DATE: January 10, 2020
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: Psalm 60:4-6 – ESV - 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!
In 312, at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine said Jesus had appeared to Him and said he should fight under the symbol of the cross.
Constantine went into that battle under a new banner, the cross of the Savior. Winning that battle he became the first Christian emperor of Rome. He ordered the citizens to be converted. To his dying day, Constantine believed that the banner carrying the cross gave him the empire that day. The banner of the cross said his empire belonged to the King.
Carrying standards and flags did not end with the emperor Constantine.
In the Civil War most regiments had a ten-man honor guard which carried the flags of country and unit into battle.
Carrying something as conspicuous as these colors made you an obvious target for the enemy.
One carrier of the flag, after another, could be shot. The colors would wobble, and the next member of the guard would grab it and continue on. It was an honor to carry those flags, if even for a very short time.
On occasion, all of the color guard would be killed or wounded, but records tell us no call had to go out for volunteers. It was an honor to carry the flag.
Go to the bloodied battlefield of Gettysburg and see, placed in display cases of honor, the colors of these regiments, ripped and torn by shot and shell, baptized by the blood of those who carried them. The flag said you were serving your country.
The passage above, taken from the book of Psalms, describes the Lord’s banner as being set up in a place where His people can rally. It’s a beautiful picture... one that points out the Lord’s ongoing care, protection and direction which leads us forward to proclaim the Christ Who gave His life so that all who believe on Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
That’s the message some of our most familiar hymns want to convey in poetry and melody.
Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus
Going on before. Christ, the royal Master, Leads against the Foe;
Forward into battle See His banners go! Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus Going on before.
And then there is....
Stand up!--stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the Cross!
Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss.
From vict'ry unto vict'ry His army shall He lead
Till ev'ry foe is vanquished And Christ is Lord indeed.
And if you’re thinking, ‘”I’ve never seen one of the Lord’s banners”, please allow me to disagree. Every baptismal cloth used, every Purificator wiping a communion chalice, every funeral pall that covers a Christian casket; is a reminder and symbol of what the Lord has done and is doing.
THE PRAYER: Lord, although I always wish to be close to you, during times of fear and weakness, keep me specially close to Your banner of salvation. In Your holy Name I pray it. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html
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