Covenant

covenant“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark,” –Genesis 6:18a, ESV

There is such a disconnect for us when it comes to covenant keeping. Our society thinks little of integrity, honor, and honesty. We have developed complex and crafted contracts, because we are always looking for loopholes, ways to escape responsibility. We miss the visual of “cutting a covenant” (Gen 15:9-11,18), the gore of sacrifice, the flowing blood that is trampled upon by the parties that pass through it—symbolizing the future of those that do not hold the word as binding.

“The Lord said to him, ‘Take for me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.’ So Abram took all these for him and then cut them in two and placed each half opposite the other, but he did not cut the birds in half. When birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep, and great terror overwhelmed him.” –Genesis 15:9-12, NET

So we think little of God’s covenant with mankind, our inability to uphold our part to be “blameless” (Gen 17:1), no matter how much we promise (Exo 19:8; 24:3,7; 32:1-6; Jos 24:16-21). No wonder Abram was terrified. He saw the assurance of his doom.

But God does not abandon His people to their futility and shame, but upholds the covenant with a promise (Heb 6:17-18). His predestined plan, made before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4-12), will be accomplished by His immense power (Eph 1:19-21). It is impossible for man to thwart it (Job 42:2), even in our stubborn rebellion (Num 11:23). And in this “everlasting covenant,” God Himself walks through the blood for us (Gen 15:17—He is Spirit, and so His presence is represented by type and shadow), atoning for our guilt and shame (Eze 16:63).

“When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking firepot with a flaming torch passed between the animal parts. That day the Lord [cut] a covenant with Abram.” –Genesis 15:17-18a, NET

“I will establish my covenant with you, and then you will know that I am the Lord. Then you will remember, be ashamed, and remain silent because of your disgrace when I make atonement for all you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.” –Ezekiel 16:62-63, NET

O LORD, press upon our hearts Your great sacrifice. Let us see the enormity and preciousness of the blood paid on our behalf. Let our minds perceive the judgment to come and race to enter your ark of rest—Jesus Christ!

Billy Neal
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Surrender All

surrender

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. –Matthew 9:36

Men, As Jesus goes from town to village preaching of the Kingdom and healing the sick, a multitude amassed. Jesus looks on this multitude and finds them weary and scattered, like a sheep with no master. Jesus is moved with compassion for them.

This multitude is an interesting group. There is no word of how long these people have followed along. There is no word of what provisions these people carried with them. We know that Jesus was often nomadic, without a nest or den to take shelter in. So these people have been sleeping on the ground with Him. This is a time with no drive through services for food or medicine, and there is no welfare program. These people have surrendered everything to follow alongside Jesus and listen to His teaching.

Today, we are a people of many masters. Our jobs, our mortgage holders, our financiers, our spouses, peers, personal expectations, our own bellies, appetites and more. We bend and sway to the call of dozens of voices crying out for our attention. This multitude has stepped away from many of these masters and Jesus considers them scattered. Scattered is better than being owned by many masters. Jesus, the shepherd, is moved with compassion for them. These people had forfeited their regular diets, their occupations, reputations, their personal responsibilities, their family and peers to be near Jesus. Mathew says Jesus acknowledged their weariness. This group has sacrificed.

Would Jesus be moved with compassion for us? Have we forfeited anything to be near His presence, His teaching? Have we ever been found “weary” from seeking out Jesus and following Him wherever He led us? Many of this multitude have followed Jesus from town to town to town. Where would you go? Move forward men, abandoning our many masters to press into the wisdom and understanding of the teachings of Jesus and His Kingdom come. May we “surrender ALL”, for in Him all good things are found.

Vance Durrance

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