“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.”
A New Covenant
The Bible can be hard to read for many reasons. For one thing, it sometimes contains unfamiliar words. One of those words that keeps coming up in the Bible is “covenant.”
So, what is a covenant? And why does it matter?
A covenant is an agreement between two individuals or groups. It’s like a legal contract where both groups sign on the dotted line and promise to uphold their end of the deal.
The surprising message of the Bible is that God made a covenant with his people. He wanted to partner with them.
In the second book of the Bible, God made a covenant with the nation of Israel. He agreed to bless them and make them into a great nation while they agreed to obey his laws. Unfortunately, the Israelites broke their side of the agreement almost immediately and the nation unraveled like a runaway ball of yarn.
We can relate. We have made promises to follow what God says. We said we were going to love him and love people. But almost immediately we found ourselves breaking our promises.
That’s why we need to hear the comforting words of the prophet Jeremiah. He said that God was going to make a new covenant with his people. It wasn’t going to be like the old covenant, where the people promised to hold up their end of the agreement.
No, this time, God was going to make a covenant where he fulfilled all the requirements of all his laws. That’s what the story of Jesus is all about. Jesus came into this world to fulfill all of God’s commands on our behalf. Then he died to receive the punishment we deserve for breaking God’s covenant. This new covenant is a one-sided covenant. God simply forgives our sins for Jesus’ sake, period. What a gift! What a God!
Lord God, thank you for your new covenant and for the peace and forgiveness it gives. Amen.