walk in the word
Our God is a “covenant God,” not a “contract God.” What’s the difference? If you have an appointment with a dentist and decide, “I don’t want to go to the dentist today,” you simply cancel the appointment. The dentist will not give it another thought; he will just go on to the next thing. That’s a contract relationship. If you agree to sell your house to someone, but they suddenly renege on the deal and walk away, the relationship is over. That’s how contract relationships work.
Our relationship with God is not like that. When we fail to perform—which we all do—God is never like, “You broke the contract. Our relationship is over!” His relationship with us is more like a parent with a child. He loves us like a father loves his son, or a mother her daughter. If our children fail to do the things that we would have them do, does that end the relationship? No. Absolutely not. Our relationship with God is a covenant relationship.
We get a glimpse of this in the book of Isaiah: “But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!’” (Isaiah 43:1). I love that word formed; it’s very personal. God may have spoken the universe into existence, but He formed you and me. It’s the same term used in Jeremiah 18 to describe the potter with his hands on the clay, personally forming it. God does not just bring us into existence, but rather forms us into the kind of people He wants us to be, working persistently with us day after day, like clay on a wheel. The attention that he pays to us is so personal.
Now notice the word redeemed. It describes God as the One who personally pays the price for us. God wants to have a relationship with us. But because we were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and alienated from Him (Colossians 1:21), He had to pay a price for you and me by sending His Son to die in our place on the cross.
Here is my favorite part: I have called you by name. How do you feel when someone you don’t know comes up to you and says, “Hey, buddy! How’s it going, pal?” Do you think that person is sincere? No, because we usually connect sincerity to names. When you speak a person’s name, you are showing sincere interest in them. As a pastor, one of the ways I communicate love and affection to my people is to call them by name. I walk up and say, “Ron and Lisa, how are you guys?” God knows your name, and He loves you.
Notice what it says, you are Mine. How personal does it get? I have a little girl and two boys. Now I love my boys, but I have a unique affection for my little girl. I’ll pull her up on my lap and say, “Abby is Daddy’s girl, right?” And she’ll be like, “Daddy’s girl.” But do you know what? It’s not quite true. Though I have affection for her, she does not really belong to me but to God. Likewise, you do not belong to your father or mother, your friends, your spouse or your children. No one owns you except God, and He says to you, “I have called you by name; you are Mine!” Now how personal is that?
Notice what it says in the text: Do not fear. The opposite of fear is confidence—knowing that God has called you and that He knows you and that He says to you, “You are Mine!” You are not who your résumé says your are. You are not who your performance says you are. You are not who your friends say you are. You are not who your enemies say you are. You are who God says you are. Period. That gives us some real confidence in living. We don’t have to be reading the latest weather report or the Daily This or the Daily That for what so-and-so thinks about you or about me. We can live with great confidence because we know that God is a personal God. We are His!
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