January 1, 2020
God Keeps God’s Promises
January 1, 2020
Today, while we sign contracts to bind an agreement, in Biblical times, people shed blood to make a covenant to bind an agreement. The word covenant comes from a word meaning “to cut.”
In Biblical times, if two people made an agreement, they made a cut on their wrists and then shook hands with blood intermingling. The intent of this ritual was, “I will defend this agreement with my life. If I break it, I shall die.” Thus, this is also the beginning of our modern day handshake.
The Biblical word “witness” is the same as “martyr.” A witness sharing a testimony raised a cut hand with blood flowing, meaning, “What I speak is the truth and I defend it with my life.” This is the origin of oath in court. Leaders raise their hand for the same reason taking an oath of office.
In Genesis 15, Abraham cuts the sacrificial animals in half, then goes to sleep. In his dream, Abram sees a torch representing God walking between the halves. God made an oath to Abram, “I will be your God and you shall be my people.” Later through Jesus, God defended his covenant with his life.
This past Sunday we celebrated Covenant Sunday. No blood is involved. Jesus took care of that. God keeps God’s promises to us. Today is a chance to recommit our promises to God.
This is The Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition. It is a powerful prayer to memorize. You can memorize it easily by memorizing two lines a day:
The Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
Questions for the Field
- What are some of the contracts you’ve signed during your life? Have you kept your agreements?
- What are some agreements God made with you during your life? Has God kept them?
- What agreements have you made with God during your life? Have you kept them?
- What new promises do you need to make to God?
Family Field Talk
- What promises have you, as parents, made to your children?
- What promises have you made to your parents?
- Are there any new promises you need to make to each other today?
- Are there any promises we need to make as a family to God?
- Please consider the possibility of memorizing The Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition as a family.
Lord, Jesus Christ, You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Your promised love never ends. Your presence is with us now. Lord, help us to live in your promised love. Help us share this love. Lord, we break promises to you all the time when we sin, yet your promise of forgiveness is still there. Lord, help me live in your love such that we sin less and grow in your promised love, and thus keep our promises. In your gracious name I pray. Amen.