BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares 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. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:33,34 ESV
The distinguishing hallmark of Christianity from any other religion or system of belief is relationship. World religions focus on knowledge, they focus on what you are to “do.” They focus on manipulating spiritual forces. Faith in Christ is about not knowledge of God, but “knowing” God in a personal relationship.
Jesus told His disciples, “….I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15 ESV)
In the Old Testament the focus was on what the people were to know “about” God. the focus was on the commandments “written in stone.” But they were never embraced and understood as a path to entering into relationship with this all-powerful, yet merciful God. There was a need for a “reset” – a new approach or understanding.
The Lord would use 70 years of captivity. Back into slavery for God’s people for them to be freed once again into a new beginning. God’s desire was to erase from their hearts their longing for “other gods.” God’s desire was for them to really “know” Him. Not just know “about” Him, but to have a relational a “knowing” that goes beyond distance and reflects closeness and intimacy.
These verse in Jeremiah are a foreshadow of that which would find final and full fulfillment in the cross. That is when the “new covenant” would come into existence through the sacrificial death of Christ as the “Lamb of God.” As the ultimate sacrifice for sin.
Relationship is reflected in connection. “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” So often we see the “Old Testament God” as an historic God. We see it in the words, “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” We see in references to “the God of my fathers.” Real change come when the God who one knows about, is the God who forms their personal identity. When “their God” become “my God.”
Relationship is reflected in “knowing.” “….they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest….” We know about historic figures by what others teach us. We know of others that we are not connected to by the words and experiences of others. But when we have a personal relationship with someone, we don’t need someone else to tell us about that person.
Relationship is reflected in forgiveness. “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Those we are connected with in relationship are special recipients of our forgiveness and grace. Friends understand. Friends forgive. Friends do not give up on each other.
It took thousands of years, yet still many don’t understand what the Lord has been trying to communicate through the eons. He is a God who is there. He is a God who forgives and invites us to enter into a personal relationships of trust and commitment. He is committed to us. The challenge becomes our commitment to him.
Prayer for today….. Lord thank You for relationship with You. Help us to keep and open heart and to respond to You not from “fear of the unknown” but from truly knowing and living in You.