Banner of Love

Banner of Love

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.  (SOS 2:4 NKJV)

In the Bible, many times when the word banner is used, it is referring to a flag.  Armies carry flags and kingdoms display flags to identify and declare several things: 

  • The identity of the King who rules in a certain country and in whose name a particular army fights;
  • The identity of the kingdom to whom an army has pledged its loyalty and steadfastness;
  • The identity of the kingdom that has supplied (and will continue to supply) an army;
  • The identity of the King and the kingdom which will protect an army or a country.

In the instance of the verse shown at the top of this article, the word banner has additional implications to those mentioned above:

  1. The King signified by this banner is King Jesus (the King of Kings and Lord of Lords), who has established His banner, authority, and might in LOVE;
  2. The Kingdom that displays this banner of love not only supplies food, armaments, and other supplies but it also supplies grace to its army and to its people;
  3. This banner represents a Kingdom of loveliness, security, unity, and loyalty;
  4. One of the seven names of God, Jehovah Nissi, means “The Lord our Banner.” (Exodus 17:14-15) The Bible reminds us that God is love.  (1 Joh 4:8, 16b)  Praise the Lord that His banner over us is love!

In John Gill’s Exposition on Song of Solomon 2:4, he says:  “ . . . the covenant of grace and the Scriptures of truth may be thought of as a banqueting house, well stored with blessings, and promises, and rich provisions; which, to be led and let into, is a singular kindness . . .”

As the children of God, we are a blessed people and I recommend thinking about this at length. 

The Touch of Faith

The Touch of Faith

. . . and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment.  And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.  (Matt 14:36 NKJV)

She came up behind Jesus and touched the tassel of his garment, and her bleeding stopped at once.  (Lk 8:44 ISV)

As we read these two different reports, you’ll notice that in one “the hem” of Jesus’ garment was mentioned; and in the other, “the tassel” of His garment was touched by the needy, faith-filled woman.

In the Mosaic Law, God instructed His people regarding the corners, or fringes, of their garments. Jews were to “make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a “cord of blue on the tassel of each corner” as a reminder that they were God’s people called to keep His commandments (Numbers 15:37-41). It seems like a strange instruction until we learn that in the Ancient Near East, the corner of a person’s garment represented his identity; it was a symbol of who he was and what he stood for.  (Source of above note:  https://biblemesh.com/blog/why-were-people-healed-from-touching-jesus-clothes/)

According to the above historical note about the tassels of a person’s clothing in Bible days, the tassels represented a person’s identity.  So, the woman with the issue of blood would have known that symbolism.

 It helps us to understand that the woman not only reached out in faith and in need, but she also reached out with a desire to identify and connect with Jesus’ identity.  She was humbly connecting with the Son of God, her Messiah.

In the same way, when we have a need, we would do well to follow this woman’s example.  Draw near to Jesus with a humble heart; recognize and appropriate His identity; and reach out and touch Him by faith.  In the biblical account of the woman healed of the issue of blood, Jesus established that He responded to this touch of faith!

He’s never too busy to perform a miracle for you!  

The Armor of Light, Part 2

The Armor of Light, Part 2

This is a continuation of our last blog article about our Armor.  (See Isa 59:17 & Eph 6:14-18)

How do we employ our armor? 

