While watching national news coverage of an Atlantic Ocean hurricane recently, I was taken back a bit by one of the visuals presented on the screen. The shot was taken off of the eastern Florida coastline where the tropical storm winds were already pounding the shore. Out on the horizon, amidst the raging waves and turbulent waters, was an American flag, badly battered, but still flying proudly. The reporter went on to explain that the flag is a landmark of sorts for the coastal residents, the remains of a boat that had sunk in that spot many years ago. What is it about that flag that stirs my emotions? Whether it’s pictures of Iwo Jima or the World Trade Center, seeing that flag encourages my spirit and reassures my soul. It is the ensign of the country that I love.
An ensign is defined as a flag or standard, an emblem of a particular thing. In Bible times, an ensign was a banner usually elevated on a pole. In times of battle, these ensigns were placed on mountain tops to point out a rendezvous point when an enemy was encroaching. In Numbers 2:2, the twelve tribes of Israel each would “pitch by his own standard, with an ensign of his father’s house.” Each tribe followed the unique flag of his forefather as they made their pilgrimage to the Promised Land.. Later in Numbers, when Israel once again provoked God with their murmuring and complaining, God “sent fiery serpents among the people” as punishment. When those pilgrims cried out to God for deliverance, Moses was instructed to “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole,” and those who looked upon that ensign of mercy and “beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
Years later, Jesus would share with Nicodemus that just as that ensign was raised in the wilderness, “even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” As we look upon that cross and the sacrifice made for sin on that rugged tree, we are healed, saved from our transgressions, and grafted into the family of God. Thank God daily for that banner, His blessed cross, that emblem of salvation, for it is the ensign can withstand the fiercest of storms and secure the richest of gifts.
John 3:14, 15 And 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.
Thank You, Lord, for that old rugged cross, that precious banner signifying Your love for humankind. Under the shelter of that ensign, I am safe, secure, and at peace, even in the fiercest of storms.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-998-6513c7bf75146' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=998&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-998-6513c7bf75146' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-998-6513c7bf75146' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>