“We make a sure covenant, and write it.”– Neh_9:38.
“He is the Mediator of a better covenant.”– Heb_8:6.
IT IS good for a soul to make a covenant with God. On his twenty-third birthday Milton wrote these memorable words:
“Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me and the will of Heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Taskmaster’s eye.”
This was his covenant with God; and through all the years, now in his prime under Cromwell, and again in his lovely old age under Charles II, he never swerved from the path he had selected.
Who can forget those magnificent lines of Wordsworth, which tell how he was returning from a village merry-making, which had lasted through the night, and lo, the glory of a summer-dawn was breaking over the hills! He describes its beauty, and adds:
“Vows were made for me,
That I should be, else sinning greatly,
A dedicated spirit.”
There are certain principles outlined in these chapters in Nehemiah, which may well be included in our covenant with God:
(1) Never to allow anything in private or business life which is not in keeping with the high ideals of the Bible.
(2) To set aside a certain proportion of our income and time for the maintenance of the Work and House of God.
(3) To observe the Rest-Day.
But a covenant is between two. No resolution of ours is strong enough to keep us true. The most fervent protestations and vows may fail us in the day of trial, and our covenants are permanent only so far as God is party to them. But if Jesus is our Co-Signatory, there will be a safe-guard and certainty which all the powers of evil will not be able to overthrow.
Livingstone’s covenant with God was that he might heal the open plague-spot of the Arab slave-trade. A covenant like this, in some cases, has been signed with blood. This was D. L. Moody’s prayer, as a young man: “Great God, let the world learn, through my life, what Thou canst do by a man wholly devoted to Thee!”
We present to Thee, O God, ourselves to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, our reasonable service. Fulfil through us the good pleasure of Thy goodness, and the work of faith with power. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.