The Lord makes the Israelites the offer of a lifetime—even better than a clean chalkboard or dry-erase board! No matter how hard you work to clean those surfaces, you can still see the faint images of what has just been written and now erased.
The new covenant God espouses is like installing brand-new dry-erase boards! Everybody gets a new, never-before-written-on surface. God will lay the past behind and start over, fresh and clean! The destruction, brokenness, and heartbreak of the past will give way to a time of new birth and hope. For generations, the faithful have worn millstones of guilt and sin around their necks, knowing that the sins of previous generations have been bequeathed to the heirs apparent. God now declares that policy null and void! No longer will the sins of family members outlive them by generations. This is good news!
Although God has taken the Israelites by the hand, provided for them and loved them, the people have broken the previous understanding, even as they broke God’s heart. Here God makes a new covenant with the faithful.
This new day begins with a new covenant that God engraves upon the hearts of the faithful. There will be no losing of documents, no erasing of promises, no telltale residue or shadows from the past! Writing the covenant upon the hearts of the people internalizes and centralizes it. No one depends on another person to learn about God. God will live within their hearts. This is good news!
Engrave your word, your presence, your grace upon our hearts, O God. You have given us hope, freedom, and forgiveness in this new covenant, and we are grateful. Amen.
Christians want help in understanding the signi cance of the Bible. Psalm 119 delights in the instruction of Yahweh. The text of the Torah is valued, not as a legal document but as an occasion for meditation and for the shaping of values, intuitions, and sensitivities. Scripture in Second Timothy is the gift of God and a guide for the practical life of God’s people. Its instructive role equips believers for every good work. Jeremiah 31 anticipates the time when God will write the law on the hearts of the people and reminds readers that at the core of “the law” is the covenant relation God establishes: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The parable of the persistent widow directs us to the companion of Bible study: prayer.
• Read Jeremiah 31:27-34. In what sense do you perceive God’s guidance coming from within you?
• Read Psalm 119:97-104. How immersed are you in God’s word? How does scripture guide your decisions?
• Read 2 Timothy 3:14–4:5. Who in your life has been a coura- geous teacher leading you toward God? How has he or she helped sustain your faith?
• Read Luke 18:1-8. How have your attitudes toward prayer changed? How does this passage help you to view prayer in a new light?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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