Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read one of the prophet Jeremiah’s prophecies about a coming Messiah, or anointed king, who would also be called the Lord.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 ESV)
God had made several covenants with the human race, and then with a specific chosen people, Israel. A covenant is a kind of contract, but particular because it’s made between unequal parties. Like any contract it makes certain demands of each party, outlines the consequences for breaking it.
The covenant in effect in Jeremiah’s time, and those before it, have been generous and sacrificial on God’s part. He simply asked people to maintain and show thanksgiving for their relationship with God by keeping his laws, obeying his commandments. The Ten Commandments represented the whole of the law, on two simple stone tablets. As soon as they were given, Israel broke those commandments, and Moses broke the tablets in anger.
But here, we see Jeremiah saying that God will make a new covenant, unlike any other. It wont’ be on stone tablets, but written on their hearts. It wont’ be a law about external behaviour alone, but a law about the state of people’s hearts, and whether they are oriented towards God or away.
The imagery is beautiful – God will write the law on people’s hearts, and there will be no barrier or mediator standing between God and humanity – everyone can know God in their hearts. This odesn’t mean teaching people to know and love God would be wrong, but that it wouldn’t be necessary – God would now be directly relating to his people.
This was a direct hit to the status quo, which relied on the temple and its priests to mediate between God and humanity.
Question: How would you describe the new covenant between God and his people? What might Jesus have to do with it?