"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah."
As David wrote this wonderful psalm, he shows God’s great power over his enemies. This was written after real victories, in real battles, over real enemies. In our verse for today, David uses an effective word picture that points to God’s truth as the rallying point for God’s people.
“Thou hast given a banner.”
What is a banner? The Hebrew word that was translated “banner” hear “means properly anything elevated or lifted up, and hence, a standard, a flag, a sign, or a signal,”1 (Barnes). Banners were used by armies as a rallying point, or as a place of rendezvous for the troops. The navies used flags to identify ships at sea and in battles so they could tell one ship from another. But this banner he speaks of is unique.
“To them that fear thee,”
This special banner was one for the people who feared the LORD. It was the rallying point for His people. In David’s time, there were divisions among the people of Israel, and this one banner should unify them.
“That it may be displayed because of the truth.”
This banner is unfurled and displayed where everyone can see it, “In the cause of truth.” It stands for defending what is right and for justice. It is not just for show, like the shiny armor a knight wears on parade. There is to be no pretense here,
“it was not to be unfolded in an unrighteous or unjust cause; it was not to be waved for the mere purpose of carrying desolation, or of securing victory; it was that a righteous cause might be vindicated, and that the honor of God might be promoted,” (Barnes).
Believers, let’s hold His banner high!
Think about this!
There’s a Royal Banner Given for Display3
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,
For Christ count everything but loss!
And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing,
‘Neath the banner of the cross!
Though the foe may rage and gather as the flood,
Let the standard be displayed;
And beneath its folds, as soldiers of the Lord,
For the truth be not dismayed!
Over land and sea, wherever man may dwell,
Make the glorious tidings known;
Of the crimson banner now the story tell,
While the Lord shall claim His own!
When the glory dawns ’tis drawing very near,
It is hastening day by day,
Then before our King the foe shall disappear,
And the cross the world shall sway!
1. Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.
2. Barnes, ibid.
3. “There’s a Royal Banner Given for Display,” Authors: James McGranahan 1840-1907, Daniel Webster Whittle 1840-1901. Copyright status, Public Domain.