The Prophet Jeremiah brings us God’s promise of the New Covenant that was coming, and is now here in Jesus Christ. In the passage we read this week, it would be easy to mistake this promise as being one made to the Israelites alone. But what we see leading up to this passage shows us that this is quite prophetic for our lives as well.
God’s love for us is on full display; His compassion for all is evident in who He seeks to console and gather in. We hear God calling out to Rachel in her distress and Ephraim who had turned away from God. Whoever feels lost, even if they have intentionally strayed, is being called back to God.
This is in keeping with the way every one of God’s Covenants had worked before. In Jeremiah, we hear it put quite simply: “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.” This has always been the way, which God carried out faithfully, though we have always strayed. But what God proclaims is coming is a new way for this to come about, the way we have known God in our Lives:
“I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.”
In Christ, we know God more completely, because we see the depth of His love for us. In that complete gift to us, the sacrifice made for us, and restoring us to Life in the Resurrection, we were finally able to understand what the Covenants meant. Then we see what this New Covenant calls us to, the loving response we must make to God. God is still faithful, even when we don’t live up to it. And when we stray, He now calls us back individually, by His Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts always.