Keys to the Storehouse – Hold the Banner High

It was July 3, 1863. The Northern Army was stationed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The cry went out that the enemy was advancing.

Pickett’s division of the Southern Army—15,000 men—was marching toward the Northern lines. Shoulder to shoulder, rank upon rank, line upon line, they came. Silently, irresistibly down the ridge, across the creek and up the gentle slope to the rock wall protecting the Northern forces.

It was the South’s last, supreme effort. The outcome of the war, the destiny of the nation, depended on the success or failure of this one charge.

Northern cannons fired on the advancing line of humanity, thousands fell, but the living kept coming. When they reached the corner of the wall, Webb’s brigade stationed there fell back and Southern soldiers poured in. If enough made it across the wall, they could divide the Northern Army and win the war.

The North had enough men and weapons to stop them, but Webb’s men were confused and afraid. What they needed was just one man of courage to inspire them with new confidence.

A sergeant seized the banner of the Northern Army and ran for the enemy’s line. At first only one soldier followed, but when the sergeant fell, struck by a bullet, and the standard he bore fell beside him, the effect was electric. Webb’s men jumped to their feet and fought the enemy. Shouting, pushing, firing, punching until the enemy staggered to the wall and across it and beyond. And as suddenly as the battle had begun, it was over.

Taken from Out-Numbered and Other Stories by Lawrence Maxwell, Pacific Press Publishing, 1970.

 What inspired these men to fight, to win? The courage of one man to carry the banner no matter the consequences or cost.

Each of us has a struggle, an individual war, to win, a banner to bear. We are instructed that we must “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10–12

Ellen White writes, “I would rejoice with all my heart to see all who have been connected with the work, take their places to hold high the banner of Jesus, that when their work shall be done, they may say as did Paul, ‘I have fought a good fight, … I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness … .’ ” The Review and Herald, July 26, 1892

We must be men and women who will bear the banner of God and uphold His standards as found in Education, 57: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”

Dear Lord, help us to have the courage of the sergeant to bear Your banner in a world deluded by sin. Give us strength to win our personal battle with sin and then to stand for the right before a world desperate to know You.