Yesterday, I ended on the note:
If we cannot rule ourselves, and if we cannot get along with others, then how can we ever be entrusted to rule people who have been devasted and traumatized by the events we see in the Book of Revelation?
Yesterday’s article concentrated on the first aspect about ruling ourselves. But, what of the second, getting along with others?
That had been weighing on my mind most of the day yesterday. One thought led to another, and then I got an email from Legacy Institute. Leon Sexton has a new video message, “Children of the Covenant – Part One: Why America is in Such Deep Trouble”. In a very real but tangential way, it struck at what was on my mind, although in a way that I’m sure Leon Sexton did not necessarily intend.
He brought up the example of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.
24And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (Genesis 32:24-26, King James Version)
Jacob would not let go! Even though this “man” threw Jacob’s thigh out of joint, which must have been pretty painful, Jacob would not let go. Jacob held fast to God (cf. v 30), or more accurately the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, until he was blessed.
Sexton also pointed out the difference between Jacob and Esau in that Esau sold his birthright. Esau sold the tremendous blessings that were promised to Abraham and Isaac. In contrast, Jacob actively sought after and clung to his blessings.
God is a covenant God. He makes agreements with human beings. A covenant is often compared to a contract. It is an agreement between two parties. A covenant is more solemn than a contract, actually, but the comparison is not without merit. It takes two to uphold a covenant under normal circumstances.
I want you to consider that God made a covenant with Abram (later named Abraham) when He told Abram to leave Ur of the Chaldees. Terah was Abram’s father, who died in Haran (named after the father of Lot, apparently). Notice that they were already travelling to Canaan. Some have concluded that Terah was originally called from Ur but failed to follow through completely on his part of the bargain. Abram, however, does fulfill his part and leaves to wander Canaan at the command of God.
Abram had a part, and God had a part. Later, God covenanted with ancient Israel. If they would obey, then God would bless them with all sorts of blessings. Later on, God promised many of the kings the same types of blessings He bestowed upon David if they would obey.
Now, let’s not be foolish. In a normal legal contract, two parties sit down and negotiate the terms of the deal. I hope you don’t think I’m suggesting that God and we mortals are equals sitting down and negotiating deals. God sets the terms. We either accept or reject the terms. Sometimes, people reject those terms, which is the downside of free moral agency.
I am sorry if I am spelling out what many of you already know. However, I cannot assume online that everyone already knows these things. But, now it is time to turn it up a notch.
Covenants are part of life. We covenant with our mates. We covenant with God and seal it with baptism (and in turn, He seals us with the Holy Spirit).
God always keeps His end of the bargain.
31(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. (Deuteronomy 4:31, King James Version)
6Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deuteronomy 31:6, King James Version)
5There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Joshua 1:5, King James Version)
22For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. (1 Samuel 12:22, King James Version)
5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5, King James Version)
Think about why God would repeat this over and over. Could it be because Jacob clung to God and would not let go? Could the author of Hebrews be implying that we should do the same?
Even the world understands that the marriage covenant is “until death do us part.” Even the world understands the concept (even if they do not often practice it) that a man and woman should cleave together.
24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, King James Version)
They are to “cleave”, grasp ahold of, hang onto, wrestle without letting go, one another.
20Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. (Deuteronomy 10:20, King James Version)
So, there is a similarity between grasping your mate and grasping God. Indeed, the Hebrew word for “cleave” comes from the same root word as the Hebrew word for “glue”. Something to thing about.
But, this is all well and good and easy enough to understand and to say, yet it is very difficult to do, is it not?
My wife and I have had our fair share of difficulties. We have been on the brink of separation more times than I care to think about. The world’s answer to this would be to divorce and move on. What is God’s guidance on it, though? It would seem to me that it is, “Work it out. Cleave to one another. If you cannot do that, then cleave to Me and My word until you do work it out.”
Should families separate? You know, PCG really sickens me because they split up families without cause. Your mate is the only family member you get to choose, you know. You do not get to choose your mother or your father. You do not get to choose your sister or your brother. You can to some extent control the number of children you have, but in the end you get what you get. Yet, aren’t families supposed to cleave together as well?
6Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7, King James Version)
8But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8, King James Version)
4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (1 Timothy 3:4-5, King James Version)
Not to mention how many times the Bible instructs us to teach our children, rejoice at the feasts with our household, how children are a blessing from God, etc.
So, why do some want to break up the family of God? Why do some want to leave a church? Why is it that more do not cleave to the family which God is creating?
I mean, is it good to divorce your church family? Is it good to “un-cleave” from those God has set in your life?
God said He would never leave us nor forsake us. We are supposed to become more like Him everyday. How are we measuring up to His standards?