Covenant & Religion: Introduction to Book

Introduction: How to Use This Book

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I invite you on a journey that leads along the narrow path of repentance of the sins of us as individuals, our previous generations, and of our nation in order to lead us to the Lord’s forgiveness and healing of our land (2 Chr 7:14; Matt 7:13-14; Ps 18:19). In accordance with the seven mountains of culture, we begin in the mountain of religion as we focus on bringing healing to our nation beginning with our role as members of the Royal Priesthood in Yeshua HaMashiach/Jesus Christ. Before we are to pray for people of other religions in our nation to come to know the Lord, we need to first repent of how we have broken covenant with the One True God. Since judgment begins in the house of the Lord, let us first remove the plank from our eye before we seek to remove the speck from the eye of another (Matt 7:1-5; 1 Pet 4:17).

Covenant

As I continue to study the Bible, the more I see it is written from the perspective of covenant. Everything God includes in the Bible comes from the aspect of covenant. He outlines what behavior allows us to remain in covenant with Him in order to access the fullness of the blessings and provisions of His covenant. In addition, the Lord details what behaviors are not acceptable and the consequences that follow when we do not obey His instructions. Since He is a good God, He wants us to live from the blessings of the covenant. When we disobey, the Lord our Redeemer has made provision for reconciliation with Him so we may walk in right relationship with Him.

We live in a society where contracts and agreements are at the forefront, while the concept of covenant is not given much thought. Perhaps we are used to the current day culture of contracts and the fine print of companies who sell a product or a service who intend to hold back benefits and customer service in order to not fully grant the buyer the full satisfaction of the purchase. A transaction of this sort needs to be life giving to both the company that sells it, as well as the customer. Those who provide the product or service do indeed need to make a profit. Likewise, the customer’s life should be enhanced by the purchase of the item. How many times are items or services purchased where the focus of the best interest is fully on the part of the company selling that passes along costs to the buyer that go beyond the purchase price?

Another aspect that delineates between covenant and contracts is that covenants are made based in trust, and contracts are made based on mistrust. When the Lord makes a covenant with us, it is binding and comes from a place of love and faithfulness on His part. We hinder our covenant relationship with Him when we think the covenant is to force or control God or us to satisfy the terms as is the case with the mistrust that compels the need for contracts.

Living in covenant relationship with the Lord of Hosts includes no fine print. He discloses all the benefits and blessings pertaining to covenant that come from obeying Him. In fact, the Lord takes pleasure in satisfying the covenant He has made with us. Yeshua/Jesus speaks to His disciples from a covenant perspective when He says:

 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:29-32).

Yeshua/Jesus tells His disciples that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. What wonderful news! Being given the Kingdom can only be accomplished through covenant relationship with the Lord. And, living in covenant relationship requires action and obedience fully disclosed in the pages of Scripture.

As members of the Royal Priesthood, we must come into agreement and grow in understanding of living in covenant with the Lord of Hosts. Since the main focus of this book and series is living in covenant with the Lord, if you are not familiar with the concept of covenant, I encourage you to explore this topic further. Much information on covenant can be found at Christian bookstores or through Internet searches.

Covenant of Life & Peace
& the Royal Priesthood

It is important that we keep covenant with the Lord as the Royal Priesthood in our individual lives and how it manifests in the mountain of religion. This includes all believers, not just the pastors and clergy. How we live as the Royal Priesthood directly impacts our society and government. Increasing our spiritual authority by repenting of the aspects where we have not lived according to the responsibilities of priests, we are then able to positively impact change in our nation. The foundational Scripture of this book comes from Malachi where the Lord of Hosts speaks of the covenant of life and peace He made with Levi and his descendants, the priests.

“Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you,
That My covenant with Levi may continue,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“My covenant was with him, one of life and peace,
And I gave them to him that he might fear Me;
So he feared Me
And was reverent before My name.
The law of truth was in his mouth,
And injustice was not found on his lips.
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
And turned many from iniquity.

“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And people should seek the law from his mouth;

For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:4-7).

Even though Malachi speaks of the covenant of life and peace with Levi and his descendants as the priests, this speaks to us directly today. It tells us the benefits that come from this covenant, as well as our responsibilities required for living in covenant with the Lord of Hosts as the Royal Priesthood in the Body of Christ.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

What the Lord intended for the covenant of life and peace with Levi and his descendants as priests still remains today as the covenant of life and peace for the Royal Priesthood of believers.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Much can be learned about the role of the Royal Priesthood by studying passages relating to the priests and the religious leaders. Instructions from the Lord as to how we as members of the Royal Priesthood are to live and what we are to avoid are given in detail in His Word.  Prayers of repentance and replacement in the following chapters come from the passages of Scripture pertaining to the priests and religious leaders.

