While I will, with joy, celebrate Independence Day with family, food, and fireworks today, I was reminded this morning, in my study in Isaiah, of a far greater flag under which I truly celebrate today.
In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him,
and the land where he lives will be a glorious place. (Isaiah 11:10, New Living Translation)
As I pondered the majesty of the long-awaited Heir, I turned to a commentary by Ray Ortlund that has been serving me in my study of the prophet's writings. His reflection on this verse:
When Francis Scott Key wrote the American National Anthem, he was a prisoner on board a British ship during the War of 1812. The enemy ship fired on Fort McHenry all night long. “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there.”
That is the position believers are in now. The kingdom of the King is established; the flag is flying. It will never fall, but it is opposed. Our part is to stay true.
The King himself stands “as a banner for the peoples.” That word banner means a signal, or a flag, drawing us in.
His reflection focused and clarified my thinking regarding the Heir. What is it that draws us in? What compels us to love and celebration? What is the truest, most sure symbol of our absolute, full, and utter freedom?
It is Jesus himself. He is my Signal, my Banner, my Flag. He is my King, my Hope, my All. In the Christ, and in his cross, I celebrate present and everlasting freedom.
So please, watch baseball, eat hot dogs and apple pie, enjoy the fireworks. Laugh, play, and re-create. And do so to the glory of Christ, who has lifted the veil and removed the weight of sin as a pall over it all.
Happy Independence Day, my fellow Christ-ian friends.