Every where I go, I hear Christians and Bible-minded people quoting passages of scripture or I see certain passages on signs, bumper stickers, or on personalized car plates (tags). At first glance these passages seem to be encouraging or seem to be full of promise. Yet, often, after a deeper look at the context of the passage, they do not say what the sign, sticker, or tag implies. I have selected three of the more popular of these scriptures from the Old Covenant to share and explore.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. God has a plan of my welfare for a future for hope, He has a specific plan for my life. I just need to let go and let God take control. But that is not what that verse is about. It is not about you. It is not about me. Unless of course, I want to wait 70 years like the verse before says. Contextually, God is telling the nation of Judah, “You have abandoned me, I am going to send you into captivity for seventy years, then you will come back here and call on My name – returning to Me, Then I will lay out the plans I have for you.” The plan was to restore them so the Messiah – Christ could come.
2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people who are called by my name 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.” If America would just pray, God will make America great again. I hate to disappoint you, but The United States is NOT God’s chosen people. The USA is not God’s nation. We are not really a Christian nation. We are a democratic-republic who elects leaders. In the context, Solomon has finished construction of the temple and God is warning Israel about becoming unfaithful and telling them He will punish their unfaithfulness, but will forgive when they repent. Any application today is not to the United States of America but to God’s chosen people today, His kingdom, His body – the CHURCH. If the church wants to grow, we need to be a people of prayer and reliance on God.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. This is the one that lead me to write this post. I heard someone on the radio a week ago using this verse as a promise. Their statement was along this idea, “You are going through a tough time, but God is taking you through that on purpose. He has a plan. A plan to give you something new and better.” Then they explained how their first marriage broke apart and how devastated they felt, but God lead a new spouse into their life and it is the best that has ever happened to them. All that sounds fantastic. That is until you realize the Lord is making a comparison. He is comparing the Exodus of Israel from Egypt to a new way and a new covenant He will make through the Messiah. The new thing is salvation through Christ and the promise of eternal salvation in Him.
I have three New Covenant passages to look at later. For the moment, let me challenge you not use the Bible as a book of maxims to be randomly applied to make us feel better about life. Do not look at the Word of God as a book of various promises to demand (claim) from God. Take time to learn the context of a passage, take time to learn to over-riding message of the Bible – God’s plan for redeeming man back to Himself for eternity.