Last time, we looked at a condensed explanation of covenant. Without it, you would not have the appreciation for what I am about to tell you. (If you haven’t read it, you might want to read it first. You can click on it here.)
A covenant partner was one who was considered as a member of the family. Most covenants consisted of a full-coverage policy that blanketed not only the person with whom covenant was made but also the person’s entire family. Therefore, each would make a vow to take care of his covenant partner and his family if anything should happen to him.
Only death could part the two, as Ruth said to Naomi, “The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me,” (Ruth 1:17 NKJV). That was covenant language.
Several years ago, when my sister-in-law Vicki was having some difficulties in her life, the Lord led me to do something I had never done before, or since, nor had I ever heard of anyone else doing it. He told me to give her one of my belts.
As I did, I told her that, when she underwent any difficult situation, she should wear it, and I would pray for her. She has worn it on several occasions…under her blouse though. It wasn’t her color!
As I lost the final draft of the note I gave her with the belt, this is basically what I wrote:
“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me…”
“…for (His) strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.”
Because we have taken on the Lord’s Name together, we have an eternal covenant with Him and each other. The belt was a symbol of a man’s strength. Therefore, the exchange of belts was symbolic of giving your covenant partner your strength.
So, when your human strength falters, and you need someone to come alongside you from whom you can draw strength, I will be there. My belt is yours.”
I should have added Ruth’s sentiment to Naomi, “Don’t ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the LORD’s worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!” (Ruth 1:16-17 NLT)
As Jesus knew the meaning of giving up of one’s life for another, His words echo throughout the halls of eternity, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends,” (John 15:13 NKJV).
A friend will readily exchange his life for his covenant partner. I would lay down my life, if necessary, to save my covenant belt partner, Vicki.
Vicki later returned the kindness, giving me one of her belts. So we made the exchange, just as David and Jonathan did. I also nicknamed her David, and I am Jonathan.
As we have seen, covenant is a very special bond between two partners, whether between you and the Lord or you and another. When a difficult time surrounds a very special friend or relative of yours, or even when all is well, you may want to do this for her or him, giving that person the comfort of knowing that someone will come alongside to lift her or him up in prayer.
This exchange works two ways…one, the owner of another’s belt may wear it knowing that the other person is there beside him/her, interceding for him/her and offering encouragement and strength; two, the other can wear the belt of the one who is in need of prayer to intercede for that one.
Is there someone with whom you can exchange the gift of a covenant belt and share strength and defense, standing before the Lord and interceding for each other?