You have set up a banner for those who fear you,
that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah
That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer us! Psalm 60:4-5.
When I think of the word, “banner” it usually has something to do with marketing and promotion. It is the sort of thing we hang over a doorway to mark an event. But in ancient times banners had a different purpose. They were taken into battle like flags to identify who the combatants were.
The king leading his troops into battle would raise his banner to let the rest of his army know where he was. They could look to the banner for orders on how to fight the enemy. They could also rally to it if they became separated or outnumbered. The banner was a very comforting thing to an ancient soldier. It meant his king was still in the fight and still in charge.
It also takes some courage to raise a banner, because it not only told your own troops where you were but told the enemy as well. A common tactic in ancient warfare was to attempt to kill or capture the enemy’s king, hoping that would discourage the enemy soldiers from carrying on the fight.
The image of our God raising His banner over us is a very apt picture. He communicates His presence so that we can turn to Him for guidance and protection. He raises the banner without fear of what it might cost Him (think Christ on the cross).
But remember, the King doesn’t carry His own banner. He has soldiers whose job it is to raise it where He is. It is a noble task but not a safe one. That banner is going to attract all different kinds of attention. When you are the one in your office who keeps a Bible on her desk or who otherwise publicly acknowledges the presence of God in your life, expect that same attention. Some will come to you for comfort, wisdom, or relief. Others will come in opposition. It is when we know and appreciate both the help and the risks of raising the banner of God that we evidence the true courage of the faith. Lift it high my friends. Our Lord would be seen by both friend and foe.