Today’s reading: Psalms 46-50.
What is a contract? An agreement between two parties with obligations and rights on each side. You pledge something, and in return you receive something else back. If you fail to keep your part of the bargain, the other party is under no obligation to continue the contract. In fact, they may have the right to sue you for breaking your agreement.
Now consider a covenant. Parents have a covenant with their children. God makes covenants with his people. Like a contract, there are obligations and rights on each side, but there is also a big difference. Covenants are based on a continuing relationship. Even when one side fails to keep their word, the relationship between the two parties continues, though with less trust and more strain.
The good news is that we don’t have to worry about God keeping his promises. The Old Testament is the history of God keeping one promise after another, even though his people were often unfaithful. Here, in Psalm 50, is another of God’s promises that we can claim today:
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me… He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:14-15, 23
Look at the terms of this promise:
- We offer thanks to God ahead of time for what he is going to do for us.
- We call on God in our day of trouble.
- God delivers us from our trouble.
- We honor God.
There may be more to that first step of ours than simply offering words of thanks. We have to sacrifice something. What do we give up? Is it something material, or is it our worry? We have to fulfill our vow of thanksgiving. I take that to mean we have to walk in faith, living as though the problem is already solved before God has taken care of it. As Manley Beasley said, “faith is the substance.” God has the substance (what we need) and we receive it from him by faith. And don’t forget that last step. Once we receive God’s deliverance, we must remember to honor him.
True Faith bids eternal truth to become present reality. Manley Beasley
You have to believe first, then receive. Christ is Lord and Master of your life and circumstances only when you believe. When you were saved, you believed and then received. It is this kind of believing that places you at His disposal where He can be God in your life. He cannot manifest Himself until you allow Him to. That is why you have to believe first and then receive. It is believing that places you at the disposal of Christ. Jesus will bow only to faith. You can beg Him all day. He does not bow to sympathy. You can bargain all day and He’ll not bargain. But He will operate when you believe. Manley Beasley
Image by thinkpanama on Flickr, CC by-nc 2.0