To be clear- this is not about outdoor camping, political affiliations, or social justice causes. This is about what I recently heard the Lord speak to me while reading His Word, when He said, “Under what banner are you camping?”.
This question, although posed to me, I understood to be for you too. In fact, I believe it to be one of the priority questions of the Spirit in this current season that we all must grapple with.
Hang with me as I explain, you’ll be glad you do.
The children of Israel had just escaped Egypt and were in the wilderness of Sinai where the Lord is speaking to them. And here is the seed bed for our topic and question-
“ The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their father’s houses.”Numbers 2:1-2 ESV
Here’s the thing- God was directing the entire nation, and calling for each individual to camp by their own standard, under their family banner.
You see, back then, each tribe had their own standard, (Judah/ Issachar/Zebulun, Reuben/Simeon/Gad, Ephraim/Manasseh/Benjamin, Dan/Asher/Napthali); each family within each tribe had their own banner; and each triad of tribes had their own standard. (The triad is a group of 3 tribes that camped together around the tabernacle in the wilderness)
The point here is – everyone was to camp around their own family banner & their tribe’s standard. Where they camped had to do with their family flag, and the standard under which they lived.
The Hebrew word “standard” here is taken from a root word that means – “to flaunt, to raise a flag, to be conspicuous – set up a banner”. (H1713) What we can glean from this is, the banner under which they lived is what made them stand out, be conspicuous. Or perhaps even, they stood out and were conspicuous based upon the standard under which they lived and identified.
But each individual was also linked to a family, not just a tribe. And they were to camp under the banner of their father’s house as well. Take a look at what “banner” means.
” sign, pledges, signs – miracles, memorial stones of their father’s houses.”H226
Translation… family signs (sins, tendencies, weaknesses), turned to miracles, became the banner of identification for every individual, who then became part of a larger group (triad) who marched together conspicously, flaunting their standard of victory.
But here’s the question, under what banner are YOU camping? What are the obvious signs on your life? What does your life point to, stand out for?
We all have a family, and each family looks different. Family in this text means all of these things in fact –
“house, palace, prison, temple – house containing a family”H1004
Families have problems, let’s face it. But every family has problems and every family since time has begun has had problems. Even the problems of biblical families are not hidden. For example-
- Adam – blame shifting
- Cain/Abel, Jacob/Esau, Joseph -sibling rivalry
- Rachel, Leah, Hannah – jealousy
- Samuel & Eli – wayward kids
- Saul & Jonathan – angry tempered father
- David & Absolom – rebellious son
- Hosea – marriage issues
God set up families as His first institution to teach us about human interactions. It is within this context that we realize family tendencies, weaknesses, strengths and values, right? It is within this framework that we see “generational sins”. These are weaknesses or tendencies handed down to us through generations via our parents. They include behavioral patterns and ways of thinking.
In my biological family, I see family traits that have been passed down, anger, impatience, pride, judgment, lying, bitterness, drunkenness, demeaning, and cursing, to name a few. What are yours? Cuz we all have them.
But even tho’ these are signs, sins, (of my family) that doesn’t mean I have to camp under that banner. I am not a victim of those generational sins. I can choose to live differently and under another banner. Jesus has freed me and I am responsibile for my own sin and not the sins of my forefathers. Ezkiel 18:30-32 I can pray like David, “do not remember the sins of my forefathers.” Psa. 79:8-9
Even though Issac lied about his wife just like his dad Abraham did, and Jacob with his mom decieved Esau, we do not have to camp under the banner of our families generational sins. But without intentional, personal confession & repentance we will fall prey to those “sins that so easily beset us”, those unspiritual family traits, whatever they may be.
You see, generational sins have a tendency to multiply among family members, and given opportunity to reign to 4 generations become a “stronghold” in the family. These become stumbling blocks that must be dealt with through prayer, confession & repentance as we mentioned. At it’s core, generational sins are about disobeying God’s commands and we must realign ourselves with God, His will, His grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. He truly is a “good, good father”.
That then puts us under the banner of LOVE (Song of Solomom 2:4). Now, The Lord has become our banner, and The Lord is the banner that we camp under. His miracles in our life, His signs of setting us free from family sins, and the memorials we set up to remind ourselves of His forgiveness and deliverance for us.
AND, for the record, “THE LORD OUR BANNER” is one of the names of God that He gave to Moses when Amalek attacked the children of Israel in the wilderness. The story is important for us, in this context because Amalek was the first nation to attack the Jews and God told them that they would have war with him from “generation to generation”. Exodus 17:16 (That means, us!)
Amalek was the grandson of Esau. He grew up in Esau’s house feeding on the hatred of his Granddad for Jacob. Isn’t that what generational sins do? Grow up, unchecked in households like festering wounds, producing swelling and infection. That is why God promised that Amalek would be completely destroyed and remembered no more. Exodus 17:14
Moses shows us in Exodus 17 – While Moses and Aaron’s hands were lifted, Joshua was victorious in battle over Amalek, if their hands were lowered, Amalek won the battle. As their hands remained lifted, Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. THAT my friend, is effective, fervent prayer and praise!
It was in THAT battle, that Moses called God by the name, “The Lord Is My Banner”. The banner that wins us victory over Amalek (our generational sins, weaknesses and tendencies) is The Lord. The Lord Our Banner is The banner under which we need to park ourselves. Not the banner of our family sins, addictions or shortcomings.
When we find ourselves (and our family) camped under The Lord Our Banner, it is only fitting to then look up and find that we are aligned with the standard of our victorious tribe- The Bride of Christ. Remember, it is under the standard that we become conspicious – flaunting even.
When we experience the victory of The Lord in our life over our generational, family sins, we share it, tell others, and become conspicuous to others in our freedom. It is not out of pride or gloating that we flaunt our freedom from family sins, but out of a heart of humble, gratitude that we can’t help but show others that freedom is possible. They too could be free to camp under The Lord Our Banner, and the miracles and signs He will do.
Your battle with Amalek is guaranteed, but your victory over Amalek and those family sins is your responsibility. “For each person will camp by his own standard, with the banner of his father’s house.”
The question that remains then is, under what banner are you camping?
Let’s get to the business of freeing ourselves and our families.
PS – I believe that God is preparing His people to march forward in mighty victory as His Ekklesia, but before that can happen, we must be free of anything that entangles us and binds us. Just as with the Jew’s, God spoke for them to realign under their standards and banners – BEFORE He released them to march forward. It’s time to realign, get things settled, and get ourselves out from under generational bondage.
So, my friend, let’s get to it. It’s almost time to move out.