  1. The belt (sash) in a Roman soldier’s uniform was intended to enable him to tightly wind his garment about him prior to battle so that it wouldn’t be a hindrance to him. The Belt of Truth enables us to carry our weapons; gird up our loins [1 Pet 1:13-14] or “pull in all of the loose ends of our lives;” and to demonstrate that we are seriously committed to the battle.  We have a heart for the battle; we’ve counted the cost.  We love the Truth and we go to war on behalf of it.  We also go to battle (truly) for our own spiritual protection!
  2. A soldier needs a breastplate to protect the vital organs, and would not go into battle without one. Our breastplate of righteousness is constructed of the truth that we are living in obedience to God; we are walking in holiness before Him.  We have put on the Lord Jesus Christ because He is our Lord and Savior.  (see Rom 13:14; Gal 3:27)  Jesus lived a sinless life, and as our Savior, He shares His righteousness (holiness) with us—not only His righteousness but His very IDENTITY as well!  We are covered in Christ!  Hallelujah! 
  3. Roman helmets, like helmets today, protected the head from the attacks of the enemy. Salvation basically means to be saved or delivered from something.  In the New Testament, it is generally used to refer to deliverance from the eternal death penalty of sin and deliverance into God’s Kingdom.
    Every one of us has thought and acted in ways that are displeasing to God. Our sins break God’s laws which He designed for our good. Sin requires the death penalty; God’s justice requires that penalty. But God’s loving mercy provided the only acceptable substitute. Jesus Christ, our Creator, was willing to die in our place! 
    This truth gives us beautiful hope and comforts us by focusing on Jesus’ perfect sacrifice.  We need to also consider the Kingdom of God and the life that is the goal of our salvation.  This hope works like a helmet to protect our minds from the discouragement, depression, and despair in this world—it is the Helmet of Salvation.
  4. Shoes (of the preparation of the gospel of peace) permit us to step freely and without fear while we turn our full attention to the battle at hand.
    The gospel of the Kingdom of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of the grace of God, the gospel of peace—these are some of descriptions attached to the word gospel throughout the New Testament. Do all of these different qualifiers mean that there are multiple gospels set forth in the Bible? 
    The Greek word translated gospel—euaggelion—simply means “good news.” This raises a question: The good news of what? The first description used in the Gospels also summarizes all the others: The gospel of the Kingdom. The good news of the Kingdom of God includes the good news about Jesus Christ the King; His grace (unmerited pardon); and His plan of salvation for all mankind. This plan gives us peace now, and will bring peace to the whole world! This is the message that we, as God’s people, should be eager to share with others. Our loving Father is preparing each and every one of us for a future beyond imagination and description.
    God’s Church is sent to announce the good news of God’s Kingdom, which will spread His way of peace around the whole world. (Rom 10:14-15)  Having our shoes on, we are ready to move, to spread these glad tidings to others.
    In the Apostle Paul’s day, he walked countless miles in delivering the good news. Today, transportation and communication have changed, but we must also be constantly ready to do our part to spread the good news.  Just as shoes
    allow us to walk on otherwise painful terrain without fear, so the preparation of the gospel of peace allows us to navigate the otherwise painful trials and tribulations of life without fear, knowing that what awaits us is far greater than anything we could possibly suffer in this world (Rom 8:18).
  5. The Roman shield was a central part of the soldier’s defense. It was rectangular in shape and rounded on the ends. It was typically made from two sheets of wood that were glued together, then covered with canvas and leather. The canvas and leather could be doused with water to protect against flaming arrows.
    The shield weighed about 22 pounds and was roughly 37 to 42 inches high and 27 to 33 inches across. A metal piece ran across the center of the shield, so it could also be used as a weapon to punch or push forward.
    Paul, in his analogy of the Christian armament, says that “above all” the shield of faith should be raised!
    To see why faith is so important, we must first understand what faith is. The author of Hebrews describes it as the realization of something we can’t see: 
    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. (Heb 11:1-2).  The word faith in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word pistis, defined by Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary as “firm belief.” Faith is an unshakable belief in the promises of God. 
    So the Shield of Faith is vital in our battle against the enemy of our souls.  We are justified by faith; faith empowers us to prevail over the adversary; our faith pleases God; and finally, our faith permits us to shield others.
    The Shield of Faith is only effective when it is raised.  We must be watchfully prepared and ready for battle. 

The sword used by Roman soldiers was known as a gladius; and in the hands of a skilled man, it was a fearsome weapon. In fact, it became known as “the sword that conquered the world.” It was sharpened on both sides, making it lethal against an unarmored foe. The point was also sharpened, enabling it to penetrate armor.

An infantryman in the Roman legions would also go into battle with a dagger, a few spears and possibly a few darts. But the gladius (sword) was the only offensive weapon listed by Paul, and it was the main weapon in the soldier’s arsenal.

Paul defines the sword of the Spirit as the “word of God” (Eph 6:17). This isn’t the only place where God’s Word (the Bible) is described as a sword. The author of Hebrews also makes reference to it:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account . . .  (Heb 4:12-13).

The Word of God is even sharper than the gladius! It is capable of slicing to the deepest levels of one’s heart, attitudes, and motives.  It is a tool of discernment in the hands of a skilled user, as well.