Suppose that you take guests into your home to live for a while in a time of need. As you show them around, you explain the rules of the household. These are rules that everyone in the home follows, and they are expected to follow these rules as they enjoy your gracious hospitality. However, it is not long before your guests begin to break the rules. You inform them that if they continue to break the rules, they will no longer be able to enjoy your hospitality. They will have to leave.

Does that sound reasonable to you? If it does, then you can also understand what God said to Moses as he made a covenant with him. God tells Moses that the words of the covenant are the Ten Commandments. God is not cutting a new covenant with Moses, but rather he is renewing the same covenant he made with Abraham. God’s original intent was that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through the covenant that God cut with man. God did not need anything we have, but he wanted a relationship with us. The Ten Commandments and all of his other rules are there only to guide us, to protect us and to help us understand God’s ways and to enjoy our covenant blessings.

Unfortunately, some people see the rules as a means of earning their own relationship with God and their own salvation. They believe that they can save themselves just by following the law. However, only the blood of Jesus saves us. Only the blood of the creator is worth all his creation. Why, then, do we so desperately try to earn our own covenant relationship with God? It is because God’s terms of covenant require us to humble ourselves, realize how weak we are, accept Jesus’ gift of salvation and be eternally grateful. Our old, selfish nature hates that. From the beginning, man has wanted to be wise and strong and to be like God, knowing good and evil. God knew this and gave man through Moses his guidelines for living in God’s house of mercy and grace. God wanted to ensure through his rules that man would enjoy all the wonderful blessings of the covenant.

The law was not intended to make us perfect or to justify us. The law was to teach us that we need God and to teach us how to walk in God’s blessings. Today many people want the blessings of being in covenant with God, but they do not want to keep his laws. For example, a man and a woman who are living together but are not married do not understand when they start to lose some of the blessings of a gracious God. Some people believe that rules are for everyone else, but not for them.

The key character trait of being in covenant with God is gratefulness and thankfulness. Whenever we begin to complain, we have forgotten the mercy covenant we have received with the God of this universe. Covenant people never complain. They understand that God has extended His mercy to them to live in His house, and they are forever grateful.

These are some reasons that God’s people do not enjoy the covenant blessings of God.

One reason is unbelief. Unbelief begins with doubt. Doubt begins when we listen to the lies of the enemy. Satan causes the problem and then blames it on God, trying to get us to doubt God. That is why we cannot even entertain doubt. We must declare the truth immediately.

Then there is unforgiveness. God will not permit unforgiveness in his children. Our covenant demands that we be forgiving people. God teaches us that if we will not forgive others, then he will not forgive us. It is one of God’s primary house rules. He will have no bitter, angry or resentful people living in his house. The joy of the lord is our strength, but our joy will be destroyed by unforgiveness, and we will have no strength against the enemy.

Making covenants with other gods. God says he is a jealous God and will not permit us to be unfaithful to him. God wants us to know up front that there will be a heavy price for unfaithfulness. We do not like to speak of the judgment of God and the consequences of sin, but these are real. There are real consequences of sin. God loves us too much to have us be unfaithful to him and still expect the blessings of God.

Not understanding God’s principles of giving. God does not want any stingy people living in his house. God wants to bless us freely with all things, and he wants us to be the same way. Covenant people do not complain, and covenant people are giving people. That is one reason God tells us to tithe 10 percent of all we earn to his house, the church. Tithing not only reminds us that everything we enjoy comes from God, but it also teaches us to give freely because God has blessed us. When we withhold our tithe out of fear, greed or the inability to trust God with our future, we only rob ourselves of God’s blessings.

 

The Rev. Rene Monette is pastor of Living Word Church, 1916 La. 311 in Schriever.