It is very sad to note that the vast majority of believers are living worse lives than those who lived under the Old Covenant and yet it not ought to be so.
“Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. Their soul abhorred all manner of food and they drew near to the gates of death. They then cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions” (Psalm 107:17-20).
To better understand the meaning of this text, we must look at the entire Psalm. Bear in mind it refers to the children of Israel and the fact that God had provided healing for them. For example, in Exodus 23: 25-26, He said, “And you shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless your bread and your water: and I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land, I will fulfill the number of your days.
You can readily see, then, why God calls the children of Israel “fools” in Psalm 107:17. They could have chosen to live in a place in God where there wouldn’t have been any sick among them not in the whole tribe not in the whole nation.
There was a place in God they could have chosen to live where His blessing would have been on them, their fields, their flocks and herds, and so on.
He even promised to fulfill the number of their days, and to bless them above all the peoples on the earth. And what was the blessing? It was healing, health, and prosperity.
God established a covenant with them and they had protection under this Old Covenant.
They were foolish to take themselves out from under that kind of blessing. We have got a covenant too; the New Covenant.
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This Covenant, speaks of better promises.
But the way some of us preach, I don’t think we have ever read the verse in Hebrews that says we have a better Covenant than the one the children of Israel had.
Hebrews 8:6 states that “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, in as much as He is also Mediator of a better Covenant, which was established on better promises”.
Our life should be far better than those who lived under the Old Covenant that is why the New Covenant is a better Covenant than the Old.
We have heard in some of our churches that God doesn’t want us to be prosperous because it is evil. We should wait until we get to heaven where there will be no sorrow nor pain. We then go through life on Barely-Get-Along Street, ’way down at the end of the block, next to Grumble Alley, and never have anything. Some are tormented by sickness and are down-trodden all their lives. Sadly, these people embrace this suffering as a way of demonstrating their commitment to the Lord “and suffering for Christ”. They believe that God is teaching them a lesson to show forth His glory.
This is ignorance on steroids.
No wonder that turns a lot of people off! Is a covenant with no healing and no prosperity a true picture of this better Covenant? You don’t get that kind of picture under the Old Covenant. Would Jesus, the Son of God, have come to be a Mediator between God and man for a Covenant that is not as good as the Old Covenant?
How foolish! Yet the Church as a whole has been hoodwinked by the devil.
The devil knew if the Church prospered, Christians would send the message of salvation around the world.
But if he could slip up on their blind side and make them believe they shouldn’t have any of “this world’s goods,” they wouldn’t prosper and therefore wouldn’t evangelize. This has left the majority of believers living sub- standard lives.
God wants to bless His people! Although the world system is wrong, the world’s goods aren’t wrong.
In fact, they are not really the goods of this world system. Who made these things? God did. He made the silver, the gold, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof,” (Ps. 24:1). God made it and gave it all to Adam. But Adam committed high treason and turned it over to Satan. It’s certain Satan doesn’t want you to get it back, so he lies to Christians and they swallow his lie.
They think they are being humble by not wanting any of “this world’s goods.” Bless their hearts, they don’t know they are being stupid.
They agree it’s all right for the devil and his crowd to have this world’s goods, but not the Church.
They agree that Church members ought to go through life with their noses to the grindstone, barely making it.
Was God that kind of God under the Old Covenant? No. Well, what made Him change? He didn’t change. He couldn’t change.
The Bible says there is not even a “shadow of turning” with Him (James 1:17).
Glory to God, He is not a God of poverty; He is a God of plenty! Why should the people of God be a people of poverty?
They shouldn’t. That kind of teaching has filtered into our minds until it has been difficult for us to accept the truth. But if your heart’s in tune with God, it repels that teaching.
Psalms 107: 17 states that these people are “fools”. Why? “Fools, because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.” I know God is talking about the Jews here, but this also could apply to us. Most Christians are sick because they do not know their rights and privileges in Christ.
They don’t know what belongs to them. And once they begin to understand a little about what does belong to them, they don’t know how to take advantage of it.
Still, others know the truth, but have willfully taken themselves out from under the protection of the New Covenant.
We need to study these covenants. We need to know for ourselves what our rights and privileges are under them, and we need to share this knowledge with other people.
Some will rise to the level of this teaching and will enjoy walking in the light of it. It was because of Israel’s persistence in doing wrong that they were afflicted. As we saw, they didn’t have to be sick unto death.
God gave them the Old Covenant. He showed them what to do. Thank God for His mercy. Does the Bible say, “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble and He ignored them?
No, that’s not what He did. That’s not the picture the Bible gives me of my Father. Aren’t we glad?
The Bible says, “He saved them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 107:19–20). This was in the Old Covenant.
The next verse begins: “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness. . . .” (v. 21). What was just discussed in connection with the goodness of the Lord? Healing. (“He sent his word, and healed them.”) “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.”
That sounds like Acts 10:38, a New Testament Scripture we often have referred to: “How God [this same God] anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.”
Notice that doing good and goodness are mentioned in the Bible in connection with healing. In the past, we have limited the goodness of God to His goodness to forgive sins.
Thank God for it, but if that’s all you emphasize, that’s all people will believe for.
Think about God’s goodness: He hasn’t changed; He’s just as good as He ever was.
He is the same yesterday today and forever. God is a good God.
- Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: [email protected] or Twitter @dougmamvura