Jeremiah 31:27-32:5; 1 Timothy 3:1-5; Psalms 87:4-7; Proverbs 20:20-21
OT: ““Look, the days are coming” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt — my covenant that they broke even though I am their master” — the Lord’s declaration. “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” — the Lord’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them” — this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their iniquity and never again remember their sin. “This is what the Lord says: The one who gives the sun for light by day, the fixed order of moon and stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar — the Lord of Armies is his name: If this fixed order departs from before me — this is the Lord’s declaration — only then will Israel’s descendants cease to be a nation before me forever.”” (Jeremiah 31:31-36 CSB)
Earlier in Jeremiah 17:9, Jeremiah stated his observation based on fact that “the heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable – who can understand it?” Then in Jeremiah 29:13, Jeremiah wrote that in order to find God one needs to seek Him with all their heart. Those two statements, considered together, pose quite a quandary and accurately illustrate the human condition. To search for God and find Him… to know God… to fully honor His word… to understand and walk in His ways… to fully obey and accomplish His will, a person must search for God with his whole heart. But how can he do that if his whole heart is incurably deceitful? The word for ‘deceitful’ in the original language means crooked, insidious, and polluted. Here in Jeremiah 31, God explained to Jeremiah the way that He was going to solve the impossible human condition. He was going to make a new covenant.
Unlike the external covenant made with Israel after the exodus that was based on meeting the requirements of the law, God’s new covenant with His people would be an internal covenant based on faith that would deal with the issue of the heart. Instead of trying to stay righteous from the outside-in, by this new covenant, God’s people would be made righteous from the inside-out. No longer would humanity be held in bondage by their incurably deceitful heart – for with this new covenant, God would replace hardened hearts of stone with new hearts of flesh that would be full of the word and knowledge of God. In this new covenant, people’s sins would no longer be held against them. Instead, their sins would be forgiven and forgotten – never to hold them in bondage again. This was not something that Jeremiah was making up… this was not a false prophecy uttered to give the people a false sense of security. This was the Lord’s declaration – and He staked His authority and reputation on it coming to pass. Just as God continues to cause the sun to rise in the morning and the moon and stars at night… just as the ocean tides continue to come in and go out – God’s promise to His people will come to pass. In other words, if you can stop the sun from rising, then you can stop God’s covenant with His people.
God was faithful to His promise. We now know that this new covenant is the covenant that Christ established on the cross. During Jesus’ last supper, just before He was arrested and crucified, He said, “This is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:28)” When we place our faith on Christ’s life, death and resurrection, we enter into the new covenant that God described to Jeremiah so many years ago. Our hardened and deceitful hearts are crucified with Christ, we are forgiven of all our sins, we are given new hearts full of resurrection life, and we are declared righteous from the inside out. If that wasn’t enough, we are also filled with the Holy Spirit of God who reminds us of God’s word, teaches us God’s ways, and reveals and leads us in God’s will. As we follow Jesus Christ with all of our new and spiritually alive hearts, we are able to abide in Him as He abides in the Father and be united with God. Just as surely as the sun rises in the morning and the tides continue to ebb and flow with the rising and setting of the moon, God will honor His covenant and all the promises of God are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your unrelenting faithfulness to Your word and Your unending covenantal love towards us – that even when I am unfaithful You are always faithful to me. I thank You for Your new covenant that has given me a new heart and has made me righteous from the inside out. When before, I was lost and unable to find You, now through faith in Christ and the power of the gospel, I am able to seek You with my wholly transformed heart, find You, and abide with You forever. Therefore, seek you wholly, I will. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.