Our society deals with agreements, arrangements, and contracts, which are simply covenants: They show two parties willing to work with one another to obtain something each party wants. A Covenant can vary from marriage vows to a 30-year mortgage or a contract to work a job for a set number of years. It could possibly be for independence or freedom, similar to our "Declaration of Independence" which we celebrate in July. They are different but are covenants.
For a covenant to occur, there have to be two things involved an offer and acceptance. A covenant is what's mentioned in the Word of God several times. Its purpose is to serve as a record of rights, responsibilities, and obligations of both parties who signed the Covenant. It explains, in detail, the duties of each party toward one another. How actions are to be performed, measured, and at times, an expiration or end date. If it's to be revised by the original creator. A Covenant is useful to remind everyone of the expectations. Most often, it's a legal Covenant. Disagreements will arise, but the Covenant helps minimize disputes based on earlier agreed-upon terms.
II Chronicles 7:14 mentions a Covenant that God accepted from Solomon. Solomon actually initiated/offered to God a Covenant. II Chronicles 6:1-42 is God's response to Solomon’s offer. But God added additional things he wanted within the Covenant concerning Solomon and consequences (if He were to turn away and forsake his commandments). Solomon's initial offer only included the people he was leading. II Chronicles 7:14 says,
"If My People which are called by My Name shall Humble themselves and Pray and Seek my face and Turn from their wicked ways Then will I Hear from Heaven and will Forgive their Sin and Will Heal their Land."
We are his people, we are the Bride of Christ, the Church! When we Heard the Word spoke (Rom 10:17), when we Believed the Word Heard (John 20:29,31), when we Repented of our sins ( Luke 15:7), when we confessed Jesus to others (Luke 12:8-9), when we take action and be Baptized in his Name (Acts 2:38). Through this plan of salvation, we have access to God and his Covenants.
Throughout the Word of God, He has made a Covenant with Man. Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David, are all of the Old Covenant in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ the Messiah New Covenant in the New Testament. It's been God's desire and plan to dwell with Man, be in Covenant with him, and for Man to live forever with Him, like Him. He mentions this in Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 2:16,17 and 22. In these passages, He mentions living forever and the "Tree of Life". But when man disobeyed, it caused a separation, and God altered His plan. There has been a longing for this connection. Solomon as a leader, prayed and offered a Covenant to God in II Chronicles 6:1-42. He projected his prayer/offer to God not just for the present time but the future of many, many generations to come.
Solomon's key point in his offer was, first, reverence God. He recognized who God was and that He does keep his covenants. Second, he reminded God of His promises made to his father David. Third, he asked God to listen to his cry, see his supplication, and look upon him, for he had an offer to submit. 4th, he prayed for the neighbor that his people would sin against. Fifth, Solomon knew his people; he prayed for them when they sinned against God. Sixth, he prayed for the elements in the atmosphere when Heaven would shut up, and no rain fell because of the sins of the people. Seventh, Solomon prayed for the land, pestilence, mildew, caterpillars, burdens of the people, and sickness. Eighth, he prayed for the strangers who would come from afar and pray to God. Ninth, he prayed for war; if they would go out to war, which God had sent them, they would maintain their cause and not be overtaken. All of these offers were conditional based upon if they did something in return. If they turned, confessed His name, prayed and made supplication, then God would do His part.
Solomon's prayer ended with reminding God of his Father David, whom He anointed, and the mercies shown his father ( II Samuel 7:10-17). He then asks God to open His eyes to the needs that He hears, and be attentive to his prayer. He asks God to arise and go into the dwelling place he's prepared for Him (do we have a place in our homes where He can dwell and meet you there?)
God’s response to Solomon's covenant offer is found in II Chronicles 7:12-22.
I will do my part if you will keep yours. If you break a covenant, consequences are listed.
God responded to Solomon with I will accept: IF you're humble, praying, seeking and if you turn around. Humble is submitting yourself to someone who is either higher or lower in status than yourself. If you're in a position of power and authority, you know who you are, and what you're capable of doing in certain circumstances Jesus did this in Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 14:60-62, John 18:35-36.
God humbled himself in John 1:1, 10,13,14. One of the fruits of the spirit is meekness, which is gentile or mild even in a position of Power and Authority.
God responded to Solomon with I will accept: If you're praying. It's a commandment of God, and it's God's way of intervention on earth (it happened with Daniel). Action took place when he prayed (Daniel 10:12), but the answer was delayed (Daniel 10:13). Praying communes/communicates with God, it goes back to Genesis. The beginning (Genesis 3:8-11) is when God talked with Adam. Verse 11 reads,
"And he said, who told thee that thou wast naked?"
In other words, WHO TOLD YOU that I would NOT keep MY WORD? MY COVENANT? Our adversary will get you to doubt/question what God told you. Only look for and listen to the voice of God and when he speaks. Obey, trust, and GO!
God was transitioning things from the Old Testament (Covenant) to the New Testament (Covenant). On the mountain of configuration, when he took Peter, James, and John, his brother, to the mountain, He spoke with Moses (Old Testament) and Elijah (New Testament) concerning what was to come. Part of the armour of God, Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:18 to pray for the saints, always watching with perseverance-intensity, pursing, and supplication--sitting, meditating, and waiting.
God responded to Solomon with I will accept: if you seek me first.
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:3
God has been seeking us and pursuing us, He wants us to seek and pursue Him. God has been seeking us from Genesis until now and came among us because of his Love and a covenant he's agreed to keep. In acceptance of Solomon's offer, he wants us to seek him 1st, and as a King as Abba Father, he will provide Everything we need. He keeps his covenant. We have to continually do our part.
God's final response to Solomon is I will accept: if you turn, move in a different direction don't keep going in the same direction of sin. He used a stronger word, wickedness which means unpredictable, frightening, destructive, and volatile. Everything that's opposite of the fruits of the spirit, Love, Joy, Peace, Gentleness, Meekness, Temperance, Long Suffering, Faith, Goodness. These are all His attributes. Finally, God said, if you humble yourself to Me, seek only Me first, pray, speak to Me, listen to Me, and turn from wrong things, this is what I will do; I will hear from heaven, I'll forgive your sins and heal your land. He shows mercy and grace, is very loving and quick to forgive, and with that forgiveness comes healing and restoring, making one whole, and new.
"If a man be in Christ, he is a new creation behold old things are passed away.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Finally, one of God's love languages is obedience.
Historically this month of July, we celebrate Independence Day. When the Declaration of Independence was signed on 7-2-1776, announcing America's colonies separating from Great Britain, the birth of America's Independence. However, spiritually God makes, keeps, and reveals his covenant with us. We are his people!
"WE THE PEOPLE" make a declaration this day to Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior; where there is no God like thee in Heaven nor in the Earth which keepest Covenant and shewest mercy unto Thy servants that walk before Thee with ALL their Hearts. (II Chronicle 6:14) Because You're the Covenant Keeping God!
“You'll Never leave me
You said that you won’t forsake me
You're right beside me, and that is all that matters!
The Sun won’t spite me
and the Moon it will not hurt me,
The flood won’t sweep me, the Lord is my anchor!
You're the Covenant Keeping God!”
- Phoebe Boggs
Phoebe is a valued member of Refuge Church. You can rely on her when she says she'll pray for you. She knows how to touch the Throne of Grace. She serves in many vital roles and makes Refuge a place of love and acceptance!