"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love."
Song of Solomon 2:4
A banner of love. The word for banner in the Bible is translated either banner or more commonly standard. It is a military term describing the colors (the flag) that were carried by an army. There were several purposes for this banner.
1) The banner was a mark of identification. It clearly defined for everyone who you were. God's banner over us is love, because that is who He is. He is love. There is never any reason to doubt that. While the love of people may wax cold from time to time, God's love never does. It can't, because love is who and what He is. 2) The banner was a sign to let the enemy know of one's presence. Can you imagine how it must have felt in the midst of battle to see that standard on the horizon and know that the enemy was drawing closer? God's love and therefore His mercy and grace is a banner to let the enemy know that he is already a defeated foe. The Bible says that when the enemy comes in like a flood, God will raise up a standard against him. That standard is His unconditional love. 3) The banner gave instruction to the army. When it moved forward, you moved forward. When it stopped, you stopped. Soldiers were given instruction to not let the colors fall. If it meant dropping your weapon to pick it up, that is what you did for the good of the whole regiment. In the same way, Christ's love is an example for us. We are to follow His lead when it comes to loving others. We are to love how He loves. We are to love who He loves. We are to love when He loves. He is our example of everlasting and unconditional love. 4) The banner was where you would rally together. When it was time to reform the lines, you drew closer to the banner. It was what united every one. There could be no personal agendas. There was no room for a maverick. You ran to the banner and rallied together with your brothers in battle. There is such a great need for God's people to rally together in the love of God today. The Kingdom of God is not about any single one of us. It is not for our good. Our rallying is for the purpose of accomplishing the will of God together. It is God's love that will unite us. It is God's love that will encourage us. It is God's love that will strengthen us for the day of battle. Don't live your life alone. Live it in the love of God with those who love God.
I am reminded of the words of the great hymn entitled "The Love of God":
The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.
Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure the saints and angels song.
May you not only know but may you also demonstrate the love of God today!