Text – Jeremiah 31:31-34:
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,[a] says the Lord.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says 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. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
This passage was written by Jeremiah amidst the backdrop of Babylonian domination and captivity. This text is also part of what scholars call the little book of comfort (Jeremiah 30-34) because of the repeated announcements of restoration of the nation to their homeland.
These announcements are extraordinary because of the way that they come during Babylonian siege, but probably not as extraordinary as what Jeremiah did during the siege. God told him to that he was to purchase a plot of ground from a relative.
No one buys land during a war. No one buys real estate when there is nothing hopeful visible on the horizon. Yet, Jeremiah buys the land of his cousin Hanamel. One of the most hopeful things Jeremiah could ever do. It was a bet on the future of Judah.
God tells Jeremiah that a new covenant is coming that is founded on different principles. This covenant will not be written on scrolls but on the heart. Being obedient to God will come from godly inclination rather than from directives to act in this or that manner.
We see the flourishing of this covenant in Jesus as he lived in the most loving and generous way possible. He turned away Satan with the Word that was written on his heart. And he went to the cross with the same hope that Jeremiah did when he bought property in a war-torn city.
I’ve heard people say, “I’m moving to another country because I don’t like the way things are going over here.” What they should be saying is, “I believe in God so I’m staying put and letting the covenant written on my heart set my direction.
Dear Father, what an exciting and hopeful word you left Jeremiah. The cross is your newest word like that and what you were ultimately saying to Jeremiah. Christ brought the new covenant. The Spirit wrote it on our hearts. And we continue to want what you want, praying that you will give us stamina and heart to live in a way that glorifies you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.