Covenant & Nations

The United States of America was founded on Judeo/Christian beliefs, as well as a covenant to the Lord made by President George Washington. Since we have entered into a covenant with the Lord on a national level, when we sin as a nation, we break covenant with Him. This book, and the ones to follow in this series, will focus on how we can bring healing to our nation in these areas by repenting of sins recorded in the Bible as they pertain to each of the seven mountains relating to living in covenant with the Lord of Hosts. If you are a citizen of another nation, you are welcome to join in prayers of repentance and replacement for the healing of your nation.

God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his descendants, which includes the land (Gen 17:7). Where Israel is the only nation where the Lord initiated the covenant with a people, it is not the only nation who has chosen to enter into covenant with the Lord. In addition to the United States of America, examples of nations who made a covenant with the Lord of Hosts include, but are not limited to, Armenia and Australia.

This book’s premise of repentance is in the context of a nation being in covenant with the Lord. However, if you reside in a nation whose government has not entered into a covenant with the Lord, you are encouraged to modify these prayers to repent of sinning against the Lord as a nation—as your nation would be guilty of these sins—but not guilty of breaking covenant with the Lord. Another point to take into consideration would be whether or not the leaders of your nation entered into covenant with Satan and/or the kingdom of darkness. If so, you may decide it best to repent on behalf of your nation for keeping covenant with the Enemy by committing the sins listed in each section. More information of repentance on behalf of your nation will be explained shortly.

How to Use This Book

Each chapter of this book contains six sections: Repentance, Replacement, Forgiveness, Blessing Israel, Stewardship & Growth in Spiritual Authority and Blessing. Each of these sections are described below that detail the biblical principles applied, as well as how to use each section.

Applying biblical principles to praying for the healing of our nation is strategic and increases the effectiveness of our prayers, time and energy expended. Each of the principles listed presents an action and guarantees a positive result in the execution of the positive action.

As you continue with the next sections, I invite you to take a look ahead at a couple of chapters. In doing so, the instructions immediately following will make more sense in context of the chapters.

Depending on the flow of each chapter, sometimes the repentance and replacement sections are separate, while other times they are combined. Feel free to separate or combine them as works best for you.

Some topics may be easier to go through, while other may be more difficult due to the areas of repentance the Lord highlights in your life. You may want to have your journal handy, or one that is set aside for this book to keep track of the Lord ministering to you as you seek Him. The sections on Stewardship & Growth in Spiritual Authority include questions that facilitate reflection and steps for implementation of strategies that you may find helpful to keep in written form.

Repentance

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves,
and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I
will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
—2 Chronicles 7:14

As we delve into the different areas of repentance and replacement for each chapter, we deal specifically with sins that result in negative actions. When dealing with specific sins, we increase our effectiveness because we recognize something is sin, take responsibility for it, repent of it, remove it and replace with a right action or change in thinking. In doing so, we engage in prayers to the Lord that are precise and effective. For example praying to the Lord, “Please forgive us of our iniquities,” is not an effective or precise prayer, even though it may be well intended. It is vague and takes no responsibility for particular sins. Also, there is then no specific focus with repentance with regards to changing behavior and way of thinking.  However, “Lord, please forgive us of the pride of power,” is a specific and strategic prayer. It shows acknowledgment of the sin, which leads to taking responsibility of the sin, and then gives opportunity for us to put into action a plan for replacing that sin with a positive behavior. Please remember that repentance can include acts of commission, things we have done; or acts of omission, things we have not done.

Second Chronicles chapter seven explains a biblical principle of repentance of the people of the Lord resulting in forgiveness of sin and healing of the land. Humility, prayer, seeking the face of the Lord and turning from wicked ways describe the principles that lead to forgiveness of sins and the healing to be received from the Lord. In keeping with this principle found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, we will repent of breaking covenant with the Lord relating to our individual role as members of the Royal Priesthood, in our generations and as a nation.

Repenting comprises the following: recognizing the sin, taking responsibility for the sin, repenting of the sin and turning away from repeating the sin. Repentance involves more that just being sorry for doing something wrong. It involves changing our mind, no longer committing the negative action and replacing with a right action. The Greek word [G3340] translated as “repent” means, “to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent; to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.” Keeping in alignment with this definition, the sins we repent of will be followed by asking the Lord to replace them with a right action, and/or replacing with the nature and character of Yeshua HaMashiach/Jesus Christ.

