“He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love” (Song of Solomon 2:4).
Americans honor their nation’s flag (or at least many do!), especially on Flag Day, for the “red, white, and blue” has symbolized the dedication of our nation to liberty and justice for all-especially religious liberty and true legal justice. These concepts are being undermined today, but our nation still has the fullest measure of freedom and equity of any nation on earth. God has been gracious to us, largely because of the faith of our founding fathers.
There is another flag that we also honor. The Christian banner, unfurled in our hearts instead of on a flagpole, symbolizes the love of Christ which accompanies God’s perfect justice and gift of freedom. In the beautiful imagery of Solomon’s Song, the heavenly bridegroom shares His banquet of blessing with those who constitute His bride, all united together under His banner (Hebrew, degel) of love.
Yet how can this be-that God’s justice, demanding judgment on our sins, can be sublimated by His love into forgiveness and freedom? There is another word commonly translated “banner” (Hebrew, nee), meaning essentially the same. However, in its first use (and, therefore, definitive occurrence), it is translated “pole.” “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live” (Numbers 21:8). The flag, in this case, is the pole with the impaled serpent, symbolizing sin judged by death. And here is how love overcomes sin, satisfies justice, and brings liberty! Jesus said: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. . . . For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:14,16). HMM