The New Covenant
A daily devotion for August 23rd
23 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity,[a] the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: ‘The Lord bless you, you prosperous city, you sacred mountain.’ 24 People will live together in Judah and all its towns—farmers and those who move about with their flocks. 25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
26 At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.
27 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. 28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord. 29 “In those days people will no longer say,
‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
30 Instead, everyone will die for their own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to[b] them,[c]”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
35 This is what the Lord says,
he who appoints the sun
to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
so that its waves roar—
the Lord Almighty is his name:
36 “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,”
declares the Lord,
“will Israel ever cease
being a nation before me.”
37 This is what the Lord says:
“Only if the heavens above can be measured
and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all they have done,”
declares the Lord.
38 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this city will be rebuilt for me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.”
The days are coming,declares the Lord,when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah... This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,declares the Lord.I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another,declares the Lord.Know the Lord,because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.(Jeremiah 31:31a, 33, 34)
This is a marvelous promise. God is going to do what the people themselves could never do. Despite all their failure, he is going to bring them around. He will do it by a new process. First, he says,
I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. That is a new motive. God is going to change the motivation of a person's life; changing it to come from within instead of without. The
Old Covenant is a demand made on us from without. This is impossible for us to carry out. But the
New Covenant is something put within us. What is it? Love. Love is the motive in the New Covenant. To respond out of love for God, out of love for what he has already done in our life and heart, that is the new motive.
The second manifestation is a new power.
I will be their God, and they will be my people. God himself is the strength of man's life. He supplies all the power to act. They are the ones who do the acting; he is the One who does the supplying. This is a beautiful description of the New Covenant.
Everything coming from God; nothing coming from me. Not,
I, trying to do something for God, but
God doing something for me, through me, in everything I do. That is the new power.
Then there is a new family.
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, declares the Lord. All those in the family know each other. We already know what are the dominant drives, and underlying hopes and passions of each life, because they are all the same: That we might know Him better, become like Him. That is why, when Christians meet one another, though they have never met before, they always have a ground of sharing. They know each other and share the same life.
Know the Lord, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,
The New Covenant rests on this great platform:
...for I will forgive their wickedness, and will remember their sin no more. That is how God proposes to win this battle. When the Law fails, and we cannot respond the way we know we ought to, how are we going to win? It is changed when we begin to understand that provision has already fully been made for all our failure. God does not hold that failure against us. His love will be with us and will sustain us through even the results of our folly and our failure. He does not hold anything against us; he is for us, and will turn all the difficulty we are going through to our own advantage, so that it makes us transformed people. That is the New Covenant in action. As we learn to walk in dependence upon a new motive and a new power, in a new relationship with one another, resting upon the forgiveness of God, we discover that marvelous things are happening in our life.
Father, forgive me for the way I am so sure I can make it myself. Help me to assume this poverty of spirit, which then opens to me the very riches of eternity.
Life Application: What are three life-changing aspects of the New Covenant God makes with his people? Do we see this as God entering into our pain and weakness and transforming it by His power and everlasting love?
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Daily Devotion © 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.