Individual repentance comes prior to repenting for our generations or on behalf our nation, as we need to first take the plank out of our own eye before removing the speck from our brother’s eye. There are many sins listed that each of us have not committed personally. However, since we are looking to repent of the sins of our generations and those of our nation, it is best to begin with personal repentance. In doing so, we are clean before the Lord and then have the authority to repent on behalf of our generations and our nation. By repenting first of individual sins, we can then pray to repent for our generations and nation from a place of humility, not from judgment or pride.

The Bible speaks of generational sins being passed down in the family line in several passages (Ex 20:5; Ex 34:7; Num 14:18; Deut 5:9). We can accomplish repentance of these generational sins and the sins of our forefathers as recorded in Nehemiah 1:6 and 9:2. By repenting of the sins of our generations, we can break the generational propensity to be held captive by the effects of these sins. Repentance of generational sins that our families made that contributed to the sins of our nation grants us greater spiritual authority when repenting on behalf of the sins of our nation.

Scripture references to repentance on behalf of the sins on a national level are found in Daniel chapter nine and Nehemiah chapters one and nine. Repentance on behalf of the nation may also be referred to as identificational repentance. When we repent on behalf of the sins of our nation, we repent and identify as though we committed the sin and ask the Lord’s forgiveness. Daniel gives a good example of this in his prayer recorded in chapter nine.

Replacement

Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.
—Romans 12:21

After repentance, our focus turns to replacement and overcoming evil with good. Scripture is a weapon against the enemy. Yeshua/Jesus used it when tempted by the devil. However, we need to understand what verses are to be used as warfare and which ones give insight as how to live or have the nature of God that results in effective warfare. When we focus on the replacement aspect in each chapter, our purpose is to replace with the nature and character of the Lord based on the truth found in Scripture.

The replacement items come from verses that are in the opposite spirit of the sin we repented of on behalf of ourselves, our generations and our nation. When removing a negative action or sin, we advance to zero. In order to have leverage to be victorious over the sin we repented of and removed, we need to replace with a positive or a right action, bringing us into positive numbers. For example, when repenting of and removing fear, we need the perfect love of the Lord that casts out fear to be the replacement for the fear (1 John 4:18). It is not the verse about perfect love that casts out fear, it is perfect love that does so.

Another example of a Scripture that is a principle for both repentance and replacement comes from 2 Chronicles 7:14. This verse gives us step-by-step instructions for the Lord’s forgiveness and healing of the land. Memorizing and reciting this verse in prayer alone is not the purpose of this passage, nor is it effective warfare. Remember, just knowing and memorizing Scripture does not guarantee transformation into godly character. Satan and many of the religious leaders recorded in the Bible knew Scripture very well. Yeshua/Jesus spoke strong words concerning the hypocrisy of knowing the Word but not living it. Scripture memorization and recitation without application and transformation is dangerous deceptive and destructive. Therefore, replacement in this book means that we apply the Word of the Lord in our lives in order to be continually transformed into the nature and character of the Lord revealed to us in His Word.

Forgiveness

“And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
—Matthew 6:12

“For if you forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
—Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness follows on the heels of repentance and replacement in order that we may be forgiven by the Father for the sins of which we repented. Yeshua/Jesus speaks directly to the importance of forgiving others. We will only be forgiven of our sins if we forgive the sins of those who sin against us. If at any point we want to see if another angle or loophole exists that releases us from forgiving others in order to be forgiven ourselves, it does not exist. Forgiving others in order to be forgiven is recorded in five passages in eight different verses. As we see in the verse above from Matthew 6:14-15, Yeshua/Jesus gives both the positive results of forgiveness, as well as the negative consequence of not forgiving others.

Bless Israel

“I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
—Genesis 12:3

As we seek healing for our nation through repentance, replacement and forgiving others, we can increase our effectiveness by implementing another biblical principle of blessing Israel and the Jews. God promises that He will bless those who bless the descendants of Abraham; and that He will curse those who curse them. This promise seems to include blessings that extend beyond the law of sowing and reaping—more on the subject of sowing and reaping to follow.

Isaiah reveals that a nation who does not serve Jerusalem shall perish and be utterly ruined:

“For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish,
And those nations shall be utterly ruined” (Isaiah 60:12).

We can serve Israel by standing alongside, supporting and praying for her. In order to remain as a nation, we need to come into agreement with Scripture in order that we may continue to exist. There are many sins that need to be repented of and turned away from in our nation. However, based on the Word, it seems that if we stand in agreement with Israel, the Lord’s blessing and mercy may be extended to grant us more time to for the healing and restoration of our nation even if other wrong actions have yet to be righted. For example, if we do not stand with Israel and we get the abortion law overturned, as important as not killing the life of the unborn child is, it will not exempt us from the judgment of the Lord for not standing with Israel.

