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Our Covenant with God-Part IV: A Divine Exchange

There's something divine about our covenant with God. There's something glorious about our covenant with God. Indeed, there's something gloriously divine about our covenant with God! So what is it--you want to know. That something about our covenant with God is that is an EXCHANGE.

I hear some of you saying, "Is that all?" But before you dismiss the greatness of this truth, let me teach you about the power and greatness of our covenant exchange with God, and I promise you'll be glad that you did.

Bring All You Have

Webster defines exchange as the giving or taking of one thing in return for another: trade; a substituting one thing for another; an interchange of valuables; a place where things and services are exchanged. This definition of exchange contains the essential components that are also found in the definition of a covenant. There is impliedly at least two parties, each giving and taking something. There is agreement involved in an exchange, and finally there is commitment.

Well, in our covenant with God, we still establish it as an agreement between two or more parties that is ratified in blood, however we now are adding to it the following perspective: it is an agreement where one party brings all that it has to the table and the other party brings all that it has to the table. And so, out of a covenant comes a mutual exchange between the parties. This is true in our covenant with God.

Now when you entered into covenant with God at the new birth, one of the greatest exchanges of your covenant took place. "It did?" you say, "Why, I didn't even know that I had something to give. " Well, guess what, you did (and still do) have something to give, and at the new birth, you gave it!

Before the new birth, you were dead in sin. (Ephes. 2:5, Col. 2:13) At that time sin was your specialty and your master, and you were rich in it. Now everybody knows that one can only give that which he/she has to give. So your part in the new birth was giving your sin nature and sin habits to God, and now as your covenant partner, God gave you His righteousness in exchange for your sin.

II Corinthians 5:21 states: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

This wonderful scripture clearly outlines the initial divine exchange that came through our covenant. God made Jesus, One Who was perfect, sinless and majored in righteousness, to be sin for us. Well where did He get the sin from? Us! We majored in sin and had an abundant supply to give. And where did we get our righteousness from? Jesus! Both parties, God and you, made a covenant exchange that day-you gave your greatest commodity, sin, and God gave His greatest commodity, righteousness. Because of that divine exchange we are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

But it does not stop there. God wants you to bring ALL that you have to the covenant table so that He can continue to bring all that He has to the covenant table. So what else do you have to give? A moment ago you may not have realized that you actually gave God something worthwhile at the new birth, but you did. It was worthwhile for God to take your sin in exchange for His righteousness so that there would be nothing standing in the way of His union with you. So likewise, it is worthwhile for God to take anything else you might have to give--any sickness, any disease, any bondage, any lack, any fear-so that you can receive His goodness.

No Weak Links

The true purpose of a covenant is to eliminate weaknesses. It's designed to have each party cover or make obsolete the weaknesses of the other. For example, in one of the most prevalent covenants in today's society, marriage, each spouse brings strengths and weaknesses to the union. Once joined together as husband and wife, there should be no weaknesses remaining in lives of either party. Perhaps the wife's frivolous spending is exchanged for the husband's astute money management skills or the wife's healthy eating habits are exchanged for the husband's junk food diet. In either instance, the weaknesses are obliterated!

Our covenant with God is designed with exactly the same intent: to eliminate weaknesses that exist in our lives. You see, Christ, Who is our strength (Phil. 4: 13), wants to covenant with us and do away with every weakness we have in life. Over and over again the Word of God tells us that our weaknesses are swallowed up in His strength and that our weaknesses are made perfect in His strength. (II Cor. 12:9) God wants His army to be made up of strong soldiers in these last days, and because of that He's ready to get rid of any weak links that might hold us back.

