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One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Jesse Tree Day 18

Instead, everyone will die for their own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.

“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.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:30-34

Jeremiah was the prophet know as the Weeping Prophet. He served the southern kingdom during the time from King Josiah (who we recently studied) through the time of the fall of Jerusalem. During his ministry, very few people listened to him. Instead he was mocked, tortured, imprisoned, and mistreated. At one point he is even carried away with other exiles to Egypt. He messages were mostly full of judgement and wrath to come for the way the people disregarded God’s laws.

God had established a promise with the people of Israel all the way back to the time of Moses (Deut. 6). Promises he made was an agreement to be kept, called a covenant. Some of the covenants that God made with people at various times were one-sided, like with Noah after the flood. Other people who God made covenants with were Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David.

To Abraham God made this covenant:

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3

He also made the same covenant to Isaac, and Jacob (later known as Israel). He would create a nation, a chosen people, and provide a place for them to live. The promise was then extended through Moses. They were to stop worshipping other gods. God would provide a sacrificial system for the people to follow as part of the covenant. They were to keep the laws and only worship God. In return God would take care of them, protect them, and would forgive their sins. If they broke the covenant, they would be sent away to exile.

It is on the heels of the exile that we find God foretelling of a new covenant to come. Under the old covenant, children would be punished for the sins of their parents. They were to make reminders of God’s law all around them to help them follow him more closely. Under the old covenant they would have to make sacrifices to appease the guilt of sin. But God had a plan in the works for something better.

Jesse Tree day 18

No longer would the people struggle to follow and keep God’s law. The New Covenant would be different.

The New Covenant would begin with the sacrifice the Jesus made on the cross. The Old covenant had established that a priest would make a sacrifice once a year that would pay for the people’s sins.

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11-12

Once the New Covenant was completed in Christ’s death and resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit to come as a seal of the New Covenant. I believe this is what Jeremiah is referring to in the prophecy above. No longer will we have to struggle to remember to keep the Law. No longer will we wonder or doubt. If a person has recognized the debt owed for sin and receives the forgiveness offered only through Jesus’ sacrifice, then the Spirit dwells within them. His job is to remind me of God’s laws and holiness.

“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

Salvation is for all, not only the promised people of Israel. The people of Israel were to be a light to the nations around them. God was willing to accept any who worshipped him, but rejected the people who didn’t, even his own. The New covenant offers forgiveness of sins, something the old covenant could never offer. Now all peoples are under the same obligation. The new covenant begins with this command:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:31

Family Devotion:

flour, tape, 2 dark-colored contraction paper or fabric, scrapbook paper pre taped to look like a cross the same size as the walking area, Bible and Ornament

Read the passage above in Jeremiah about the new covenant. Ahead of time tape off an area in your kitchen or bathroom that is longer than the distance your kids could jump (about 4 feet). Sprinkle flour all inside this taped off area, and place the dark paper at the other end. Explain that Moses gave the people of Israel the instructions for animal sacrifice. Although an animal was killed every year to wash away the wrongs they did, it was never a complete sacrifice. Have the kids try to get from one end of the flour to the other (where the black paper is) without getting flour on their feet. No matter how hard they try, they either can’t make it, or will step in the flour. The animal sacrifices never were enough. Jeremiah promised the people that a new Covenant was to come. With it, God would change their hearts. Cover the flour area with the “Jesus” paper and change the black piece to a clean piece. This time walk across, and you will have clean feet on the other side. Jesus sacrifice is the only one that can remove all our sins. Pray together, thanking God for the New Covenant. Then clean up the messy flour together.


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