Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Irreconcilable Differences - Compromise vs. Covenant

A noncommittal view defines many modern attitudes. Establishing promises happens easily, accomplishing promises happens rarely. Guarantees contain fine print, usually meaning a broken contract. If a “sweeter” deal exists after an initial agreement, usually disagreements ensue, compromises occur, and standards depreciate. Face it—humans make concessions. 

Our lack of commitment contrasts with a devoted God. He is in truth a covenant God—a deal-maker, not a deal-breaker. He created us in His image, but when sin entered the Garden of Eden, He set forth a plan to save mankind. He accomplished His objective through His Son, Jesus Christ. He committed to the process of salvation long before Christ’s entry onto earth, through His reentry into heaven, and up to the present. Face it—God is faithful!

Not every time, but for the most part compromise feels cheap and strips away foundations of truth. Standing on middle ground rarely creates contentment for either side. The Lord speaks about dying to convictions and becoming lukewarm. He says, “I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). Compromise can be an abysmal place.

On the other hand, covenant binds with security. It’s a clincher, decisively settling the matter. Nations make treaties, individuals make pledges, but God makes covenant, one covenant. His covenant is binding from beginning to eternity. Nations and people may renege on their agreements, but God never defaults on His promises, holding faithfully to His everlasting covenant. 

Through the ages pacts and pledges sometimes involved blood-letting, including even death to the deal-breaker. To better understand the courage of covenant and the collapse of compromise, read below from the book of Genesis. Pay close attention to God’s promise to Abraham, His presentation of sacrifice in a dream, and the voice Abraham obeys. 

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying,

“Do not fear, Abram,
I am a shield to you;
Your reward shall be very great.”

Abram said, “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. And He said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” He said, “O Lord God, how may I know that I will possess it?” So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying,

“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.” 
(15:1-21 NASB)

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence. (16:1-6 NASB)

What did God promise Abram (later known as Abraham)? What did Abraham ask of God? How would the childless Abraham have many descendants? Where would they live? If Abraham believed God, why did he ask for proof of possession of the land? How did God demonstrate His faithfulness through the sacrifice? Was He foreshadowing a future event? With all that God guaranteed him, why did Abraham listen to his wife Sarai (later known as Sarah)? Did he compromise the promise of God?

Consider the answers to these questions and return next week for more about the irreconcilable differences of compromise and covenant. In the meantime, turn away from sin and be reconciled to God (Matthew 5:24, 2 Corinthians 5:20, Colossians 1:22). Praise His holy Name!

by Robert Robinson, 1758

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away.
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.   

To understand more deeply the lyrics of this old hymn, go to - 

Praise the Lord with the David Crowder Band - 

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