Weddings, God and Covenants

As we move into the season of summer we also move into the season of weddings.  For the past few years I have had a couple of weddings on my calendar each summer.  This past weekend my wife and I attended a wedding and in a couple of weeks I will be performing one. I know of the three other weddings in our immediate sphere of relationships that will take place this summer.  Summer seems to be synonymous with weddings.

As I think about weddings, especially as I officiate any of them, I think of the word covenant.  When a man and a woman stand together on their wedding day, they are entering into a covenant.  There is a difference between a contract and a covenant.

The world in which we live in operates by contract relationships:  I am going to give you certain things in exchange for something else.  If I give you those things, you are obligated to provide certain things to me.  If you break your end of the contract, then I’m able to simply walk away from our agreement.

If I live by a covenant, it’s different.  Even when you don’t keep up your end of the bargain, I continue to be faithful to the relationship.

I was reminded of the idea of covenant as I have been reading the book Do Your Children Believe? Author Terence Chatmon talks about the idea of covenant and how God shows us what it looks like to keep a covenant.  He writes this in one of the later chapters:

“. . . as you read the grand sweep of the Bible – God’s covenants with Adam, with Noah, with Abraham, with Moses, with David – you keep seeing this theme emerge.  His people forget what He’s done for them. His people are contentious and inconsistent. His people sometimes even stumble into outright rebellion . . . yet He keeps reaching out and redeeming a remnant.  He never stops seeking His people.  He always remains faithful to His covenant.”

It’s a beautiful picture of our Heavenly Father and a great picture for a marriage relationship.  To never stop seeking.  To always remain faithful.  Even when the other blows it.

What a good reminder for those who are getting married.

For those who are already married.

For all those who are contentious, inconsistent, even outright rebellious.

Guess that’s all of us.

“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.”
(2 Timothy 1:9)

 

Chase the Lion – Mark Batterson

chase-the-lion-mark-batterson-mobile-wallpaper-lion-and-textJust over five years ago I posted a review on Mark Batterson’s In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Last week I finished reading a follow-up to it called Chase the Lion. The newest offering used In a Pit with a Lion as a literary springboard and continued looking at Benaiah as well as several other of David’s Mighty Men written about in the Old Testament.

The byline of Chase the Lion is this: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small. Through the pages of the book Batterson refers to David’s mighty men, followers of Jesus from scripture and history and contemporary Christ followers who live out this Lion Chaser manifesto.

As I was reading the book, I would mark quotes that stood out to me and then dog-eared the page so I could find them later. Upon concluding the book, I saw that I had a number of pages with bent corners. Batterson knows how to turn a phrase and pack a punch in a sentence of two.

On page 70 he had this good reminder for those who are chasing a dream God has given them: “We overestimate what we can accomplish in a year or two, but we underestimate what God can accomplish in a decade or two. If you’re discouraged, zoom out. you can’t just dream big; you have to think long.”

Good reminder.

One of the more powerful parts of the book for me personally was near the end when he wrote about the importance of thinking long-term when it comes to the work we are doing in the kingdom of God. Sometimes (or perhaps most of the time) we think about what God is doing for us or for those around us. On page 171 Batterson wrote, “We think that what God does for us is for us, but it’s never just for us. It’s always for the third and fourth generations. We think right here, right now, but God is thinking nations and generations.”

He shared several examples how men and women who lived and served generations ago are still impacting people today. Whether is was planting a church, starting a scholarship, launching a ministry or introducing someone to Jesus, Batterson showed how God used the efforts of previous men and women to impact third and fourth generations.

What a great picture to have in mind as we serve today. To think that the work we are doing now has the potential of impacting or grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren is both humbling and inspiring.

Batterson’s encouragement throughout the book is to continue to Chase the Lion. Whatever God has called to do, our task is to remain faithful and allow Him to take care of the results.