Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I accompanied my husband when he went to get a haircut. Reading a magazine, I found a hairstyle I liked for myself, and I asked the receptionist if I could take the magazine next door to make a copy of the photo.
"Leave some ID, a driver's license or a credit card," she said.
"But my husband is here getting a haircut," I explained.
"Yes," she replied. "But I need something you'll come back for."
We are familiar with the concept of collateral. Perhaps many of you have been in a situation, as I have in time past, where you pumped your gas or bought some groceries but then realized that you didn't have any cash. The cashier wanted something (usually a driver's license) as collateral to serve as proof that you would return to pay the full amount.
In the Old Testament, the word that is most often used to describe collateral is "pledge". You may recall the story of Jacob and Tamar in Genesis 38, where Judah had sex with Tamar, thinking that she was a prostitute. As payment, he offered to return home for a goat, but Tamar wanted collateral: "What will you give me a pledge till you send it?" (Gen. 38:17).
Under the Law of Moses, if you needed collateral, you could take a person's garment, but "If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down." (Exodus 22:26) because that's what he used to keep warm at night.
In the New Testament, the word that is most often used to describe the idea of collateral is "guarantee". Three times (2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:14), the apostle Paul says that God has given us His Holy Spirit as a "guarantee" that there is more to come. We can be assured that God will keep all of His promises and give us great blessings (including a home in heaven) because we have the Spirit to serve as collateral.
"For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee." (2 Cor. 5:4-5)
Trust me, that's something God is definitely coming back for!