Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)
The concept of agreement is a fundamental and enormously important biblical principle which underpins the interaction between God and His people and between the people and one another. It’s a principle that determines the future and enables action based on particular choices. But, more importantly, it is the very foundation of God’s covenants. Like the tandem bicycle, agreement is, at its most basic, a two-person method of moving forward.
The nature of agreement – and it’s important implications for us in our lives – makes an enormously interesting study, one this devotional can only touch the surface of. But I encourage all to examine this in more depth, because I believe that it will become singularly more critical to making choices as we live as believers in end times. Where we could gloss over things with regard to our agreements, end time apostasy and pressures will bring this to the very forefront of our lives.
Agreement is, firstly, a mutual activity. It is something between two parties – between God and His people, between two or more people, or even between people and the powers of darkness. But it is also possible for us to agree with ourselves. Remember, we are made in the image of God, and if God is able to agree with Himself, we are too. Salvation itself is an agreement that God made with Himself. God agreed with Himself – covenanted with Himself – that He would send Jesus, who was part of the agreement, to accomplish what mankind could never accomplish.
Secondly, every single choice is based on the fundamental premise that we have an agreement of some kind that a, b or c is the correct, or at least the best, decision. We cannot reach a decision without first reaching agreement. That agreement may be with God – based on the principles in His Word – or with man, for example, friends, families, our spiritual leaders and mentors, etc. It may be a mixture of both, i.e. our pastor may present wisdom or advice based on the Word, which together influence our decision. In the same way, we can agree both with ourselves and with the powers of darkness, e.g. when deciding to pursue temptation.
Thirdly, the purpose of agreement is to bring unity, which is hugely important. Unity is where God commands a blessing. Unity is the foundational meaning of Christ in us or being one with Christ. Unity is the vital core of identifying with Christ on the cross, just as He identified with us in His humanity, in order to appropriate and live in the full meaning of salvation. But unity is impossible without their first being agreement. We cannot be unified if we do not first agree, but it’s really important that we understand that the nature of our agreement will determine the nature of our unity. Whatever we agree with is what we will be unified with. Unity implies ‘being joined,’ and this has significant spiritual implications – we are joined, made one with, bound to and immersed in that which we agree with.
Which brings us to the fourth aspect: Agreement – and, ultimately, unity – is designed to empower. The context of today’s voice emerges very clearly here. We cannot walk together – in unity – without agreement. Walking, of course, implies action. It implies moving in a particular direction, which in turn implies a particular destination. On a spiritual level, our agreements ultimately determine and empower our destination. What we decide – agree on – will determine where we are going and how we get there. Even an agreement with self, e.g. choosing to follow the demands of the flesh, determines and empowers the way forward.
The critical nature of agreements is further expounded on in verse 7: Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. Agreement is the vital principle behind this verse. God reveals His intentions because He requires our agreement.
Lest this be confusing, let’s differentiate here and now between requires and needs. God does not, never has, and never will need our agreement or participation in anything. He is sovereign and all-powerful, and able to accomplish anything He desires without us. Creation itself is the first ‘for instance’ recorded in the Bible. It was, essentially, an agreement with Himself that empowered the destination – the end result. The agreement with Himself made creation happen.
However, for reasons known only to Himself – and which, with our limited knowledge and understanding, we cannot ever hope to fully comprehend – He has determined that our agreement is required. Consider, for a moment, the princple of ‘free will.’ This is a defining factor in God’s relationship with mankind. While He has agreed with Himself and thus completed salvation, which already exists and cannot be changed or altered, He requires us to agree with everything it involves in order to receive it.
As an example, I can agree with myself that I will gift a Bible to someone. They may not agree with me, i.e. refuse to accept or receive it. Does that alter the existence or the nature of the gift? It remains a Bible. It remains a gift, whether wrapped or not. The determining factor is that the person does not enter into the agreement required to either receive or to use it. This is the nature of God’s requirement that we enter into agreement in very simple terms. The ‘why’ of it is irrelevant.
Search any language and we’ll find innumerable expressions and idioms that relate to the principle that more than one person working together achieves better results. One stands out: Trouble shared is trouble halved; joy shared is joy doubled. This provides a wonderful illustration of the spritual power inherent in agreement.
