A Banner Moment
As the King James has it, Isaiah 59:19 reads,
“So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isa. 59:19b)
From West to East, all across the skies and the earth beneath – in other words “everywhere!” In every place men and women alike will one day fear and give glory to the One great God, Jehovah, Lord and Creator of all. But the remainder of the passage can be difficult to translate. The question centers around who is flooding who. Is it the enemy (Satan or some other opposing person or circumstance,) or is it the Lord, flooding in like a tsunami to wash away the threat?
In the King James, this is essentially a question of where to place the comma. Is it,
“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard…”
“When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard…”
But whichever it is, the message is clear. Whenever we experience persecution or trial God is greater. “Greater is He Who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:5). God is our Rescuer… our Saviour! When all is at its darkest our God will always step in.
We see Him from a distance, like a huge heavenly army, flags flying, horses a-gallop, trumpets sounding. We see that flag, that banner, that standard, from afar. The devils see it too, “and tremble” says the scripture (James 2:19). In fact, “banner” is one of the Names given to God. Jehovah Nissi “The Lord is My Banner” (Exod. 17:15). The Hebrews had just won a great victory over their enemy. God had fought for them. As long as Moses held his arms high – eventually with the help of Aaron and Hur – God enabled the Hebrews to prevail.
The Amplified version tries to include both interpretations: “…When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight [for He will come like a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord drives].”
So we ought not fear, ought not panic and run frantic. Our bit is simply to stand firm, as brother Joseph advised us a few weeks back, to stand, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” (Ex. 14:13), to “Be still, and know that [He is] God” (Ps. 46:10). To “be strong and courageous” as Pastor Andrew has urged, and to place our hope in our eternal homeland.