A Glorious Exchange

The Word of God is filled with divine exchanges throughout from beginning to end. We have already seen one such exchange. But one of the most clear and glorious exchanges is found in the 61st chapter of Isaiah:

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me . . . to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." (vv. 1, 3)

Do you see the divine exchange that God wants to take place with you here? In this prophetic chapter about the Messiah, Isaiah is used by God to declare the heart of Jesus, the Messiah (the Christ), to His people. God begins by saying that He has made the Spirit of the Lord, the very anointing of God, available to carry out the divine exchanges in our lives. He's not expecting you to do it. He knows that it will take His supernatural power to move in our lives and bring about the changes, the exchanges, necessary for us to be whole without any weaknesses. However, He is requiring us to cooperate with the Spirit of God to allow the exchanges to take place.

Let's look closely at the exchange in verse three. In this passage, God begins by offering us beauty for ashes. In the bible, particularly in the Old Testament, ashes generally represented deep sorrow, repentance, grieving, etc. Oftentimes, people would put on sackcloth filled with ashes (ouch!) and mourn or even eat the ashes as a display of their penitent state. God knows that we have situations in life that cause us deep sorrow or anguish or that perhaps we have sinned against Him and are now beating ourselves up over it. He wants to make an exchange with you today and offer you His beauty (His glory) for your ashes. Will you let Him?

Next God offers us the oil of joy for mourning. Maybe there are situations or circumstances in your life that have caused you to mourn or cry out greatly to God. These situations may have sent you into deep intercession. But the Bible says that blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Here we have an offer from God to comfort you with His oil (representing the anointing) and His joy (representing strength) in exchange for your mourning. Will you let Him?

Finally, God offers us the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The Word of God tells us that a broken (or heavy) spirit dries the bones. It literally takes the life out of you. I know what it's like to have a spirit of heaviness and have all of the life zapped out of you. I know what it's like to not want to face the day, to seemingly have no hope or bright outlook on things. It was a horrible time in my life, even though I was born-again, spirit-filled and serving God. I allowed that spirit to remain in my life when I should have resisted it immediately. But even so, God made an exchange with me so that I could have my strength and life restored, and He's ready to make one with you, too.

God's remedy for this kind of oppression is the garment of praise. As Christians, we, above all people, should have joyful, fulfilling lives. It is not the will of God for His people to be downtrodden or oppressed in any way. In fact Jesus said that He came to give us an abundant life. (John 10:10) So God is offering you a new garment, a new covering-praise. He wants to make an exchange with you and take your hurts, disappointments, abuse, etc. and give you His praise. Will you let Him?

Cash It In

Now that you know that God has a divine exchange for your unique situation or circumstance in life, will you allow Him to make that exchange with you? Because you see, the only way that He won't make an exchange with you is if you don't allow Him to do it.

"Well, Dawn, I want to make some exchanges with God, so what would keep me from doing that?" The condition of your receiving from God is your willingness to exchange. "What do you mean?" Remember that a true exchange requires each party to bring all that it has to the table. However, there are so many people who want to hold onto their problem-their grudge, their hurt, their failure, their abuse, their confusion, their bondage-and in doing so they are failing to make a true covenant exchange with God. You see, as long as you or I continue to hold on to whatever weakness we have in our lives, God has nothing to make an exchange with. If we had insisted on holding onto our sin nature, God would never have been able to give us His righteousness. It works the same way in every other area of life.

We must cash in our pain so that we can gain! The time has come to say good-bye to whatever is holding you back. It's time to cash it in. When you cash in your weakness to God, you will gain His covenant benefits. Up until now you might have told everybody, "I'm waiting on God to move in my life…”. But the truth of the matter is: God is waiting on you! Will you let Him make an exchange with you? Are you willing to say good-bye to the past and everything it represents in order to lay hold of today's blessings and benefits?

I encourage you to rise up today, take an inventory of the things that are holding you back (the weaknesses) in your life and cash them in. Then go to the Word of God and find the solution to whatever situation you are facing. Make a Word exchange. Exchange your problem for His answer. And don't worry, this is one exchange that won't crash. God is waiting--- and He's ready to give you His best. Will you let Him?

 

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Lighthouse Ministries International World Outreach, Incorporated, aka Dawn Richards Ministries
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