“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
What is your favorite brand? In America, it seems we are fascinated by and drawn to this idea of branding. From clothing lines, to sporting teams and equipment, to cars, to anything and everything, we are a people who seek the most desired brands in our every day dealings.
However, this concept of marking or branding is not a new idea for people. In ancient times and even in modern cultures, branding, marking or tattooing animals of herds or flocks with a particular symbol is often used to identify ownership. Even in human populations, tattooing, branding or piercings historically have been used in some cultures to identify ownership or affiliation with a particular group.
It should not be surprising that in the Bible, we can notice that God also speaks about this idea of branding or marking, however, it is often discussed in a different sense of the word. The branding or marking God often refers to is an internal or spiritual marking signifying allegiance or commitment, rather than an external, physical branding such as product logos on clothing or tattoos on the skin.
Notice in the following quotes from scripture, God’s words reveal the idea of being marked or branded by remembrance:
“If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul….commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.” Deuteronomy 11:13, 18
“This annual festival will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord: ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt.’” Exodus 13:9
In other places in scripture, we notice the idea of being marked or branded is used to denote being set apart for protection or preservation:
“Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the Lord called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city. And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity … but touch no one on whom is the mark.” Ezekiel 9:3-6
“Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:1-5
So, what brand are you wearing, spiritually speaking? We are all living in a sphere of influence with family, friends, co-workers, classmates, and fellow travelers on this road of life, and the brand we wear is obvious to those around us. Just like a brand on a sheep denotes who owns it, our spiritual brand denotes our owner and who has our allegiance. And this spiritual brand has eternal benefits or consequences, so choosing the right brand is really a matter of life and death!
We encourage you to meditate on what brand you are wearing, and to consider exploring the possibilities with Jesus, who came from heaven to be branded on his head, hands and feet, so we may have the opportunity to wear his brand into eternity, and to inherit all the benefits he purchased for us. We invite you to come and see Jesus for yourself.
“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted … I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” Isaiah 49:13-16