"Seeking Him" Bible Study was held at New Canaan Worship Center in Richmond, Virginia on Thursday morning, Oct. 31 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The lesson began with four participants volunteering to represent each type of promise and giving an overview of each.
Then the facilitator, Rev. Margaret Minnicks, led the group into a detailed discussion about each type of promise.
Even though a covenant is a binding agreement; it is more than a contract, vow, or oath. A covenant is between God and a person or a group of people. In order for a promise to be a covenant, God must be one of the parties.
In the Bible, there are several covenants with God being an instrumental part of the agreement. In fact, God is the one who instigated the covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, there is a better covenant that God made with all mankind based on the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:2, 22).
A contract is an agreement that can be written or verbal. While God is omnipresent and is in everything we do, God is not one of the parties in a contract as in a covenant. A contract is made between two people or groups of people. A contract usually has an end date; whereby a covenant is a permanent arrangement. A contract involves only part of a person, such as a skill or service, whereby a covenant involves a person's total being.
A marriage is a covenant because God is part of the marriage. However, contracts are the promises involved in the wedding plans.
A vow is a solemn promise or pledge that binds a person to perform a specific act or to behave in a certain manner such as the words spoken when a couple gets married. There are about 40 biblical references to vows, but there is one foolish vow made by Jephthah who vowed that if God would grant him victory in battle, he would sacrifice the first one who came out of his house. It was his daughter, and Jephthah had to keep his vow, and he sacrificed his only daughter to the Lord (Judges 11:29-40).
Based on this story, you should be careful when we make a vow. If you do make a rash vow, ask God to forgive you and refrain from making vows like that in the future.
An oath is a solemn statement or claim used to validate a promise such as an Oath of Office when the President of the United States begins his job. On the witness stand, a person takes an oath or affirm what they say is true.
The bottom line is that whether we enter into a covenant, contract, vow or oath, we must do what we say we will do. We should let our "Yes" be "Yes" and our "No" be "No" according to Matthew 5:37.
Next week's lesson is "Authority: Coming Under Subjection."
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