Every year our country celebrates the fourth of July by proudly displaying our beloved banner of red, white and blue, also known as “Old Glory.”
But there is an even more popular name associated with this patriotic pennant, one that many affectionately know as "the Stars and Stripes!"
Americans of all ages look to our flag with a deep sense of pride, while at the same time, oohing and ahhhing as she majestically unfurls against the fountains of fireworks and booming explosions of sparkling color … a dazzling sight to behold!
But did you also know that there is another set of stars and stripes that constitute our yearly celebration of independence? They are found within the pages of Holy Scripture, and were spoken of some two-thousand years ago, long before our nation even existed.
We begin with the stars.
Matthew 2:4 says,
"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
The birth of Jesus was the promise of a Savior, One who would save His people from their sins. He faithfully walked the Via Delarosa (the path of suffering), so that you and I might know what true liberty really is.
After His death, Isaiah foretold of another star described as the -- Day Star -- which would arise within the very hearts of all who would enter into this glorious realm of salvation. That “Day Star” is the manifested presence of Jesus Christ in the life of every believer.
Let us consider now, the stripes. 1 Peter 2:24 says,
"Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed."(NKJV)
By the very stripes (wounds and scourging) that Jesus took upon Himself, you and I have been made completely whole. What a glorious truth this present-tense reality holds.
“For by His stripes we are healed," (not were healed, not will be healed) … but are healed!
He paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could now, today, (this 4th of July) live in complete liberty from everything that would try to hold us captive and bound. That is, anything that would try to keep us from the glorious liberty that Christ has already purchased for us!
So you see, we not only celebrate our nation’s independence from a monarchy of oppressive rule, but we commemorate our sacred stars and stripes as the divine representations of our future hope as a nation.
As our grand old flag, sown together with the beautiful symbols of the “Stars and Stripes” proudly waves across our shores, she will always, graciously, humble herself and give honor where honor is due.
She will give honor to the one who died, in order that we as a nation might live.
Philippians 2:10 proclaims,
"For every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!"
Until we are all set free within this sweet land of liberty, we will rejoice in our salvation, and in the name of our God we will fly our banner, high and lifted up … for all the world to see!
"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth." (Psalm 60:4)