When he proclaimed 1986 “The Year of the Flag”, President Ronald Reagan put it this way: “The colors of our flag signify the qualities of the human spirit we Americans cherish - red for courage and readiness to sacrifice, white for pure intentions and high ideals, and blue for vigilance and justice.”
Of course, these three colors also symbolize other things. If someone is feeling blue, they are likely depressed. If someone is red-faced, they might be feeling embarrassed or angry. Likewise, if someone is pale or overly white, they may be said to be feeling sickly.
The Bible makes use of these colors as well. It directly references the blue skies and the deep blue seas, as well as red blood and crimson fabrics and décor. It also speaks to feelings of depression or despair; as it does to feelings of anger as well as paleness due to fright and/or sickness.
But perhaps the most vivid imagery of red and white in the Bible comes from the writings of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah, who said in the 18th verse of his opening chapter: “Come now, let’s reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
Isaiah goes on to prophesy that God will send a Messiah who will make this possible by becoming a suffering servant Who will accomplish this His by giving His life as an atonement for many. The prophet specifically details all of this between chapter 52, verse 13 and chapter 53, verse 12, where he affirms that this righteous Servant will bear the sins of other and justify them in the process.
Christians, of course, understand these prophecies to have been fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. By His gracious sacrifice, our sins, though as scarlet, have now been made as pure as white snow!
I could not help but be reminded of all of this earlier today. My wife and I recently had a metal garage constructed adjacent to our home. Like many people, we just needed some place to put our lawnmower, weed-eater, and such. The building has white sides and a black roof. But, when the summer sun hits the building early in the morning, the roof seems to miraculously change color – from a dull black to a gleaming white. See for yourself...
I am thankful this weekend for the red, white, and blue as seen in our American flag. Together, these colors represent my freedom in this world, as well as the sacrifices and values inherent in that freedom. I am thankful as well for the two most vivid colors depicted in Scripture, red and white; for together, they represent my spiritual freedom!
FLAG INFORMATION SOURCE:
Available widely on the internet. See, for instance: https://swampland.time.com/2013/07/04/why-the-u-s-flag-is-red-white-and-blue/.
https://biblehub.com/isaiah/1-18.htm; https://biblehub.com/niv/isaiah/52.htm; and https://biblehub.com/niv/isaiah/53.htm.
And excellent short discussion of colors in Scripture can be found at: http://dentonpbc.org/colors.htm.