In 2010 our church focused on Covenant. With sermons surrounding Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan and other such covenants, I began to reflect a bit on what it means to be in covenant.
Here is the definition I am referring to: A covenant is defined as a formal binding agreement between two or more entities.
I’ve always been the type to want any covenant I am involved in to last forever, regardless of the quality of the covenant and its ratifiers and signers. As I reflected on the Covenant examples placed before me by our church leaders, I realized something: A covenant is really only as good as the people (or organizations) involved. If I sign a covenant with a strong, ethical banking entity then the covenant between us stands a great chance of being upheld for a lifetime (and beyond). But signing a similar financial covenant with a shady, dishonest person or entity guarantees a breach of covenant in the future. This shows that a covenant is only as secure as the character of the people or organizations involved.
With that in mind, I thought of my covenant that I made to follow Jesus Christ over 25 years ago. People have failed or left me over the years in one way or another (and I have failed others too, make no mistake about that) – yet HE has NEVER failed me at any moment of any day during those 25 years. Even before I was conscious enough to make that decision to follow Him, He had already made a covenant with me. He decided to die on the Cross on Golgotha’s hill centuries ago so I would have that moment to stand at an altar as a little girl to make that commitment to follow Him. There were moments when I did my thing over the years, but He’s ever faithful, whispering in my ear and heart what He thinks of me – and because of His binding covenant with me, it’s all GOOD!
In light of my covenant with Christ, I am now reviewing all the covenants I made over the years. Most of them have been breached in some way or another. But one thing is certain – if I allow God to become part of the covenants I seek to make between me and others, they are least likely to fail. (If they fail, we are to blame.)
Let’s look at David/Jonathan and Ruth/Naomi again. Their covenants had no lawyer standing by with papers and ink (or kingly seals) to ratify them. But they had One listening ear Who approved their covenants and helped them carry them out to completion. When God stands as the One Who ratifies our covenants, we can rest assured on their outcomes.
You may wonder why I’m focusing on this so much. I am reflecting on my marriage. I made a vow before God and witnesses sometime ago to love, cherish, etc. “’til death do us part.” As I labored to ‘make it happen’, the entire thing unravelled before my eyes. I was ashamed and felt like a failure for a very long time. What I now realize is if God was not in it from the beginning, how could I expect the covenant to be maintained until death?
So, with that said, I now realize the importance of the positions of the Ratifier, the One Who holds the collateral for the covenant, and the signers. All participants in this covenant are key to its longevity and strength. As I watched two prominent Bishops in the faith walk across a church’s stage openly declaring their covenant with and for each other, my heart grew full. I realized more than ever my need to make sure that those with whom I enter into covenant are righteous and of noble character, and who are humble and godly. Without these traits in place, I am wasting my time and efforts and it will less likely yield the fruit I viewed for myself not too long ago.
May God bless all those who have signed or declared a covenant before God with the right covenant-keepers! You and your children (and generations to come) will reap blessings and rewards yet to be known and described. Ruth had King David and Jesus Christ in her lineage because of her covenant to Naomi (the Book of Ruth, Matthew 1:5 & 6). Mephibosheth and members of Saul’s household were well-cared for because of David’s covenant to Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1, 2 Samuel 9).
Who will benefit in the future from your covenant today?