"Knowing God's Promises in our Hearts"
I love the language of learning the Bible “by heart.” It’s the perfect way to describe the value we place on Scripture by understanding the importance of centering our lives on God’s promises. As we move into the Christmas season, think of the many verses in the Christmas story that you’ve committed to memory and how each of those verses adds immense value to your Christmas celebrations.
This is the sort of day the prophet Jeremiah envisioned when he offered God’s people a vision of the coming time when their lives would be completely aligned with God’s covenant. However, at the time Jeremiah spoke these words, the people could hardly hold up their heads because of the shame and embarrassment of their exile in Babylon. By this time it was evident why such calamity had come upon the people. They had not hidden God’s law “in their hearts.” They had not kept God’s commandments. They had not lived into God’s expectations. Consequently, the trials and tribulations they began experiencing were the results of their own rebellion against God.
But the good news is that God would not hold their sins against them forever. Because of their realization of how they had brought their suffering upon themselves, Jeremiah pointed the people to a new day that was around the corner. This new day involved a “new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31 NIV) that would be written not on tablets of stones but “on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33 NIV), where they could not forget it. It would be a covenant that would result in God working to “forgive their wickedness” (Jeremiah 31:34 NIV) so that the people could live in lasting peace in which their city would “never again be uprooted or demolished” (Jeremiah 31:40 NIV).
This new covenant came to pass in Jesus. Jesus, whose name means “God is our Salvation” (Matthew 1:21), came to fulfill God’s redemptive promises and to provide those who trust in Him with confidence and security. This covenant was universal in scope, providing “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10 ESV). Jesus’ coming was not intended to abolish the Law; instead His ministry was to work toward its fulfillment (Matthew 5:17).
As we move nearer to Christmas, this would be a good time to reflect upon those special verses that comprise the Christmas story. Pick out one or two that you might commit to heart. Allow those verses to move you closer to God and inspire you to be more committed to His purposes. Then, you will know the confidence God desires you to have as you go through everyday life and the hope, peace, love, and joy that this special season holds for all who would receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
Jeremiah 31:31-40 (ESV):
The New Covenant
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
35 Thus says the LORD,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the LORD of hosts is his name:
36 “If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the LORD,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”
37 Thus says the LORD:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the LORD.”
38 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when the city shall be rebuilt for the LORD from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the LORD. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”