By Covenant, Not Contract
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lordof hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” —Isaiah 44:6-8
Prophets like Isaiah were all about being God’s spokesmen. They often began statements with, “Thus says the Lord.” In the Bible, Lord is the titlefor God as a covenant God. We have a covenant relationship with God, because that’s what He decided. God is the covenant-making- and-keeping God. We need to understand this—God is not a contract God.
Imagine you have an appointment with a dentist and decide, “I don’t want to have my teeth worked on today,” and break the appointment. The dentist will find out and say, “Well, she’s not coming today.” They won’t give you another thought, and will just go on to the next patient. Orif you make a deal to sell your house, butsuddenly your buyer reneges on the deal and walks away from it—the relationship is over. That’s how contract relationships work.
Aren’t you glad you don’t have a contract relationship with God? When you fail to perform, as we all do, God doesn’t say, You know what? You broke the contract. It’s over!
In a covenant relationship like between a parent and a child, failures hurt their fellowship, but they don’t destroy their relationship. Isaiah 49 describes God’s covenant relationship with us like a mother’s love for her newborn child. If you’re a parent, and your child fails to obey God or do something you want—does that end the relationship? No. It absolutely does not,because you havea covenant relationship.
When God speaks in Isaiah 44 He is declaring His unchanging partnership through a covenant. You are in relationship with One who is like no other, anywhere, anytime! You can be glad, because even though you fail many times and in many ways (see James 3:2 , you are in relationship with He who is absolutely faithful and “cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). God is in it for the eternal long haul. He says, “I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). The Lord of Hosts wants you to be completely on board with His sovereign plan and perfect wisdom for your life as He keeps His covenant. So, fear not! He is with us.
- When was the last time you were tempted to let your performance dictate the closeness of your relationship with the Lord?
- Do you believe that God loves you no more on your good days and no less on your bad days? How can you strengthen your faith in his covenant-keeping character?
Covenant-keeping Lord, how glad I am to be in Your presence, boldly coming to the throne of grace to receive what You have for me today. There are needs to mention and gratitude to express, but I know You have drawn me close to simply experience covenant with You. Your grace is so amazing! Though I am unworthy to approach, You welcome me as Your child and assure me of Your love. I am glad You are the covenant-keeping God! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.