“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.”
Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Jeremiah was called at a time when Judah was in serious trouble. The glory years of King David and King Solomon had passed. By and large, the people had disobeyed God’s law. The kingdoms were divided and the Northern Kingdom had already fallen to the Assyrians. Jeremiah was called to speak while the Babylonians were invading Judah, burning Jerusalem, and carrying away vast numbers of Jewish people into exile.
Jeremiah is one of the few who remained in Judah, living in the rubble of a fallen Jerusalem. The people who had been promised God’s prosperity were now in a place of desolation.
Jeremiah was called to lead the people through a time of sorrow. Despite Israel’s despair, Jeremiah delivers a message of hope.
So, what does the hope of a new covenant look like?
God promises to be the Israelite’s God and God names them God’s people. God also declares that the Israelites will “know [God].” The new covenant is not one of reverent distance, but of intimate closeness.
Advent is a season of preparation, where we celebrate the coming of Christ. In Advent, we remember the longing of Israel for a Messiah. The Israelites knew their sin had gotten them into trouble. The people longed to be forgiven, not only for their personal sins but for the sins of their nation. Forgiveness was an essential part of restoration.
Like the Ancient Israelites, we also long to be forgiven, to have our sins made right with God. What God promised through Jeremiah can be ours today. Yet at the same time, we recognize that the full impact of God’s forgiveness is yet to come. The restoration of all things has begun but is not yet completed. Even in our own lives, the impact of sin often remains even though God forgives us. So, like Israel, we desire to know the full forgiveness and restoration that comes with God’s coming reign.
Core Idea: Jesus is a reaffirmation of the Covenant, sent to save the world from their sins.