30 October 2021
You cannot fellowship with God outside of His Covenant.
The reckoning of God's Law is that everything takes place within the context of a covenant. There is no shalom without a conscious commitment to a valid biblical covenant. Your individual faith can only go so far otherwise. Truly extricating yourself from the powers of Darkness requires some kind of ritual submission to such a covenant. This is how you come under the full covering of the Lord. The ritual need not be much -- follow your own convictions -- but it must include a verbal confession with frequent renewal. That's what Scripture says.
A valid covenant will set boundaries for your behavior. Let's not complicate this needlessly: The Law of Moses acknowledged contextual priorities. Legalism was not in that Covenant; legalism was introduced later when the Hebrew leadership embraced pagan influences that bled away the heart-borne commitment to a real and living Covenant God. But there were always distinct boundaries.
Daniel in the lion's den and his buddies in the brick kiln -- they faced those trials because their government demanded they cross the boundaries. The same with Mordecai refusing to bow as Haman wished (it required a worship posture). Their true loyalty was the Covenant. Their loyalty to earthly authority was conditional. It was the same later when early Christians refused to burn incense to Caesar's image. And it was according to covenant boundaries when men moved by their heart-borne commitment to Jehovah would refuse to do things demanded by kings of Israel and Judah.
Once you live under the boundaries of shalom, you will always be at risk of having to defy a human government. Without the covenant covering, you have no standing with God to presume upon His favor when you do that. You cannot seize the faith to stand in the lion's den, or walk in the brick kiln, nor can you calmly face the persecution that leads to death. You may well provoke within yourself all kinds of human nobility, but it will not be by faith.
The outcome is never the real issue. Whatever it is that God considers glorious to His name is what will happen. There can still be miracles without faith if it suits God's purpose. But it's the communion with Him that changes everything. Without that, all you have is whatever any human can drum up without faith. Faith is not about outcomes; faith is that living connection between you and the Father. It's that sense of unbreakable assurance that only God can give.
Ehud's assassination of Eglon was not mere nationalism; it was faith under a covenant covering. The battle victory that followed was the same. In general, God will highlight the importance of covenant faith by blessing it with visibly good results. Sometimes you need to pass through the Valley of Death and shed some fleshly arrogance along the way, but when you are humble before Him, it tends to be like Hezekiah's prayers wiping out the Assyrian invasion.
There is very little difference between the lock-downs/vaccine mandates and the Assyrian invasion Hezekiah faced. Both are evil oppression from people who hate our Covenant God. There is no promise that our God will bring us victory in resistance, but if you are not sworn before Him under a valid expression of His Covenant, you'll never get a clear word from Him about it. Your faith will be silent. But if you cling to the boundaries of a valid sworn covenant, you will know by faith what you should do, when and where. You will likely suffer some kind of sorrow, but you will be directly involved in seeing the glory of God regardless of the outcomes.
God is not a slot machine or an ATM. But He will not communicate fully to the spirits of His children who ignore His Word. His Word points to a covenant in the Person of Jesus Christ. The boundaries are variable to some degree based on your individual calling in Christ. But that there are boundaries is not in doubt. The boundaries are the testimony of His people; those boundaries are markers of divine privilege. There is plenty between you and Him that the world will never see, but the distinct thread of identity will convict sinners of their sin, and will draw His children together.
So if you want the clear testimony of conviction and faith in your heart, you must place yourself under a valid expression of the living Covenant of Christ. That's how we get personal with the Lord. That's how doubt is banished. Without a conscious covenant commitment, God will remain mysterious and distant. Again, it's not about the outcomes, but the unspeakable personal bond between you and your Creator.
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