenship is in Heaven and their loyalty to God and His kingdom supersedes earth’s national loyalties. You may not be able as a faithful Christian to ascribe loyalty and respect to some flags of the world, but the Christian should be able to do so to the American flag for what has been achieved in the world through her aid in advancing Christian principles among all peoples; despite the fact that sinners among this nation’s populace and leadership have not always loved nor practiced kindness, mercy, integrity, justice and righteousness in all of their actions. The day may come where it will not be possible any longer to render allegiance to the flag of the United States.
But next Tuesday is Flag Day in America, and our flag still stands for freedom. It is and can still be honored for the liberty and justice it represents. The words in Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless the USA” still ring true when authentic history remains unrevised by critics. Our American history is not perfect, but there is no doubt that God raised up America to free and keep the world from the tyranny of evil men and their desire to oppress peoples and nations. We can still say today that “the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away”……yet. So as a follower of the Savior who has blessed our nation, honor the Stars and Stripes this next Tuesday. And look forward with eager expectation to the banner of heaven, for His banner over us is love. We shall flourish throughout eternity under the loving sovereignty of our great and mighty triune God; for to be in Christ Jesus is to be free indeed.
“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free, let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her, and guide her thru the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home.”
(From Irving Berlin’s song, “God Bless America”, 1938)
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