A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”
- Isaiah 30:17
Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.
- Exodus 17:15
“The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family.”
- Numbers 2:2
May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
- Psalm 20:5
But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner
to be unfurled against the bow.
- Psalm 60:4
Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.
- Isaiah 62:10
“Announce and proclaim among the nations,
lift up a banner and proclaim it;
keep nothing back, but say,
‘Babylon will be captured;
Bel will be put to shame,
Marduk filled with terror.
Her images will be put to shame
and her idols filled with terror.’
- Jeremiah 50:2
When I grew up, we had no problem praying in school. We had morning devotions in school. We said the pledge of allegiance and proudly said “under God.” President Eisenhower voted the addition of “under God” on Flag Day, 1954. And as I reached school age a few years after that, I never knew the pledge of allegiance without one nation, under God. And of course, what did we pledge allegiance to? To the flag of the United States of America, the red, white, and blue.
The red stands for hardiness and valor. The white represents purity and innocence. The blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
These days, there are a lot of people who fly a black and white flag, with the red and blue of the flag being black. This represents protest and rebellion. Some have used it to mean anarchy.
It is odd that the black and white version of the flag is then used with a red, green, or blue stripe replacing a white stripe to mean support of firefighters (red), federal law officers, conservationist, marshals, and rangers (green), and law enforcement (blue). The military is sometimes represented by the green line. There are other single color lines.
While showing support for these groups is good, placing it on a flag that represents protest, rebellion, and anarchy sends a message that might not be intended.
And even in showing support for one group or another, it excludes other groups, and it divides.
When I pledged allegiance to the red, white, and blue, our country was a lot more united than it is today. I do not deny the warts and problems that we had back then, but we could speak to our neighbor without fear of backlash. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SAYING ‘HELLO’?!” Is it against the law to be neighborly? Some think that it is.
But back to the meaning of red, white, and blue. Do you see much hardiness anymore? I see people sitting around waiting for the government to send them free money while businesses are suffering for lack of employees. Valor, in the battlefield, is still something that is done. Purity and innocence? Do they exist anymore? As for vigilance, we have voted people into office in the past ten years that would have been arrested for treason 60-70 years ago. While I believe in free speech, some of the things said and voted upon on Capitol Hill seem terribly wrong to me. Justice seems nonexistent today. While some say that justice was served, others are saying it was a miscarriage of justice. Justice for all is absolutely nonexistent, someone loses, someone pays the price, and often the one who was not involved in the first place. And I say that in a color-blind sense. Granting “justice” as a means for restitution is injustice. And as for perseverance, if we are to survive, we will need that by the bucket-full.
Our neighbor put up a fancy flagpole recently, the photo above. The only reference to “flag” in the Bible is the first Scripture above, flying a banner from a flagstaff. Yes, they had flags (banners) very early in history. There are many references to a banner in the Bible, eighteen in the NIV.
I was concerned about my neighbor, whom I respect a great deal – after all, he mows our lawn – using the proper practices in displaying the flag, retiring the flag, etc. It may be hard to see in the photo above, but there is a flying eagle atop the flagpole. Just underneath the eagle is something like a flying saucer. I thought that strange. I also noted that they did not retire the flag at sunset, but then I found out why the ornament between the eagle and the flagpole has its odd shape. It is a light fixture to illuminate the flag at night, regardless of which way the wind blows.
This video is 8:54 in length, but very informative.
And before we close, there is another thing that I have seen lately, the flag flown upside down. That is a symbol of distress. In interviews between the media and some of these people, they point out that the values of our forefathers and the constitution of the United States is under attack. This is a time of deep distress. Others say that we should not politicize the flag, but then, when you say that their reasons for flying the flag upside down is a political statement, then you are clearly stating that members of at least one political party is attacking the foundation of our nation. The people who are flying their flags upside down are just saying we are under attack from within. That is not political at all, unless you wish to assess politicians on your own.
“This flag which we honor and under which we serve is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation.”
- Woodrow Wilson
And what that means in President Wilson’s quote is indeed up to us.
May we as a nation repent, for only with God’s power can we heal the division in our country and bring the unity of which President Wilson spoke.
You may think this post is better used on Flag Day, 14 June, but I wrote it that day. I am an Eagle Scout. I was commander of the color guard for the University of Mississippi, presenting the American flag at all home football and basketball games. I served my country as an army officer. And I gathered the cub scouts outdoors on a cool clear night to give the pledge of allegiance while saluting the moon. There is a flag flying there. The flag is only a symbol of what was purchased by our ancestors, our freedom. And our freedom is worth us having all those meanings for the red, the white, and the blue. And may we restore our reverence to God, the Creator of all things.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
A good post on the flag; what a divisive time we are in these days
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Our pastor and I discussed how our loyalty to the country can approach a form of worship, so saying that nothing is sacred seems strange, but we are living in divisive times and what things had been honored (rather than saying ‘sacred’) are being denigrated. It reminds me of Ezekiel 8:17 where the priest raises a branch to his nose in open defiance of God – at least according to a few commentaries.
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