Summary: An encouraging passage in Jeremiah envisions the better world that is to come.
1. Israel has a checkered history of renewed commitments and broken promises.
- Look up examples of this pattern:
a. Deuteronomy 6:4-9. (Positive.)
b. Judges 2:1-3. (Negative.)
c. 1 Kings 8:54-65. (Positive.)
d. 1 Kings 16:25-26. (Negative.)
2. The church age brought laws written on hearts, not stones.
- Jeremiah 31:33b.
- This shows up as a NT promise: Hebrews 10:15-18.
- This is something that we experience as Christians. God is working within us, both through the changing our hearts in salvation as well as the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. This is a vast improvement over the Old Testament system. This gives us opportunity to actually live out what God has asked us to.
- There are many ways that the church age is an improvement over what was before. Just to cite three:
a. A clear message of God’s love through the cross.
b. The presence of the Holy Spirit within each believer.
c. The ongoing support of like-minded believers.
3. This passage is not about the church, but about Israel.
- Jeremiah 31:33a.
- While this Jeremiah 31 passage is cited in Hebrews 10 toward what God is doing in Christian lives, there is another dimension to what is being discussed here. The passage mentions Israel, not just the church. Now, it is possible that the passage is meant to be interpreted to understand the church as the “new Israel” and that is as far as we should take it. I doubt this, though, because the original hearers would have understood this to refer to Israel as a people.
- I do not think that this means that every Israelite who has ever lived will now passionately follow God. For those who have lived their lives, their die is cast. No, this refers to those alive at that time. There will be a time when all of Israel living will be in this condition. It’s an amazing and glorious thought.
- We are not told exactly when this will be. Of course, there has been speculation down through the years as to when it refers to. That is interesting, but I think we can say that we can leave it alone today. Let’s just leave it to say that it will happen when it happens.
- This is worth pondering because many people have the impression that the Bible teaches that Israel messed up and now God has moved onto the church. It is certainly true that God has “put Israel on the shelf” temporarily (Romans 11) while He works through the church, but that chapter ends with the stirring conclusion that God will renew His work with Israel and bring it to the result we see here.
4. There will be a time when all Israel will have God’s truth within them.
- This is a beautiful vision of the world as it will be someday.
- There are so many things that we get to set aside through this: crime, fear, poverty, hunger, addiction, cruelty, abuse, etc.
CONCLUSION: This is one of the reasons that we are a people of hope.
- Even in this world that is populated with sadness and tragedy, we hold onto hope for a better tomorrow. We believe that we are heading toward a world that will be more wonderful than the one we presently live in.
- We believe in this world that is painted for us here. A world where Christ rules as He should. A world where people are eager to do what is right. A world where the world is finally as it should be.
- This gives us hope. Yes, things are not the way we want them to be now, but that doesn’t mean they are always going to be that way.