Covenants, vows and promises
There are over 7 000 promises in the Bible. Many people made vows but God only established a few covenants with people. Here are some insights into these three dimensions of God’s dealings with humanity.
There are promises of salvation, healing, deliverance, prosperity, protection and guidance. Jesus was the promised Seed of Abraham (Gal 3:16) and the Holy Spirit was the promised blessing (Luke 24:49/ Acts 1:4)
Heb 11:11 – God is faithful to keep His promises
II Cor 1:20 – All the promises of God are yea and amen
II Pet 1:4 – Great and faithful promises
Heb 6:12 – Inherit the promises through faith and patience
Vows are made in moments of crisis or need. Pastor Grobler (my brother-in-law’s father) fell into a burning oven in a copper mine in Zambia and lay dying of 3 degree burns when he made a vow to God if God would spare his life that he would go into the full time ministry. I ministered in his AFM church in Witbank. I made a vow to God in 12 December 1971 on a snow-covered hillside in Leimbach, Switzerland, that I would serve God and humanity as long as God spared my life and kept me healthy.
Ps 22:25 – Praise God in the great congregation and pay my vows before those who fear Him
Ps 56: 12, 13 – Binding vows – delivered from death & falling
Ps 57:2 – I will cry out to God who performs all things for me
Jacob: made a vow to give a tithe to the Lord – Joshua: me and my house shall serve the Lord – Samson: vow of the Nazarite not to drink strong drink and not to cut his hair – Ruth: as sure as the Lord lives I will not leave nor forsake you: your God will be my God and your people my people – Hannah: made a vow if God gave her a son that she would raise him for the ministry (my Mom made that vow before I was born) – Jonathan: made a vow to David and asked David to vow to look after his children – Mephibosheth as a cripple from the line of Jonathan and David took him into the palace and cared for him.
Bereeth in Hebrew – cutting in the flesh – circumcision as a sign of the Old Covenant. New Covenant is in the blood of Jesus that He shed for us on Calvary – we no longer have to be circumcised in the flesh to belong to God but we are circumcised by faith in our hearts to be true Jews. (Rom 2:29) A covenant puts you into a different league – a selected agreement between two parties –
Gen 6:8 – Noah
Gen 15 -17 – Abraham
Gen 17:21 -27 – Isaac
Gen 28: 13-15 – Jacob
I Kings 18:21 – David
God’s offer demands a personal response. The offer comes at a point of need or weakness e.g. Abraham & Sarah (Gen 17) barren, unknown, no future – want to amount to something in this life.
The covenant is a turning point – leave land of unbelief behind and enter the promised land of faith – agree with God and obey him and do something about your situation – God says: ‘I will establish my covenant between me and you – give you a name – protect you – provide for you – bless you so that you may be a blessing to others (nations) – give new courage for old ideas – bless your children and your children’s children after you.
We enter the New Covenant through faith in Christ – just like Abraham believed and it was accounted to him for righteousness.