Saturday 27 March 2021

Bible Book:

‘I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.’ (v. 33)

Jeremiah 31: 31-34 Saturday 27 March 2021

Psalm 18:25-30


In the verses preceding today’s reading, the theme of the previous few days continues with the promise of restoration and justice for the people of Israel. In verse 31 Jeremiah shifts gear to a new theme, no longer about mere restoration, but instead the promise of something new. It is the promise of a new covenant between God and the people of Israel and Judah.

Christians will read this as a prophecy of the covenant fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But we should be careful not to read too much into Jeremiah’s meaning at the time of writing. For him the new covenant is between God and the people of Israel and Judah, and there is no mention of anyone else. It would have been a totally new and unexpected thing for Jeremiah for this covenant to be between Gentiles and God.

The idea of a covenant between God and God’s people resonates with the ideas about God’s faithfulness towards God’s people in the readings this week. Jeremiah uses the metaphor of a marriage to describe the word 'covenant', explaining that he House of Israel broke the covenant even though God was the ‘husband’. Marriage was seen as a patriarchal institution in which it was unheard of and illegal for a wife to divorce her husband.

This covenant is new because God’s laws are now written within the people on their hearts and it does not need to be taught because people already have it within them. This contrasts with the Ten Commandments which were written on tablets of stone in Exodus 20 or the commandments of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 which were to be taught to children, written on door posts, and bound to hands and foreheads.


To Ponder:

  • What new thing might God be doing today?
  • What does it mean to have God’s laws written on our hearts?
  • How helpful or unhelpful to you is the metaphor of marriage to describe the covenant between God and God’s people?
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