The Banner Of The Cross
We spoke last Wednesday evening about Moses building an altar after the victory against Amalek and giving the altar the name "The Lord is my Banner". We saw the use of a banner or standard and the purpose of its representation. In Numbers chapter 21 we have the account of the journey of Israel from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea to compass the land of Edom. We are told of the mindset of the people that they were much discouraged because of the way. This caused them to complain against God and Moses in a very harsh way. "Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread".
God's loving care and provision for them was met with contempt and disgust and the anger of God was against them. We are told that God sent fiery serpents among the people and death was produced by their bites causing a great plague among the people to die. The people rushed to Moses acknowledging their sin against God and Moses by their speech and pleaded with Moses to pray to God to take away the fiery serpents. And so Moses interceded for the people and God responded. God did not take the fiery serpents away but gave a remedy instead.
God instructed Moses to make a serpent and set it upon a pole. So Moses made a brass serpent and set it upon a pole. Here we have a banner provided by God that when one was bitten by the fiery serpents when they looked upon this banner they would live. "To put it upon a pole" is the Hebrew for "banner". The bite of the serpents produced death and God provided a banner which gave life to them. In speaking about the Messiah's kingdom which was to come Isaiah said in chapter 11 verse 10 "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign (a banner) of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek and his rest shall be glorious".
Jesus made the statement in John 3:14,15 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life". Jesus and the cross would be our banner. As we have been bitten by the sting of sin producing death if we would look upon the cross we could have eternal life. Jesus died upon the cross to take away the sins of the world and to redeem a people back unto God. What was produced at the cross was the shedding of our Savior's blood to cleanse us of our sins and iniquities. This is every Christians rallying point, this is our banner that we proudly hold up high for all the world to see.
"There's a royal banner given for display
To the soldiers of the King.
As an ensign fair we lift it up today,
While as ransomed ones we sing,
Marching on! Marching on!
Neath the banner of the Cross!"
May we praise God for His deliverance and mercy which was extended to us as we were under the bondage of sin with the sentence of death placed upon us. He truly is our banner!
- Larry Bumgardner