Exodus 17:15 - Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.
That’s what Moses named the altar he built to celebrate the defeat of the Amalekites at Rephidim. There are a few translations of this term and some believe it means exultation, lifted up or banner. In the NIV version of the Bible, it is stated as the Lord is my banner. Some also believe it can be translated “ensign” or “standard”, and represents His cause and His victory.
Forever let us hold our banner high high high
Ok, yes, that is from the theme song for the Mickey Mouse Club, but it can apply to our Christian lives as well. What is the point of holding our banner high? It’s so others can see what we believe. It shows what is of importance to us. You see banners being waved at concerts, ball games and even political rallies. We put what we believe on our shirts, bumpers and sometimes even our face.
We’re willing to put what we “love” or really really like on almost anything we own. We like brand names, endorsements to feel like we fit in with others. What kinds of messages can people get about you from your car, your clothes, your house, your job?
For me, I’m not sure I’m making that much of a statement, but if I look at those things in my life, people will see that I don’t put money above all else, or I wouldn’t have the crappy old cars I do. They can also see from the back window of one of my cars that I support the MS Society. On previous cars, I have had a fish symbol, and then people would know the terrible driver in front of them was praying for everyone’s safety too. On one of our cars you’ll see the remnants of a sticker in the back window of my hubby’s Alma Mater.
What are you telling the world?
The things we do, say and buy can all influence the way people think about us. If God is our banner, does he show up in what we purchase? In how we act? In how we treat others?
In the old days when people used to say the pledge of allegiance in school, you would see children stand and tell what they believed in. In my Christian school we did the same for the Christian flag, stating our faith was in God. We held our banner high. If you’ve ever been in scouting, you know that there are certain ways you are to respect the “standard”, the banner, the flag. And God too gives us a list of how to respect Him.
You shall have no other gods before me - Raise your banner high – make God the most important thing in your life, above all others, above all money, fame, fortune, food, and all else that distracts us from the Lord. Or as it’s put in Luther’s Small Catechism - We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Ok, let’s be honest here. This is one commandment most of us have broken. We aren’t supposed to be using the Lord’s name unless we’re talking about Him or to Him. Luther puts it this way, “We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. We’re not supposed to hate going to church or taking time away from our work life. We are supposed to set aside time for rest and worship each week. As Luther puts it in his small catechism, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.”
By doing these things we lift high the banner of God, keeping God in the proper place of honor and attention. I know I don’t always do that right, but I want all I do to bring glory to God. Only through God’s help will that be possible.
What do you hold high?