Coming together in celebration has the effect of multiplication, and the same applies to sharing work. Two people working together encapsulates the principle of this, even on a purely physical level. As an example, two people carrying a heavy box effectively halves the weight of the box and doubles the power required to carry it. More than that, basic ‘scientfic based’ principles like distribution of weight, etc. means that the formula for increase is not limited to one plus one but in fact results in multiplication. The result is entirely exponential, resulting in multiplied efficiency and divided load. I’m neither a scientist nor a mathematician, but the basic principles are easy to understand.
Agreement is the spiritual principle behind Matthew 18:19. When we agree with each other, we will receive what we ask. However, and this is important, the context of this is that our agreement is contained within our agreement with God. Our agreement must be with what He has first revealed in His Word for this to function effectively – the way God intends, not according to our own desires. Agreement with God is what manifests the promises, the blessings and the miracles in our lives. It does not mean that the ‘journey’ won’t necessarily be difficult or uncomfortable. Neither does it mean that that we’ll get instant results or that ‘agreement’ can be reduced to a ‘flop proof receipe.’ Proper spiritual agreement always has the will, nature and purposes of God at its core.
It becomes obvious, then, that the first step is always agreement with God. After all, His ‘first step’ was agreement with Himself. Of course, this also includes an agreement with self – we determine to agree with, or align ourselves, with God’s point of voice. Agreement with God is thus yielding to God. It is agreeing with Him that He is sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent and we are, without Him, simply sinners. It is agreeing with Him that we need Him in everything, and that our desires are of no importance whatsoever.
This is the direct antithesis, of course, of the principle of agreeing with self only, or agreeing with self and the world or with self and the powers of darkness, or self, the world and the powers of darkness. The direction here is always into darkness, sin, captivity and curse. Agreement with God is always into light, forgiveness, freedom and blessing. God determines the nature of what we receive, but our agreements determine, ultimately, what we receive.
Finally, agreements are often a process. As we go about our daily lives, we encounter situations, temptations and events that require us to agree in any of the different combinations, and this can change the direction in which we are going. As a very simple illustration, if we were driving along a particular road – having made specific choices which put us there – and we see see a fork in the road, we’re at the place of making a choice. We decide to go left. The agreement is that left is the best choice. This may take us in an entirely different direction to the one we were originally travelling in.
In spiritual terms, someone may agree with themselves – and quite possibly the powers of darkness – to visit a porn site. They are immediately out of agreement with God and may well be on the ‘road’ to addiction and, ultimately, if they persist, separation from God. But if they, at any point on their journey, agree with God that what they are doing is wrong, and agree that they should repent and receive forgiveness, their direction is automatically change. They are now moving to God, not away from Him.
It’s so very easy to assume that that all things of God must, due to the utter vastness of the I AM, be ‘larger than life.’ We should never lose sight of the essential nature of God, which includes the truth that He is the God of the big things but also of the tiny details. There is both wisdom and joy in remembering that Jesus came to earth as a man. What this means is that, in His greatest work ever, God came down to work on our level.
Clarity is important here – this does not diminish God in any way, nor put Him on the same level as us. He is and always will be I AM. His greatness and majesty and power are eternal and can never be altered or diminished. What it does reveal, however, is that He chooses to work where we are. This is a testimony to His indescribable grace and mercy. He knows our humanity, our weakness, and our struggles, and works with His supernatural power on our very human and natural level to change us and our situations.
The power inherent in agreement is very clearly revealed in this truth. Our agreement the releases the supernatural power of God into our lives. Our agreement – God’s requirement – empowers our life in Him through our unity with Him. Without that, we are bound in the flesh. With it, He works supernaturally in the flesh. Most of the time, it’s the little details, those little daily choices, that work to align us with His Word and keep us in unity with Him. They keep us on the right road, and keep the way open for Him to move and to work in and through us. We should never under estimate the critical importance of agreeing with God in everything, however insignificant it may seem.
Thank You, Lord, for the transforming power of Your Word and for Your grace. We stand in awe of a mighty God who takes care of every tiny detail, who is willing to work with us and through us in the here and now. Grant us wisdom, Lord, to see You in everything, and the courage to make the right choices to agree with You in all things, even when it may be difficult or uncomfortable for us to do so.