Isaiah teaches us that God is sovereign. He rules not only over the nation of Israel, but over the nations of the world. In chapters 13-23, God reveals a series of oracles against the pagan nations that surround Israel. In chapter thirteen, God is about to call out an army to do his bidding. He is able to call any army He desires, to accomplish any task He assigns. He can summon them with a whistle (7:18), or—as in this case—by using leaders to raise a banner, shout, and beckon to the soldiers (13:2). In this case, God is mustering the army of the Medes (v. 17; 21:2); and He calls them “My sanctified ones.” Even though they did not believe in Jehovah God, the Medes were set apart by God to do His holy work. This is the historical setting of the passage.
But one of the unique features about the Scriptures is that in some places we find little nuggets of revelation that can take us in a whole different direction than the historical meaning of the text and point us to higher spiritual truths. This is one of those verses.
In 2006 Clint Eastwood released a move, the title of which, caught my attention. It was called “Flags of our Fathers”. It was based on the true (and relatively unknown) story of six regular soldiers that raised the flag atop Mount Suribachi during the battle for Iwo Jima. An American war photographer, Joe Rosenthal, captured the flag just as it was going up. It became the most famous picture of WWII, and came to represent the ultimate victory of America over Japan. Flags of our Fathers follows the lives of three surviving members who raised the flag, and how the government used them in an effort to sell war bonds to the American public. It was a difficult film in some ways, but a wonderfully patriotic film in many ways.
I love this country and our flag and for what it stands for.
Our Text: Isaiah 13:2 Say's, “Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles.”
Banners, ensigns, and flags were important means of communication among peoples for thousands of years. For some background information please turn to Numbers 2:2 “The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side.” In this chapter, we find God's orders for Israel. There were to have an orderly encampment where they rested and a orderly march when they moved.
Every tribe had its standard, flag or banner, and ensign. After studying the scripture it would seem that every Israelite family had some particular ensign or banner that represented their clan and their family, and distinguished them from other tribes. There were to set these standards as boundaries of their tribes, their clans, and their families.
So what’s the point of all this?
Thank God for a man who was not lukewarm, halfhearted, or casual with Gods business! He was willing to raise some banners no matter what would be the consequences would be! It is time to Raise Our banners.