When we bless God’s people with the replacement verses, we activate yet another biblical principle found in the law of sowing and reaping:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).

Utilizing the law of sowing and reaping seems to be in addition to the blessings that come from the Lord by blessing the Jews. If we want to increase in receiving blessings and growing in the nature and character of the Lord, an effective way to accomplish this comes through blessing others in the areas we want to acquire. Reaping is specific to what we sow. Therefore, being specific and strategic in how we bless Israel and the Jews based on our replacement topics not only helps them, but helps us as well.

You may be wondering, “What about blessing other nations? Don’t we want to bless them as well?” Yes, we do want all nations to be blessed. In blessing Israel we bless all the nations, for the Lord purposes that the descendants of Abraham and the nation of Israel be a blessing to the families and nations of the earth (Gen 18:18; Gen 22:18; Gen 26:4).

Each chapter contains a prayer to bless Israel relating to the replacement verses from the Old Testament. In honoring the Jews’ faith in God and believing that the Messiah is still to be revealed, none of our prayers for Israel or the Jews are offered in the name of Jesus. We can still pray to the Lord and ask His blessing on the Jews in a way that remains true to our beliefs as followers of Yeshua/Jesus, while at the same time respecting the beliefs of our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Stewardship & Growth in
Spiritual Authority

“‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful
over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.’”
—Matthew 25:21

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and
continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer
of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
—James 1:25

As thorough and important as the prayers of repentance, replacement and forgiveness may be, our task of overcoming evil with good does not end with these. Victory in overcoming evil with good can only be gained by putting it into practice. We are to be good stewards with the knowledge the Lord has given to us. Therefore, each chapter provides an opportunity to apply biblical principles of stewardship that will facilitate further growth and blessing.

Please take time with the Father and ask Him the questions in order that you may continue to increase in your ability to live from the blessings and provision of the covenant of life and peace. Questions involve taking a look at actions or thoughts that need to be removed, as well as adding in positive behaviors or responses. These questions correspond with the theme of repentance and replacement. You may find it helpful to write down your answers in a separate journal.

In order to keep the momentum of removing, replacing and growing in stewardship in these areas in your life, you may find it encouraging working through this book with a trusted friend or prayer group.

Blessing

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
—Proverbs 18:21

Another aspect of replacement that we apply in each chapter includes blessings. Many passages of Scripture contain blessings and speak to the impact they have on those receiving them. The tongue has within it the power of life and death. Life from blessing and death from cursing are exemplified over again in both the Old and New Testaments.

Each chapter closes with a blessing that incorporates the replacement verses for that topic. Speaking words of blessings from these verses contain the power to give life. You may choose to read the blessing out loud or quietly to yourself. In addition, you may have opportunity to read the blessings over others.

The Scriptural Foundation for Blessings

Blessings are spoken of and given in both the Old and New Testaments. The most commonly used Hebrew word for “bless” [H1288] means, “to bless.” The English word “bless” means: “(1) To pronounce a wish of happiness to one; to express a wish or desire of happiness. Genesis 28:1; (2) to make happy; to make successful; to prosper in temporal concerns; as, we are blest with peace and plenty. Deuteronomy 15:4.”

Scripture includes blessings from God to people, from people to God, and from people to people. Included below contains a list of a sampling of verses pertaining to blessings.

Examples of God blessing people: Genesis 12:3; Genesis 26:3; Exodus 20:24; Psalm 5:2; Psalm 29:11

Examples of people blessing God: Psalm 16:7; Psalm 18:46; Psalm 89:52; 2 Corinthians 1:3

Examples of fathers blessing their sons: Genesis 27:1-4; Genesis 28:1; Genesis 48

Example of one person blessing another: Genesis 24:60; Ruth 4:11-12; 1 Samuel 26:25; Psalm 41:1; Psalm 128:1-6; Luke 2:34-33; James 1:12

Blessings others is a command: Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27-28; John 13:35; Romans 12:14; James 1:12; James 3:1-11

God acknowledges blessings from people to people: Genesis 12:3

Phrases used for blessings:
May you become (Genesis 24:60)
I bless… (Genesis 48:9)
May the Lord God … and bless you (Deuteronomy 1:11)
The Lord make…(Ruth 4:11-12)
The Lord bless you (Psalm 128:5)

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Copyright 2016 Rivkah Isaacs