Random House Dictionary defines covenant as “an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.” In ecclesiastical terms covenant is defined as “a solemn agreement between the members of a church to act together in harmony with the precepts of the gospel.”
Our nation was founded upon covenants, the first and lasting one being the Mayflower Compact. You will read in this compact that the Pilgrims, devout Christians lead by William Bradford, recognized that they had “undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid…”
The Pilgrims had developed their own governing document on how to live amongst each other and that their main purpose was to advance the gospel. They knew that with freedom came responsibility. The Mayflower Compact would act as an example for the rest of the colonies that would follow suit in designing their own covenants. Revisionist historians who try to perpetrate the lie that America was not founded on Christian principles, never go back further than 1776 because then history will not support their template.
The covenant is a biblical principle that was instituted by God and whenever revival came to Israel they would covenant with God and themselves to live lives pleasing to the Lord. The Remnant that returned to Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time was no different.
“’And because of all this, we make a sure covenant and write it; our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it’…Now those who placed their seal on the document were:” (Nehemiah 9:38 – 10:1a)
Beginning with Nehemiah’s name, verses 1b – 27 of chapter 10 lists the names of those who sealed the document made as “a binding agreement, putting it in writing…” as the NIV renders Nehemiah 9:38. Why did they make this covenant? To live pure and holy lives:
“Now the rest of the people—the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding—these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes: We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons; if the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt.” (Nehemiah 10:28-31)
Who made the covenant? Those who knew and understood God’s Word; those who were able to understand the commitment they were making. THAT right there is the key and the underlying problem with American Christendom today; the Church as a corporate body does not know or understand God’s Word. Why? Three reasons…
1) The majority of pulpits across America do not approach preaching the same way the Apostle Paul did:
“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.” (1 Corinthians 9:16-17)
2) If pastors do try to preach the Word too many so-called Christians rebel and do not want to hear the Gospel Truth:
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:2-4)
3) This is most important; we as Christians approach the Bible and prayer with prideful and lustful hearts:
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?’” (James 4:1-5)
When revival comes it will come after we purpose in our hearts to know and understand God’s will for our lives. And when revival comes then we will covenant with God to obey His commands and to live by the ordinances established by the authorities placed in position by God’s sovereign hand.
Can you just imagine what a revival of this magnitude would accomplish?
Can you see it in your mind’s eye?
Will you begin to pray for it?
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