First Friday Fasting and Prayer
May 6, 2011
ĚThis is what the LORD says: The wise must not boast in his wisdom; the mighty must not boast in his might; the rich must not boast in his riches. But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me--that I am the LORD, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the LORD's declaration.Ě Jeremiah 9:23-24
God is a covenant God and He does nothing apart from His Covenant. The customs of the Covenant paint a beautiful picture of GodĚs great love for man, awakening man to voluntarily live for God, fully confident of GodĚs power and obligation to fulfill His Covenant promises. Do you see His love and how intimately He wants you to know Him?
Starting in June we will look at the Old and New Testament Covenants between God and man. His love covenant proves He loves us and wants to bless us and He extends this covenant to all who want to enter into it.
Points to Ponder and Pray: Thumb-nail sketch of the Covenant Customs
A Walk Unto Death - Typically both covenant partners would take a ĚWalk unto DeathĚ, described as walking between the sacrificed and split carcasses in a figure eight pattern, binding them for eternity. The dead carcasses represent what will happen to whoever breaks the covenant. Yet, when God cuts His covenant with Abram (Genesis 15), it is only God who takes that walk to death, not the two of them, for Abram slept. God unilaterally commits Himself to fulfill His promises.to Abram, and all his seed, without any binding conditions on AbramĚĚs part.
Exchanging Robes - The two covenant partners would exchange their robes, symbolically showing the two become one with all the rights and responsibilities that go with the owners of the clothing. When Jonathan cuts a covenant with David, they no longer lived an independent life, but lived for the other.
- The walk represents a dying to self, giving up of our own rights, and beginning a new life with our covenant partner, unto death. Have you made the covenant walk unto death with Jesus, where you continually die to self, and living for Him (Romans 12:1-2)? Ask God to fill you with Holy Spirit, so you can die to self, and live to Honor God with your time, talent and treasures.
- Jesus was the blood sacrifice on the cross in which God demonstrates His ultimate love for us. If you have accepted GodĚs New Covenant, through the blood of Jesus, but have not taken the walk unto death, dying to self, crucifying your fleshly desires (Gal. 2:19-21; 5:24), then take the time to recommit to this covenant with God.
Jesus put on our identity when He came to this earth by putting on our human form (Hebrews 2:14-17), He came to die in our place, putting on our sins and paying the penalty for them. Likewise, when we repent from our sins, turning away from them, and accept His sacrifice for our sins, we enter into a New Covenant of Grace with Him. At that point, our lives are changed and we take on a new identity, enabling us to live radically changed lives as we experience the adventures of walking in the power of His Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
Exchanging Armour - Jonathan and David also exchanged their bow and the belt that held their weapons (I Sam. 18:4). This signified that the covenant partner was taking on the enemies of the other. If one was in trouble, the other was obligated to come to their aid. God unilaterally expressed the same idea with Abram when He told Abram not to fear, for He would BE his shield (Genesis 15:1).
Blood Brothers. - What God has joined together, man cannot separate. The covenant custom of making a cut on the arms of the covenant partners, then placing the two cuts together as they allow the blood to flow between the two, symbolizes the two partners becoming one. Dirt was poured into the scar which seals that permanent relationship between the two parties and serves as a constant reminder of the covenant.
If youĚve accepted ChristĚs blood sacrifice for your sin, you received the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of this New Covenant of promise ( Eph. 1:14). The Holy Spirit bears witness that you are GodĚs child (Romans 8:16) by marking GodĚs ownership on your life (I Cor. 6:19-20). Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, the deeds of the flesh are put to death (Romans 8:13-14). Are you living a victorious Christian life through the power of the Holy Spirit?
Exchanging Names - Through the giving of new names, the two covenant partners testify they no longer live for themselves, but rather for their partners. God changed AbramĚs name to reflect the growing nature and blessings of the covenant commitment. He was GodĚs friend (James 2:23). Abraham and Sarah were now partners with their covenant God. GodĚs name was changed too, for after this event, He was referred to as ĚThe God of AbrahamĚ (Acts 7:32). Jesus took on our name, ĚSon of ManĚ (Matthew 8:20), to reflect the commitment to His New Covenant of blood relationship with His followers. His followers take on His name, Christian. Seek God so you can serve Him through His plans for you.
The Memorial Meal - The memorial meal completes the covenant union. Christians celebrate the completion of the New Covenant of Grace through the memorial meal, known as the communion ritual, where the blood and flesh are represented by the wine and bread. It is a meal to remember ChristĚs great sacrifice on our behalf. Soon, all believers will feast at the greatest covenant meal ever served, the marriage supper of the Lamb. Christ has paid the dowry with His blood, and will soon return and gather His expectantly watching and waiting bride (the church) and will take her to the marriage supper of the Lamb where He tenderly wipes away our tears (Isaiah 25:6-8)!
Have you been united with Him, and willing to totally give yourself to Him? Do you realize He has totally given Himself to you and loves you so much? Have you been living in His plans, promises, and power? Are you waiting expectantly for His return? Entering into GodĚs Covenant transforms lives!
Maranatha! The Master is coming back soon!
Are you ready? Is your family ready?