Updated: Jan 28
31 “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.
32 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.
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.
34 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.”
This is a reading designated for the fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B, which will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church on Sunday March 21, 2021. I write about this now because I recently heard the sermon of a Baptist minister (on television) and he referenced this reading while preaching about the prophecy of Malachi 3. Verse 32 of Jeremiah 31 struck me as important enough to write about now.
For anybody who has read my postings here, most of which are rather long, they will recognize that I have been saying how important it is to marry God. Marriage to God comes from a devotion and desire to learn from Scripture and prove to God (in some way unique to each individual) that one truly wants to please the Lord. That proof causes God to propose marriage, making one a bridesmaid (regardless of human gender). Marriage comes when God’s Holy Spirit merges with one’s soul. The product of that holy union (the most Holy Matrimony) is the rebirth of God’s Son (the resurrection of Jesus in the flesh of the one marrying God) and the reappearance of the Christ in the world (hopefully one of many).
When Jesus told the parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22:1-14), I explained that was God sending His Son out as a messenger to tell the Jews they were invited to finally marry God. Verse 32 here in Jeremiah 31 says why God the King had to prepare a great feast to celebrate that marriage coming through at long last (when Jesus came). It was to be the new covenant between God and His chosen people.
God said through Jeremiah: “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.”
That says it was always the plan for the Israelites to – each and every one – marry God and become His Son. That includes all the women too. When God said He was “a husband to them,” that condition of relationship never got tossed away. It is the only way to have God’s agreement “in their minds and written on their hearts.”
By God saying “I was a husband to them,” that statement says the children of Israel who followed Moses (another messenger of the Lord) were ALL His wives. The expectation of a marriage to God [the wedding ceremony was at Mt. Sinai, with the honeymoon lasting nearly forty years] is complete submission to His will. A husband not only takes a wife ‘to have and to hold [possess] from this day forward [forevermore]’ but that commitment means God was equally committed to loving and caring for His wife [males and females].
The purpose of marriage is a bond of exclusive togetherness. The Israelites became God’s chosen people in the same manner a husband says to a bride-to-be, “I choose you.” Being chosen marks the stomping on the glass, wrapped inside a napkin. Being chosen means the acceptance of being chose. Marriage is not about temporary togetherness. It is about ‘until death do you part,’ but when the marriage is to God it is about dying of self . Death then symbolizes the beginning that union, with physical death, when a soul is released from a body of flesh, being the time when the soul returns to be one with God.
Alas, since the old marriage agreement ended in adultery, therefore divorce for most of the Israelites and Judeans, God told Jeremiah, “I am a wealthy God. I am a king. I can afford many wives. So tell them I will take them back, but only after they prove their willingness to commit from day one.”
Since everyone knows what happened to the Judeans and Israelites of Jeremiah’s day, they left a trail of tears into Assyria and Babylon. It was collapse and ruin for them both. The same thing happened to the Jews of Jesus’ day, after they killed the messengers of God – Jesus and his Apostles (just like in the parable of the wedding feast). That leaves this prophecy still in effect for Christians, but Christians have to hear God speaking to them through Jeremiah, when he wrote: “I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Christians have to realize what God meant when He said, “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.” That means Christians are spawned from the new covenant. The are ‘day one’ brides [males and females]. The covenant is the marriage proposal and acceptance thereof. The taking by the hand is how an experienced husband takes a young bride and leads her through all the acts of marriage, which took place back then in a tent designed for making love. A good spiritual wife learns how to please his-her God. In return, a good husband never leaves His spiritual wives frustrated and wanting. God took His Israelite brides by the hand and wrote down everything they had to do to please Him.
Christians are not that naïve. They have all been around the block before … quite a few times. With ancestral roots that show family histories that have worshiped every god under the sun known to benefit mankind in some way, they are experienced ‘lovers.’ They heard about the many instructions Yahweh gave to His newbie wife and toss most of them away. They coo in the ear of God, “Let’s just stick to Ten Commandments sweetheart. I know what pleases a god.” However, God has not married any of those like that, even when they are who claim to be having and beholding His Messianic presence.
Christians – as the name implies – are already filled with God’s Holy Spirit and have given up their self-egos (the required sacrifice a bride makes, in order to take on the name of his-her husband) and been reborn as Jesus Christ. That makes them “Christians.” Thus, God said, “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.”
A Christian who cannot say, “I know the Lord,” remembering the Biblical meaning of “to know,” means one is not truly a Christian. To know the Lord is to have knowledge of Him within your flesh (the body of Christ). It is to feel that holy presence flowing through one’s being (the blood of Christ). One is a pagan whenever that knowledge is missing, much like is a fallen Jew today. Pretenders get in the long line of those who refused the invitation of the messenger [i.e.: Jesus], who said, “Hey the king wants to marry you! Put on your wedding gown and head over to the marriage tent. There will be food and drink served afterwards!”
Pagans have better things to do (or at least they think so). Christians only get to hear God whisper into their ears: “I will forgive your wickedness and will remember your sins no more.”
Who could ask for more?
God knows you were a filthy harlot before. God knows you cheated on Him time and time again. But, God knows a true heart is repentant and desiring a second chance at the total commitment of marriage. God knows the truth of how much one wants past sins forever washed clean by His Holy Spirit.
That is the new covenant promise. But, you have to be married to God to get that wedding present. You have to be a Christian; not one of those sneaking into the feast without a wedding dress on. Those only get booted out, with a whole lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth going on after that.
R. T. Tippett