SEPARATION UNTO COVENANT LIFE

SEPARATION UNTO COVENANT LIFE

INTRODUCTION

Anybody God ever called or will ever call to have a special relationship with Him will be required to live a special lifestyle. Separation from the world and its systems is cardinal among the essential ingredients for peculiar lifestyles.

“Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

                                           (II Corinthians 6:17, 18)

When God called Abram in Genesis chapter 12, verse 1, the first command was a command unto separation.

“Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.”

Abraham was required to separate himself at three levels:

1.    Geographical Separation (get thee out of thy country)

2.    Social Separation (and from thy kindred)

3.    Cultural Separation (and from thy father’s house)

These are three dominant forces that can either positively or negatively impact on someone attempting to live totally by covenant.

1.    Abraham Was Required To Make A Physical Departure:

God told Abraham to live his country, which required a geographical change of location. Sometimes we may have to relocate in order to be effective in our covenant walk with God. Somebody may have to leave that house you are living in right now.

One may even be required to leave the present town or city of residence. The wrong geographical location can limit your progress not only in life, but also in your covenant relationship with God. Take Lot, Abraham’s nephew for instance, who being a righteous man, but found himself in the wrong city.

“And delivered Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

                                                       (IIPeter 2: 7,8)

Later on when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot lost everything he lived and worked for in all his life, even his covetous wife perished with his property. I believe it was the environment that influenced Lot’s wife to become covetous.

We also see in a later account, how that the two daughters he managed to escape with lured him into a drunken stupor and committed incest with him. The evil that brought two accursed tribes into existence that later became a snare to Israel.

These accursed incestuous descendants of Lot are the Ammonites and the Moabites. Bible says in Deuteronomy 23: 3 that neither of these tribes should ever be allowed to enter the congregation of Israel. We must be very careful about the kind of environments in which we raise our families.

An environment may look economically buoyant, socially plush and commercially vibrant yet it may be a deathtrap to the destiny of a man or woman called unto a covenant relationship.

When Lot saw the watered land and green vegetation he immediately went in for it, least suspecting that it could turn out to be a hidden grave yard to his destiny.

But Bible says “so Abraham departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him;”

There must always be a departure from something in order for there to be an entrance into something else. Take for instance, in education, one need to depart from one class in order to enter the next class.

God will always require of us to give up what we are currently holding onto in order to get what he has for us. Israel had to depart from Egypt in order to come into the Promised Land. Even though God blessed the land of Goshen in which they dwelt in Egypt, He still required them to depart in order to resume their covenant walk with Him.

It doesn’t matter how good or pleasant what you are holding on to now is. The command of God is explicit, Come Out!

Will you heed the call to separate yourself unto Him, even if it will cost you your very source of livelihood? Or you will hold on to the seemingly good thing and forgo God’s best and ultimate for you.

2.    Abraham Was Required To Make A Social Departure:

This kind of separation is one of the most difficult because, it has to do with the people groups we relate to and interact with.

One may easily break ties with friends but breaking ties with family may not be that easy. But all the same God Still says, “Get thee out of thy kindred.”

Many of us read about Elisha the prophet and the double portion of the anointing he received and then wish ourselves into a similar experience. Elisha did not desire himself into it, but rather served his way into it.

However, before he started following and ministering to Elijah, he had the option to either remain in his then lucrative and flourishing plantation and estate farming business or to pay heed and respond to the call to depart and follow.

“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

And he left the oxen, and  ran after Elijah and said,, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.

And he said unto him,. Go back again: for what for what have I done unto thee?

And he turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat.

Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him

                                            (I Kings 19: 19-21)  

Elisha prior to his call to the prophetic office was a prosperous, commercial estate farmer and had every cause to ignore the call. When it came to the second test of responding to the call, i.e. the separation element, he was still tied by that strong family bond and immediately the thought of his aged, dependant parents came to his mind. He therefore told the Prophet Elijah to allow him to go kiss them goodbye and thereafter come and follow him

When therefore, the Prophet told him to go back, he knew immediately that he was failing the test, so he hurriedly instead went and killed the pair of oxen he was driving and threw a party for his farm-hands and left to follow Elijah the Prophet.

3.    Abraham Was Required To Make A Cultural/Spiritual Departure:  

This type of separation involves breaking away from ones customs, traditions, belief systems and ideologies.

Every human being is born into a certain culture and that culture has the ability to influence the life of the person in many ways, including his worship of God.

Jesus accused the Jews of making the word of God of non-effect by holding on to the traditions of their fathers.

Customs and traditions of a cultural group can become strongholds in the lives of its people and impede any progress in their lives. They can also become stumbling blocks to their worship of God and their responding to the things of the Kingdom. So also can it affect marriage.

Take for instance these two cultural groups: The Jews and the Greeks. The Jews believe in superstition and signs and wonders appeal to them. The Greeks on the other hand are a people of learning, so what appeals to them is wisdom.

So Paul, in writing about these two cultural groups and how their various cultures influenced their reaction to the things of God said:

“For after that in the Wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

For the Jews require a Sign, and the Greeks seek Wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ the power of God, and the Wisdom of God.”

                                           (I Corinthians 1: 21-24)

The bottom line however, is the verse 24 where we see the called, whether Jews or Greeks receiving Christ as the power of God and the wisdom of God. We see in these people a different mind set, which is free from their cultural beliefs and ideologies.

God told Abraham to depart from the Father’s house. This departure is not referring to the physical structures of the domicile, but rather, the cultural system. It is possible for one to make a physical move but still transport with him or her, the belief systems.

Remember how Jacob left the Father-in-law’s house and town to return to Canaan with his wives and belongings?

That was a physical or geographical departure, but Rachael, Jacob’s younger wife carried with her the house-hold gods from her father’s house. She was separated geographically but still attached culturally.

If we are going to enter into a covenant relationship with God and our spouses then the Separation must be total and complete as God commanded Abraham to do.

Many believers after conversion join the Church with their bodies but still carry the mindset of the world. This is why the Apostle Paul had to write to the Church and remind us that we should not be conformed to the world; but that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

The mind is the depot of cultural beliefs and ideologies, and can become a stronghold if not renewed with the Word of God after the new birth.

CONCLUSION

The marriage covenant requires separation in these three areas to be effective.

Matthew 19:4-6

    And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, [5] And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? [6] Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

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