“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.” Jeremiah 31:33 (Full context: Jeremiah 31:1-34)
The nation of Israel whom God had brought out of captivity from the land of Egypt was living in sin. And they had gone away from God to follow their own sinful ways violating God's law over and over as mentioned in Jeremiah 32: 33 "And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face; thought I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction." So, God moved the kingdom of the North (Babylon) to plot against Israel to capture it in battle. They would plunder the land, utterly destroy it and burn it with fire to the ground. Men, women, children, animals all alike would go through this great calamity that was to befall Israel. This is the message that God asks the prophet Jeremiah to proclaim to Israel. A message of calamity, sadness and admonition. He is aptly known as the 'Weeping Prophet' signifying the message he carried. God had always modeled the life of prophets to reflect what God himself was going through at that point in time. In case of Jeremiah, it was God weeping over Israel's sin and the consequences it would have and the ordeal Israel would have to go through as a punishment for their sins. God wept, so Jeremiah also wept over Israel. So also, God weeps over our sins. He mourns over the consequences it can have on us.
The Holy God
We can see here that God is going through a conflict within Himself. On one hand, He cannot deny His own nature of being a Holy God who doesn't let sin go unpunished. If He chooses to ignore sin, He becomes a lawless and unjust God. But He is not. So, he has to chastise Israel for its sins as mentioned in Jeremiah 30: 11 - "But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished". And the punishment of Israel was great as mentioned in Jeremiah 30:12 - "Your affliction is incurable, your wound is severe. There is no one to plead your cause, that you may be bound up". But even such a severe punishment is just a foreshadow of what would happen to someone who is separated from God eternally.
The Loving God
On the other hand, God loved Israel dearly - Jeremiah 31:3 - "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;". He expresses His love to Israel by sending his prophet Jeremiah as mentioned in Jeremiah 26: 2 - "Thus says the LORD; 'Stand in the court of the LORD's house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word. Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings'". But the people of Israel did not let go of their evil ways. They would try to kill Jeremiah for the message he proclaimed. So, God had to give them up into the hands of Babylon. Israel remained rebellious and sinful.
God's love, that is in equal measure to His holiness, prompts Him to make a promise of a new covenant, as mentioned in Jeremiah 31:33 - "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." God still intends to be the God of a sinful, rebellious nation of Israel which symbolizes the fallen human race. He does it by not diminishing the law, but upholding it and writing it on our hearts.
Fulfillment of God's Promise
God fulfills this promise by giving His own Son to the world who would be a sacrifice for our sins that separates us from God. With Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf, we can now have a relationship with God and can keep God's law joyfully. The holiness and love of God have their culmination in the person of Jesus hanging on the cross. At the cross, God condemns sin and with open arms welcomes a sinner to a relationship with Him and to walk in holiness.
~Raja Jeswanth Inagalur
Ornament Credit: Kirti Jeswanth Inagalur