Posted in Consistent Faithfulness

Consistent Faithfulness

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Are we true to our word only when someone is looking or when the outcome is most important to us?

Can God say we are consistently faithful? The following story reveals the importance of consistent faithfulness.
  
  
Promotion in the Most Unlikely of Circumstances (Story)

Jeremy was an actor, singer, and pianist. He was looking for work and accepted a gig with a traveling drama troupe.

The pay was the lowest he had ever been offered and the most challenging. He had to sing a piece in French, a language he was unfamiliar with.

Though many of the other artists and actors spent time complaining about the low pay, long hours, and lack of quality in the script this man determined early in his career that he would always do his best.

The play ran for five nights. Unfortunately, the play received poor attendance and poor reviews. On the last night of the play, many of the actors were obviously not caring and not doing their best. Jeremy on the other hand, put his whole heart into his role.

A few days after the final performance, Jeremy received a call from a talent scout who happened to attend the play’s last performance. The talent scout was so impressed with Jeremy’s performance that he hired Jeremy for a lead role. Jeremy received ten times more money than he had received for his previous role and gained nation-wide recognition.

* * *

God will allow our commitments and words to be tested when seemingly no one is looking or cares.

It will not be to defeat us, but will often be to support our promotion or to uncover sin in our lives.

Consider the following scriptures regarding the need to be faithful under testing:

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. (Luke 16:10)

Remember the Lord corrects those he loves. Proverbs 3:12 reads, “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” When our deficiencies are revealed to us, the temptation will be to rationalize our issues away in pride and even blame others.

The devil will want you to run away from God and His presence. He would want you to feel condemned and turn to ungodly systems of relief. This is not God’s way. In fact, God’s word tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1a).

The Holy Spirit convicts us (John 16:8) of sin in order to restore us and bring us ever closer to Him. This is the nature of God’s love.

Ask the Holy Spirit to probe your heart and reveal to you the falsehood that lies therein (Romans 8:27).

God wants you to come to Him in humility and confess your shortcomings to Him.

First John 1:9 reads, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Rejoice and be thankful to God even when you fall short because God loves you and it’s an opportunity to empty out those areas of your life that are full of junk.

The Apostle Paul instructs us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Ask God for a wise and understanding heart in order to fulfill your commitments. God gives wisdom liberally (James 1:5). Praise Him. God inhabits our praises (Psalm 22:3).

Commitments and covenants are serious business.

A marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is a covenant. A covenant is a powerful way to stay accountable and to say, “I love you.”

If a covenant is kept holy and full of agape love, it is tremendously powerful and blessed. Agape is a Greek word that describes the highest form of love. It is an unconditional God-kind of love. It is the kind of love that says, “No matter how you respond to me or what happens, I still love you.”

You can have full assurance from God that nothing will separate you from His love.

Romans 8:37-40 reads, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This is all true, but we still need to realize that God is bound by the terms of the covenant. In other words, if we don’t fulfill our end of the covenant we will miss blessings set aside for us and face the consequences of our decisions. This is why the Lord is so against divorce. The exception Jesus gives for divorce is sexual unfaithfulness (Matthew 19:9).

Forming a Covenant

In the Old Testament days, communities often formed covenants. One community might be talented at farming and herding. Another community might be talented at military defense.

The community talented at supplying food could then form a blood covenant with the military defense community. If there was a famine in the land then the community talented at supplying food would distribute food to the military community.

If there was war in the land then the military community would protect the farming and herding community. This was a complimentary relationship that enabled the survival of both communities.

A blood covenant was so serious that it could mean death for community members who didn’t keep their end of the covenant. We always have confidence that God will keep His part of the covenant. Psalm 89:34 reads, “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.”

The blood covenant ceremony expressed the seriousness of the covenant and the profound oneness that was being formed. Some or all of the following stages can be found in the forming of a blood covenant.

