Lately piracy in the seas around Somalia has been in the news. Just this past weekend the Captain of the Maersk Alabama was rescued from pirates after being held captive for five days. The US military ships surrounded the lifeboat containing the four pirates and the American ship captain. After a standoff, the Navy Seals shot and killed the pirates and rescued the American when the captain was deemed to be at risk of being shot.
Today the news has included several more reports of hijacking and piracy attempts. A pirate has stated that they are actually searching for American ships with the plans to hijack and kill all the Americans. They are specifically looking for the American Flag flying over a ship. This is in retaliation for the Navy killing the pirates in the rescue.
When a ship out at sea is found to be flying an American Flag that means something. What does it mean? It means that the ship is backed by the US government. All terrorism and attacks against the ship run the very high risk of retaliation by the US government.
My studies in military history have shown there is much in a name. While a small country could be at the mercy of pirates, larger countries are not helpless. Countries such as the US can escort ships and they can retaliate in the case of an attack. Also the US has political sway over other countries, granted not as much as before, but we still do. Small countries are dependent on their political allies. This is much of the reason for the First Gulf War – protecting Kuwait from Iraq. There are Fillipinos who have been held captive by pirates since November and there is little their country can and will do about the situation.
So how does this apply here in our Christian Life?
Whose flag are you under? Are you under the flag of the Lord?
In the Bible, the phrase Yehovah Nicciy means Jehovah my banner. Nec (root word) might be translated as banner, flag or standard while the word Degel is also translated flag, banner or standard.
15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:
16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. KJV
15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is my banner,
16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” ESV
Psalms 60:4 You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah ESV
Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. ESV
Isaiah 13:2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. KJV
We as those who Christ as ransomed have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. ESV
We are flying the Lord’s Banner or Flag with the Holy Spirit as our guarantor.
When others decide to “mess with us” then they run the risk of facing the full wrath and fury of the Lord. We are backed by the Lord and all His resources.
However, just like today with the shipping situation, those under the Lord’s banner also risk being singled out by Satan for attacks. Satan hates the Lord and by association us. Satan will do all in his power to attack those flying the Lord’s banner.
As a matter of fact, the Lord has warned us that this will happen.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ESV
Just as the US has warned American ships to be extra vigilant during the recent pirate crises; the Lord has warned us that Satan is sneaking around looking for those who are caught off guard.
But we shouldn’t live in fear because the Lord is on our side.
4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. ESV
Having the Lord as our protection and shield is better than having all the military might of the whole world behind us.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. ESV