“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall (in reality) be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness and be satisfied: let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.”
“Why God Loved David” Part XI
Covenant: A binding agreement made between two people. A contracted promise. A mutual agreement of two or more persons or parties. To bind one’s self by contract; to make a stipulation.
“A covenant made with God should be regarded not as restrictive but as protective.”
Russell M. Nelson
What do I think of when I hear the word “covenant”?
Have I kept my covenant with God the way He has kept His covenant with me?
“He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant to be forever: holy is His name, inspiring awe, reverence, and godly fear.”
Yesterday was one of those magical days that makes my heart leap with joy as I thank God for the blessing Jim and I have being able to live nestled within the Red Rocks of Arizona.
What made yesterday so tremendously wonderful was the monsoon rain that came through in the afternoon bringing with it a vivid-colored, double rainbow that lasted for over two hours. Oh, the colors! Trust me, it was literally heavenly. I went outside in the rain and stood in the middle of the street and since we are at the end of a cul-de-sac, I didn’t have to worry about being mowed over by a car.
Because the ridge our house is on runs east and west, the setting western sun hits the majestic Red Rocks of the Mogollon Rim and the valley below at a perfect angle which creates some of the most stunning rainbows I’ve ever seen.
By the end of this display, my neighbors were inspired to join me in the street as they took in this visual revelation of God’s glory and His covenant with us. This is exactly what a rainbow is. God told His friend Noah, in Genesis 6: 18, the first place in the Bible where we find God using the word “covenant,” or pledge, that He was giving us His word – His covenant. In this passage, God made a promise, a covenant with Noah as He entered the ark with his family. This was a promise that they would come through the devastation of the flood. Then, the very next time we find the word “covenant” used in the Bible, it is in Genesis 9: 9-13, when Noah and his family were leaving the ark and God made another promise…a pledge…a covenant. This time it was that He would never “cut off by the waters of a flood; neither shall there ever again be a flood to destroy the earth and make it corrupt” (Genesis 9:11, Amplified Bible).
But God didn’t just use words to indicate His covenant or promise. Instead, His covenant with all of us, was sealed with a token when He, “Set My bow (rainbow) in the cloud, and it shall be a token or a sign of a covenant or solemn pledge between Me and the earth (this includes you and me for we are part of the earth!) (Genesis 9: 12, 13).
It might be easy to come to the conclusion that a rainbow lets us know the flood was a one-time disaster. However, this would be a very narrow view of something which is revealed every time a rainbow stretches across the sky.
As God told Noah, the rainbow is My covenant – it is My pledge. And I ask you, “What is the rainbow a pledge of?”
The answer is that a rainbow is a covenant of something so wonderful it should make us shout for joy because we are overflowing with unbridled happiness. A rainbow, is a tangible sign here on earth, that our Father in heaven, keeps His word. What He promises, He will do. What He says will happen, does. Even when it isn’t within my time parameter or in a way I exactly think that things should be done. This I can say, and this you can say, “Our Father’s Word is reliable.” Every rainbow reminds us of this truth!
And this fact brings us back to Psalm 51 where David writes a letter to his heavenly Father after he, David, had broken the covenant he and his “Dad” had.
This is something you and I should understand very well for the Bible tells us we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. With this knowledge laid out before us, we have no choice, if we are truly honest with God and with ourselves, to acknowledge that we have broken the covenant with our “Dad,” too. I know in my own life there have been times when the covenant between my Father and me has been smashed in pieces because of my disobedience. Frankly, at times I even doubted our relationship was reparable. But just when we get to that desperate point at the end of the rope, like David did, we find the same thing David found when he wrote these words in Psalm 111: 9, “God (my Father) sent redemption (a deliverer, a redeemer) to His people.” Praise God! But the good news doesn’t stop there. David goes on to say that God “commanded” (appointed a messenger, the Hebrew tells us) to bring us poor lost earthlings the “good tidings of great joy” that this covenant was forever. And what did David say should be our response to this fantastic news – it should inspire awe, reverence and godly fear or respect for our Father.
No wonder God loved David so much. This fallen man, through his longing to get to know his heavenly Father, began to realize that even when he fell and thought he had destroyed the bond he had with his Dad, his Father’s word was still good. The covenant wasn’t broken because David disobeyed. Our Father is stronger than our flaws and failings or as William S. Plumer wonderfully penned, “The bond of the covenant is able to bear the weight of the believer’s heaviest burden.” How thankful I am for this fact – a fact that was reinforced to me again last night as I stood in the rain, silently in awe of the magnificent rainbow – a definitive revelation of the truth that my Father keeps His word. His covenant is sure and true.
The great pastor, John Wesley, had in his church what was called, “Wesley’s Covenant Service.” This written piece contained Directions for Renewing Our Covenant with God and it was written in 1780. I’d like to share part of the words written for this special service with you:
“Adventure yourselves with (Christ); cast yourselves upon his Righteousness, as that which shall bring you to God: as a poor captive exile that is cast upon a strange land, a land of robbers and murderers, where (she) is ready to perish, and having no hope, either of abiding there, or escaping home with life: do you likewise; you are exiles from the presence of God, and fallen into a land of robbers and murderers: your sins are robbers, your pleasures are robbers, your companions in sin are robbers and thieves: if you stay where you are, you perish, and escape home of yourselves you cannot: Christ offers, if you will venture with Him, He will bring you home, and He will bring you to God.”
At home with God, how joyful David was at the thought that although he fell hard and low, he had a Father who kept His word. You and I have the same Father, too. And yesterday afternoon, my “Dad” reminded His daughter, Dorothy, that His covenant remains steadfast when He sent an incredible rainbow in the sky!
“The covenant of grace is the saint’s original title to heaven.”
“Lord, I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Let me be employed by You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low by You. Let me have all things, let me have nothing, I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. AMEN!”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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