I recently stumbled upon a verse of scripture that set me to thinking about the nature of a righteous person obtaining promises from the Lord.
A covenant is a two-way promise between individuals such as a legal contract, or between God and man.
Today, we typically look at covenants with a pretty narrow view like baptism, marriage, and temple covenants are our primary covenants. We look at partaking of the sacrament as a renewal of our covenants and a reminder to always remember Jesus Christ.
Yet in the scriptures we see examples of many other covenants between God and man that were obtained through the obedience and sanctification of individuals who sought specific blessings, which God then honored even at times when those affected by the covenants weren’t worthy of the blessings.
For example, during a time when Israel wasn’t particularly righteous and was led by unrighteous leaders and facing threatening Syrian conflicts, we read how the Lord extended his mercy to them, not because of who and what they were, but because of ancestral covenants.
2 Kings 13:23. And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.
There are numerous verses that show the gracious, long suffering nature of God.
Nehemiah 9:31. Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.
Why was God merciful and gracious to Israel? Because righteous ancestors obtained covenant promises that bound God through their righteousness.
These weren’t what I’ll call “standard” covenants. They were extraordinary covenants brought about by the desires of these righteous individuals. They became “highly favored” of the Lord, a phrase that appears several times in the Book of Mormon.
Here’s an interesting thing. When someone is righteous like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the example above, they have power to enter into covenants with God that based upon their obedience, they can require things (in righteousness) from the Lord.
Enos 1:18. And the Lord said unto me: Thy fathers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.
What was this all about?
Enos was fearful for the destruction of the Nephites if they fell into transgression, and knew the Lamanites would destroy their sacred records if given the opportunity. He besought the Lord for a blessing that the Lord would grant protection for the records.
Enos 1:15. Wherefore, I knowing that the Lord God was able to preserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.
16. And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time.
17. And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.
There are other examples in scripture, but understanding this is a reality, we should turn to the scriptures to understand what we need to do to be brought into a relationship with the Lord to obtain such righteous blessings by covenant, upon ourselves and our posterity.
So what causes the Lord to favor us enough to make promises that can’t be broken by Him?
In studying this topic, I started with a search for:
That resulted in 35 verses. Looking closely I saw another related word was delight. There are many instances where the Lord is either delighted by man’s actions, or delights to bless man for their actions, so I did a search for:
That had 126 verses and a number of them weren’t really relevant so I narrowed it to verses where a variation of delight and either the word God or Lord appeared.
Delight* and (God or Lord)
That was 53 verses which I then proceeded to study along with “gracious*” verses.
I also reviewed the verses that mention the word:
Here’s what I discovered:
For those that delight in the Lord and keep his commandments, he delights to bless and honor them and make covenants with them. The Lord is full of compassion, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Surely there are a couple things on those lists that we can implement in our lives to bring ourselves into a greater, or more favored, status with the Lord.
We should delight in the Lord and his laws, live them, obtain favor with Him, and enter into covenants that bless us, our posterity, our lands, and nations, that the righteousness of God can shine forth and shower blessings on the people.
(Image by rudall30 at 123rf.com)
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