Ezekiel 17:1-24; Hebrews 8:7-13; Psalms 106:6-12; Proverbs 23:12
NT: “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second one. But finding fault with his people, he says: See, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. I showed no concern for them, says the Lord, because they did not continue in my covenant. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And each person will not teach his fellow citizen, and each his brother or sister, saying, “Know the Lord,” because they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will forgive their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins. By saying a new covenant, he has declared that the first is obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old is about to pass away.” (Hebrews 8:7-13 CSB)
In verse 6 of chapter 8, the writer of Hebrews stated that Jesus, as the superior High Priest, was the mediator of a better covenant established on better promises. Beginning at verse 7, he expounded on why a new and better covenant was needed. There was a fault with the people with whom God established the first covenant. The Jewish people were sinful (as were all people) and unable to uphold their side of the covenant. That fault within the Jewish people underscored a fault within the first covenant: there were no provisions in the first covenant to save the people of the covenant from their sin, which prevented them from adhering to the terms of the covenant. The writer then quoted from Jeremiah 31:31-34. Jeremiah served as prophet during the height of Israel’s and Judah’s unfaithfulness to the Lord and His covenant. In the midst of Judah’s wanton disregard for God’s word, will and ways, God declared through Jeremiah that the days were coming when He would establish a new and better covenant with the people. That new covenant would provide a means to deal with the issue of sin and offer forgiveness for the people’s wrongdoing. This new covenant would provide a way for God’s laws to be seared into their minds and His words written on their hearts so that they would be able to obey the word, will and ways of the Lord and keep the covenant’s terms.
Before Jesus went to the cross, He celebrated Passover with His disciples. During the meal, He said this: “This is My body, which is given for you… This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:19-20)” Through Christ’s shed blood, this new and better covenant, which provided for the remission of sin, was established. Within that new covenant were better promises. On that same night, Jesus told His disciples about one of those promises. “If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever… When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgement… When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. (John 14:15; 16:8,13a)” As we place our faith in Christ, become participants in the new covenant, and receive the promise of the Holy Spirit, we are freed from sin, made new in Christ, given a living heart of flesh, and guided into all truth… that by grace through faith and the work of the Holy Spirit, we are able to be faithful to God the Father, Jesus Christ our Lord and His new covenant of grace.
Psalms: “Both we and our ancestors have sinned; we have done wrong and have acted wickedly. Our ancestors in Egypt did not grasp the significance of your wondrous works or remember your many acts of faithful love; instead, they rebelled by the sea — the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his power known. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the power of the adversary; he redeemed them from the power of the enemy. Water covered their foes; not one of them remained. Then they believed his promises and sang his praise.” (Psalms 106:6-12 CSB)
As the author of Psalm 106 began to recount the ways that Israel had been unfaithful to God, he mentioned some of the reasons they fell into unfaithfulness. The psalmist said that they did not grasp (or understand) God’s wondrous works, nor remember God’s many acts of faithful, covenantal love and mercy. Because they did not fully consider what God had done and did not remember His faithfulness and mercy, they rebelled. Yet even in the midst of their contentiousness against God, He still saved them from their adversary and enemy.
While we were still sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us and established a new and better covenant of grace. As stated earlier, one of the better promises of Christ’s better covenant is the promise of the Holy Spirit. Part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry to us is that He helps us to understand and remember. Jesus said on the night before He was arrested, “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:25-26)” As we become participants in Christ’s new covenant by faith and receive His promise of the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit will help us to more fully understand God’s wondrous works and help us to remember all the things that Christ said about God’s love and mercy… and as we understand and remember, we will be less likely to drift into unfaithfulness.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for your new and better covenant which provided a way for me to be set free from sin and made fully alive in You. I thank You for the better promises, including the promise of the Holy Spirit Who creates in me a new heart, who leads me into all truth, who teaches me all things and helps me to remember all that You have said. I receive Your promise of the Holy Spirit, and endeavor to walk faithfully in Your new covenant by grace through faith. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.