Friday, March 19, 2010

Promise Keeper Or Promise Breaker?

Last fall our family took a three day vacation to Cape May, NJ. We had very generous friends who let us use their beach house free of charge. The economy  has hit our house just like everyone else, and this was only way we could afford a much needed vacation. Everything we did was free except one lighthouse that we visited.

My kids really wanted to rent bikes and ride through out Cape May. We just could not afford to do it at that time. I told them that before it got cold, we would go to Ocean City, closer to our home, and rent bikes and ride there. I promised them.

I made a covenant agreement with them.

I did not keep it. Things happened and we just were not able to do it.

While my children understood, they were still are disappointed.They also know that mom doesn't always keep her promises.

That thought saddens me. I let my kids down. My integrity has dropped a rung with them. It hurts.

Good thing God is not like me. Our God is a God of covenants. And better still, He has never broken a promise. This promise-keeping God shows His grace in this way.

Noah had a promise made to him by God,
Genesis 9:8-17
  God also said to Noah and his sons,
  "I am going to make my promise to you, your descendants,
  and every living being that is with you-birds, domestic animals, and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ship-every living thing on earth.
 I am making my promise to you. Never again will all life be killed by flood waters. Never again will there be a flood that destroys the earth."
God said, "This is the sign of the promise I am giving to you and every living being that is with you for generations to come.
  I will put my rainbow in the clouds to be a sign of my promise to the earth.
  Whenever I form clouds over the earth, a rainbow will appear in the clouds.
  Then I will remember my promise to you and every living animal. Never again will water become a flood to destroy all life.
  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember my everlasting promise to every living animal on earth."
  So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the promise I am making to all life on earth."
The interesting thing about this promise is that it was not only made for Noah and his family but for all his descendants too. Guess who you and I are? That's right! We are Noah's descendants! That promise is for us. We still see the sign of the promise after every rain in the sky. After all these years God has still kept that promise.

Lawrence Richards writes, " A biblical covenant is a clear statement of God's purposes and intentions expressed in terms that bind God by solemn oath to perform what He has promised."

In the covenant that God made with Moses, we have God's law. He gave Israel a set of laws to live by. Here is God's agreement with them,

Exodus 19:1-6
Two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they came to the desert of Sinai.
  Israel had moved from Rephidim and had come into the desert of Sinai. They had set up camp there in front of the mountain.
  Then Moses went up the mountain to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, "This is what you must say to the descendants of Jacob. Tell the Israelites,
  'You have seen for yourselves what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to my mountain.
  If you carefully obey me and are faithful to the terms of my promise, then out of all the nations you will be my own special possession, even though the whole world is mine.
  You will be my kingdom of priests and my holy nation.' These are the words you must speak to the Israelites."

In a nutshell it says; obey my voice and keep my commands and God will make them a special people, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
The agreement or covenant was Israelites obey, God Blesses.

God kept His bargain, the Israelites, not so much. They turned from God and they got into all kinds of trouble.
But our loving and gracious God did not forsake His people.
In comes Jeremiah, and He says this;

Jeremiah 31:31-34
  "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new promise to Israel and Judah.
  It will not be like the promise that I made to their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of Egypt. They rejected that promise, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD.
 "But this is the promise that I will make to Israel after those days," declares the LORD: "I will put my teachings inside them, and I will write those teachings on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
  No longer will each person teach his neighbors or his relatives by saying, 'Know the LORD.' All of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me," declares the LORD, "because I will forgive their wickedness and I will no longer hold their sins against them."

The old covenant was the law and even when man chose to turn from God, God's grace still remained. God made that covenant to show us how much we needed the second covenant.
You do know that is the promise Jeremiah is talking about above in that scripture, right?
"because I will forgive their wickedness and I will no longer hold their sins against them." 
That is a picture of the grace of God.  While we are turning away from Him, He is putting the plan in place that will bring us back to Him.

God has never broken a promise. That is the very nature of God that shines out grace all over us every moment of our lives.

Rest in His grace. Rest in His promises. Be filled.

Then shine His grace on everyone you meet.

Chasing Their Hearts,

Glenda Johnson

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