At the time when the southern kingdom of Judah was about to end and the people taken into Babylonian captivity, God announced through His prophet Jeremiah the “new covenant.” This is the first time this notion is expressed in the Bible. However, when the 10-tribe northern kingdom of Israel was about to be destroyed (some one hundred fifty years before the time of Jeremiah), the idea of another covenant was mentioned again, this time by Hosea (Hosea 2:18-20).
Read Hosea 2:18-20. Notice the parallel between what the Lord says there to His people with what He said in Jeremiah 31:31-34. What common imagery is used, and, again, what does it say about the basic meaning and nature of the covenant?
At moments in history when God’s plans for His covenant people were hampered by their rebellion and unbelief, He sent prophets to proclaim that the covenant history with His faithful had not come to an end. No matter how unfaithful the people might have been, no matter the apostasy, rebellion, and disobedience among them, the Lord still proclaims His willingness to enter into a covenant relationship with all who are willing to repent, to obey, and to claim His promises.
Look up the following texts. Though they do not specifically mention a new covenant, what elements are found in them that reflect the principles behind the new covenant?
The Lord will provide “a heart to know that I am the LORD” (Jeremiah 24:7, RSV). He will “take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19, RSV), and will give “a new heart” and “a new spirit” ( Ezekiel 36.26-27). This work of God is the foundation of the new covenant.
|If someone came to you and said, “I want a new heart, I want the law written in my heart, I want a heart to know the Lord — but I don’t know how to get it,” what would you say to this person?|