1. Initial Meeting – Bread and Wine

A man who desired to form a blood covenant with another man would send forth his chief servant for an initial meeting. The servant would bring bread and wine to this meeting. The bread represented his master’s body. The wine represented his master’s blood. If the covenant candidate received the bread and wine by eating and drinking them, the other man’s servant would pronounce a blessing upon him.

Chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians sheds light on our covenant with Jesus.

First Corinthians 11:24-26 reads, “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’” (1 Cor. 11:24-25)

2. Exchange of Names

The exchange of names signifies the covenant partners’ oneness and the right to use the other covenant partner’s name. One belief is that when God changed Abram’s (exalted father) name to Abraham (father of a multitude) and Sarai (contentious) to Sarah (princess), God gave part of His name to them. Consider Genesis 17:5, 15. The letter “h” added to Abram and Sarai is part of the Lord’s name “Yahweh”.

Genesis 17:2-6 AMP reads, “And I will make My covenant (solemn pledge) between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly. Then Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, as for Me, behold, My covenant (solemn pledge) is with you, and you shall be the father of many nations. Nor shall your name any longer be Abram [high, exalted father]; but your name shall be Abraham [father of a multitude], for I have made you the father of many nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful and I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

Following are a few scriptures that support the notion of God and man exchanging names.

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. (Isaiah 49:16)

I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:12b)

They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4)

A shocking reality is that the antichrist or beast will insist that his name be written on complying people as a covenant action.

Revelation 14:9-10 AMP reads, “Then another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a mighty voice, Whoever pays homage to the beast and his statue and permits the [beast’s] stamp (mark, inscription) to be put on his forehead or on his hand, he too shall [have to] drink of the wine of God’s indignation and wrath, poured undiluted into the cup of His anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”

3. Exchange of Clothing and Armor

Covenant partners will often exchange clothing to show they will be a covering for each other. They may also exchange armor and/or weapons to demonstrate that they will defend each other.

First Samuel 18:3-4 reads, “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.”

4. Heralding the Terms, Blessings, and Curses of a Covenant

In Old Testament days when two people entered into a covenant often they would cut a sacrificial animal in half and lay the two halves of the animal on the ground with a space between them.

At night time the covenant partners would walk a figure eight around the divided sacrifice carrying a torch. As they walked around the divided sacrifice they would blow the ram’s horn and announce the blessings and curses of the covenant. The type of covenant just described was performed between Abraham and God. The difference was that only God passed through the divided sacrifice. It is believed that the exclusion of Abraham from the walk through the divided sacrifice meant it was an unconditional covenant that God would keep no matter what.

Genesis 15:17 reads, “And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces.”

An example of the blessing of a covenant can be seen in the covenant relationship between Jonathan (Saul’s son) and David.

Despite the crippled state of Mephibosheth (Jonathan’s son), David still took care of Mephibosheth after Johnathan’s death. David restored Saul’s land to him and invited him to eat at his table always (2 Samuel 9:6-8).

The covenant David made with Jonathan transcended barriers of death and Mephibosheth’s inadequacy to repay King David.

Do we consistently keep our commitments and covenants regardless of the circumstances or when others are looking?

Do not delay to be faithful, but always diligent. Remember, great harvest awaits the consistently faithful in Christ.

- Bruce Koch

Additional Articles
To read additional articles please go to http://www.gospeltramway.com.

Bibliography

Hubbard, R. Dean, Letter to Israel
Published by Creation House
Copyright © 2006

Published 2013 by Gospel Tramway, Georgetown, TX
Copyright © 2013, Bruce Koch. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Bible.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture(s) marked AMP are from The Amplified Bible ®. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ® and The Zondervan Corporation. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.

Scripture(s) marked NIV are from The Holy Bible, New International Version ®.
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

To God be all honor, glory, and praise. Visit our Web site at http://www.gospeltramway.com. For questions or comments, email Bruce Koch at gospeltramway@gmail.com.

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