The Covenant That Can Undergird the StatesmanDownload a PDF of this essay
The God Who created us is a covenant-keeping God. Covenant, first of all, describes the unchangeable partnership between an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Creator and finite man. The covenant nature of our God is of utmost value because in covenant, we can know what to expect of each party – for example, God and man. I raise this issue because the secular drift of our world lures us away from the power of this covenant between God and man. That covenant is beautifully laid out in Psalm 91:
1 The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague. 4 He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. 5 You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, 6 the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. 8 You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the Lord—my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place, 10 no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. 11 For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. 12 They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent. 14 Because he is lovingly devoted to Me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows My name. 15 When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. 16 I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation.
Upon careful inspection, we see that there are two roles described – ours and God’s. What do we learn about these two roles in this passage?
Our Part. Our responsibility in this covenant relationship is described by these phrases:
The one who lives under the protection of the Most High (v. 1);
[The one who] will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (v. 2);
Because you have made the Lord—my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place (v. 9);
Because he is lovingly devoted to Me (v. 14);
When he calls out to Me (v.15).
These phrases describe the things we must do as a part of this partnership to avail ourselves of the benefits of this covenant: live under His protection, make God our refuge and fortress, fully trust in Him, devote ourselves in love to Him, and call out to Him.
God’s Part. Let us look at what God commits Himself to in this partnership in response to our acting as described above:
He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague (v. 3);
He will cover you with His feathers (v. 4);
His faithfulness will be a protective shield (v. 4);
You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon (vv. 5-6);
Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you (v. 7);
No harm will come to you (v. 10);
No plague will come near your tent (v. 10);
For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone (vv. 11-12);
You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent (v. 13).
It is interesting to note that these are all described in the third person, as seen through the eyes of an objective observer. However, then, God becomes very personal and speaks in the first person, describing His role in the covenant:
I will deliver him (v. 14);
I will protect him (v. 14);
I will answer him (v. 15);
I will be with him in trouble (v. 15);
I will rescue him (v. 15);[I will] give him honor (v. 15);
I will satisfy him with a long life (v. 16);[I will] show him My salvation (v. 16).
The intimacy expressed by God emphasizes the seriousness and strength of His commitment to this covenant. This should be a tremendous encouragement to us as we seek to trust Him in this partnership. In this covenantal agreement, there are a few things we must do – basically placing ourselves in our loving Father’s protective care. In response, He commits to envelop us within His protection as we live and operate within that sphere of His protection.
Application to Our Lives as Human Beings. The reality of this covenant makes little sense apart from a powerful truth:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power (1 Corinthians 4:20).
It is only as we grow in our understanding of His power displayed on our behalf in the 21st century that this covenant makes sense. If we are not yet able to trust Him for this power, let us remember His challenge to us with our human limitations:
“Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure” (Malachi 3:10).
Let us begin with the smallest amount of trust that we can exercise, perhaps when we have no other place to turn, and test to see if He will not respond to us.
Application to the Life of the Statesman. The actions of the Statesman are filled with risk – political risk as well as the many other risks of being human. This covenant between God and man guarantees that He will care for us as we encounter these risks. As we step through each day and all of life, we can know that He is working on behalf of us with His invisible hand in ways we will not even understand until we stand before Him, but which we can be sure of, even though we cannot see Him with physical eyes. It does not mean we will always be free from troubles, but it does mean we can always have the peace of knowing He is caring for us. Let us refresh our commitment to Him each morning and each moment. And let us do everything we can to get to know more intimately the Author of this covenant.