Journal Heb 8 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: (from Jeremiah 31:31-34) “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. (For they did not continue in my covenant and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.)
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.
And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me—from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Heb 8:8-12
Observation: Covenant making is a big deal in the Bible. But what is bigger to note are the Covenants that God makes with Men unilaterally…
Analysis: “I will…” or “I shall…” are statements of unilateral intent. “We agree…” or the like are conditional statements: It takes two to tango, contractually speaking. If one of the parties doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, the other is effectively released from doing theirs.
God defines his New Covenant with Israel and Judah, and by inference, the World. “(God)…who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit…” (2 Cor 3:6) How else can we define what God does by “putting his laws into my mind and writing them on my heart so He will be my God and I will be his people…?” It has to be by the unilateral function of the Spirit of God!
So, what are the stated implications?
After rescuing Israel from Egypt, they did not continue in worshipping God. Today, worship has such a contextual and arbitrary meaning it is difficult to apply to how I am to relate to the Most High. The phrase: “He is my God, and I am his people; only Him do I lay my life down for…” is the best I can come up with. The escapees did not continue in this way and so God showed no concern for them. I think of the Prodigal: Dad loved his son but let him do his thing while Dad showed no concern but cared for the son all the time.
After the 40-year wander, God made a unilateral Covenant: “I will, I shall…” This was NOT a bargain and will never be a bargain. Man does not “agree” with the Covenant as to enter into it. (“Thank you, Lord, for your benefits. I promise I will do my best and we’re square, right?”) Man aligns with what God covenanted about in Faith—I believe that God is good for His Promise. Again, the picture of the Prodigal: “Dad, I have been so dishonorable towards you. I do not deserve to be called a Son. Please, accept me in your House to be only a servant and I will be appreciative for as long as I live.” No bargain, no expectations, no preconceived notions, only appealing to Mercy.
The Good News that is the Gospel is that God loves Man, despite being unlovable, a traitor, a scallywag from a line of scallywags all the way from Adam. Bluntly, Man deserves the totality of God’s Holy Wrath—something that should never be far from the fact sheet concerning our personal Christianity.
Jesus died for my sin; for my being a scallywag. Because I have faith in that (only response I should have concerning this FACT), I am redeemed and somehow “born again.” This “born again” phrase could be akin to having my “heart’s operating code over-written” with His Laws in my mind and His Laws written in my heart.
Prayer: Please write your laws deeper in my mind and upon my heart, O God. Keep me from ever falling away and forgetting. You, O Lord, are my God and Savior.