October 25

Jeremiah 31:31-34

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says 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.” vs. 33

The Hebrews had come to believe that there was a special covenant between the Israelites and the Lord, and that the terms of that covenant had been laid out in the Law. According to Jeremiah, because of disobedience, that covenant no longer existed–a relationship based on the Law just doesn’t work! We know the truth of his words. Even though followers of Jesus are called to live by grace, we are regularly tempted to turn back to the Law as a way to order our lives and relationships. And it just doesn’t work! Oh, we can get children to obey with threats and punishment, but only temporarily. Once they grow up and leave home they do whatever they please, often the opposite of what their parents have taught. Jeremiah believed that we only become the people  God has created us to be when righteousness has been nurtured and internalized through unconditional love and regular forgiveness. And that works! We see it again and again. Children raised with love and mercy grow up to do good for goodness’ sake, and not because it’s a rule or a law. The image of God that is in their DNA blossoms and flourishes and they become what they’ve been created to be.

Thought for the Day: What’s the purpose of the Law?

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