The windows of heaven are open, 
and the blessings are flowing tonight. 
There’s joy, joy, joy in my heart 
Since Jesus made everything right. 
I gave Him my old tattered garments,
He gave me a robe of pure white.
I’m feasting on manna from heaven 
And that’s why I’m happy tonight. 

We’ve sung this song so many times but have we noticed the depth of the words? We serve the God of the covenant and according to Isaiah 62 verse 4 (ESV) we see His joy in His covenant with us.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.”

Likewise, our joy lies in our covenant with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. In the song we sing “…since Jesus made everything right”. Jesus Christ died and a new covenant was brought about between us and our heavenly Father and through that we can open our spiritual windows (eyes) so that the healing and blessing of God can flow through to us.

When two people enter into a covenant certain objects are exchanged. One of these objects is their garments (cloak). Your garment is a symbol of your rank and authority and the people can see from your garment what position you have. We give our torn, dirty garments to the Lord and He gives us a clean, spotless garment in return. We give Him our hearts (lives) and Hy gives us His mandate and authority, yes, a new identity, namely that we become children of God and also receive eternal life. The prodigal son’s father immediately demanded a new garment for his son. In doing so, the father again restored the child in his childhood.

Weapons are usually also exchanged when a covenant is made. My weapons become your weapons. My enemies become your enemies. We read about it in the Bible where Joshua made a covenant with the Gibeonites without consulting God. Even though the Gibeonites deceived Joshua and his people, the Lord still honoured the covenant. Many years later the Lord was very angry with Saul when he attacked the Gibeonites because he went against the covenant that Israel made with the Gibeonites. We give our weapons of “trying ourselves” and “walls of self-protection” to the Lord and He gives us THE ARMOR OF GOD that we can use to clothe ourselves with. With this Paul encourages the Colossians to clothe themselves with Jesus Christ. When we live in covenant with God, we are under His, and His whole army of angels’ protect us as part of the covenant.

A covenant is also sealed with blood. Both persons entering the covenant make a cut in their palms and then with a handshake the blood is mixed and the covenant sealed. In Matthew 16 Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of the living God. When Jesus died on the cross, His blood flowed for both parties of the new covenant. None of our blood had to be spilled because Jesus bled for both mankind and our heavenly Father. With this reconciliation took place between God and man and a new covenant was formed.

In Proverbs 23 verse 26 (ESV) God asks of us: “My son, give me your heart…” and in Ezekiel 36 verse 26 the Lord says: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” When we enter into a covenant with God, we give Him our broken and hardened hearts and He gives us a new heart filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

During the covenant ceremony the parties also eat together as a sign of the covenant. David made a covenant with Jonathan that they should protect each other. This covenant was also for Jonathan’s offspring. After Saul and Jonathan died, David became king. Jonathan’s only heir was a baby boy named Mephibosheth. Because it was customary for the new king to obliterate the previous king’s offspring, Mephibosheth’s nurse grabbed him and fled with him. As she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. Mephibosheth’s biggest fear was that David would find and kill him, because he didn’t know about David’s covenant with his father, Jonathan. We then read how Ziba told David that Jonathan had a son and he was still alive. David then sent for him and reaffirmed the covenant he had made with his father and seated him at his table.

Sin made us spiritually cripple and we expect enmity from our heavenly Father. He, on the other hand, offers us new clothes, a new turban and a ring for our finger (covenant). We exchange our life in Lo-debar, a waterless place with no green pastures, for a place at the table in the King’s palace. Father gave us the promise that He wants to make us His own sons and daughters and that He wants to care for us, just as David promised Mephibosheth.

We no longer live under the law, but we are in the new covenant of grace with our heavenly Father. When we take communion, we must realize what the price of the covenant was. Not only did Jesus give His body to be crucified, but He crucified His whole being, which came with great sorrow, so that we could stand in covenant with our heavenly Father. Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, bore the ransom for sin (hell and death) on our behalf – innocently. I cannot think of a moment more holy than every time I take communion. With communion we commemorate the covenant with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach our spirit and to reveal the core of the Father’s heart in terms of His covenant with us. The windows of our souls are our eyes – may the Holy Spirit open our spiritual eyes so that we can see the fullness of God’s calling in the covenant. Our joy isn’t dependant on who we are or what we’ve accomplished, but of who we are in Christ. His Spirit gives us the fullness of His joy, which inspires us to sing this song with new dedication.

Henry Sharpley, Judah (Bosbokrand)

 

*We’ve asked some of the youth how they are experiencing lockdown,

what they miss the most and what they’ve learnt through it.

I love tech but I miss my friends

The past few years, since smart phones and social media made communication so much easier, I was content to just use platforms such as WhatsApp or Instagram to chat – I mean, we are going to see each other again tomorrow… That was the routine.

For us as youngsters the use of technology is normal, a part of our every day, just like peanut butter and syrup. Three-year-olds handle a phone with the biggest ease and the adults stand amazed at how a six-year-old shows them how this and that app works on their phones. We find it almost impossible to imagine a world without a phone. How did they (the old people) do it? Most of the youngsters’ answer to this would be: “I would die without my phone…”

A few months ago, my first question at a coffee shop where we used to hang out would’ve been: “Do you have Wi-Fi and what is the password?”

Twitter, Instagram, TikTok… they were the unseen friends at the table, contributing to conversations, setting the vibe… They capture the moment and share it with others. Dope times! #memories

The first 30 days of the lockdown were fine. I could still talk to my friends via WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. We could see each other through video calling and it felt quite normal, like when we are away on holiday – the only difference was that now I was at home. As the lockdown became longer the chats and video calls weren’t enough for me anymore TBH (to be honest). I miss my BFF’s (best friends forever), my pals! To see their faces only via video call aren’t cool anymore – I want to see them face-to-face and physically hug them.

My idea of a get-together has now changed. If my friends and I could get together now I would chat to them without the ever-present internet. I want to hear from them personally, have a decent conversation about how they are and not about what other people have done or will still do or the latest gossip. I want to leave my phone in my pocket and have a conversation.

Some of my friends’ parents, and even my own, always irritated us with their moaning about us always being on our phones: “Can’t you hang out without your phones?” or “You are constantly on your phone; put it down for a minute!”

Some of the parents have even gone as far as taking your phone when entering at the front door when visiting and you can get it back when you leave, or so I’ve heard. When I heard about this, I thought it was absurd! Totally overrated and ridiculous, but now I’m wondering: maybe the older people know something we don’t, e.g. that a visit is nicer without all the technology?

Our youth leaders and pastor constantly remind is that the lockdown can teach us something: if we give the Lord a chance, He can bring about change and deepen our relationship with Him. Maybe we need the lesson that personal contact and meaningful conversations with friends are what we’ve been missing. Don’t get me wrong: I love my phone but I think my time with friends will from now on be different – the “unseen” friends will be put aside. The Bible teaches us that there is a time and place for everything…