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Spiritual Intelligence: Faith And Patience

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Some strong words of encouragement, written to strengthen the hands and knees of the church in Jerusalem in the midst of persecution. This letter is considered a masterpiece by seasoned theologians, and central to the New Testament.

Friends, with these words as backdrop, I write in the same vein this morning. Faith and Patience are integral if we are to run the race of life effectively. Faith is the seed that opens new possibilities, and patience provides the strength and stamina we need to overcome self-sabotage, and the wiles of the devil.

In this era of speed and instant gratification; faith without patience will only lead to a shipwreck. So in the words of The Rabbi to the same audience my opening excerpt was written to years later;

And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.

He said these words and many more as He drew close to His death. A mentor of mine used to say that last words were very important, having lived for a while – I couldn’t agree with him more.

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~ Sabali
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Spiritual Intelligence: Covenant Keeping God

For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it.

A covenant is a contract. Like any contract, when broken it incurs a penalty. In the olden days, covenants were ratified by a vow or oath (spoken promises), and sometimes sealed by blood. Interestingly, God does not handle covenants with levity.

To demonstrate this very important characteristics of God, lets look at two case studies where people have seemingly made oaths or vows by trickery or error, and see God’s perspective on these matters.

Amidst a very tense battle, Jephthah made a vow;

And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”

On his return, his daughter was the one who came to meet him. An only child, a loving daughter. In despair he said;

For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it.

Little wonder why his name was mentioned among the greats in Paul’s list of God’s Generals.

The most fascinating account has to be that of the Gibeonites. When they heard the fame of the children of Israel, they hatched a plan to lure them into a covenant. You really have to commend their ingenuity! They pretended to be from a far country, securing a covenant of peace through flattery. Hundreds of years later, King Saul broke this covenant in his misguided zeal for his subjects. This however led to a famine for three years, years after his demise. And seven of his descendants had to given-up as atonement for his error.

Friends, like Rizpah (Saul’s concubine) who watched over the bodies of the seven innocent people as they hung on the mountain, God almighty watches every word he has spoken to perform!

Vows, oaths and covenants are not to be handled with levity – no excuses… Our God is a covenant keeping God.

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~ Sabali