God is love–but He is also God of justice. His rebuke can lay waste to nations; He lays bare our very lives! Hebrews 4:12-13, 14-16 (I always include 14-16 because of the context–it’s not as dire as one might think)
24 What the wicked dread [God] will overtake them; what the righteous desire [God] will be granted.
29 The way of the LORD is a refuge for the blameless [those in Christ], but it is the ruin of those who do evil [go their own way].
As I was reading Jeremiah, I came upon this verse:
Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Discipline me, LORD, but only in due measure–not in Your anger, or You will reduce me to nothing. Jeremiah 10:23-24
Jeremiah lives 600+ years before Christ came, yet he knew God intimately. In fact, God chose him to serve Him before Jeremiah was even born and called him to serve as a prophet at a young age (Jeremiah 1:4-10). Jeremiah’s relationship was built upon the Old Covenant. Ours is different. Let’s look at those differences:
Old Covenant- “Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, ‘Obey Me.’ But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.” Jeremiah 11:6-8. The OC is built upon obedience, but people still had evil hearts.
New Covenant- “If you love me, keep my commands.” “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:23-26 The NC is built upon obedience, too, but now, we have the Spirit of God living in us! Also, we have changed hearts, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:26-27. Jeremiah put it this way, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7.
What else did Jeremiah say?
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again [in the church], and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt [through the church].” Jeremiah 31:3-4
“This is the [new] covenant I will make with the people of Israel [and all who believe] 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
“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it–the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'” Jeremiah 33:2-3
Folks, that’s the LORD calling us! Let’s answer today. Read His Word. Call on His name. Obey His commands. Be full of inexpressible joy!
Abba, I take great comfort and get downright excited when I read in the Old Testament what you were going to do in the New Covenant! It blows me away to think of the scope of Your love and Your plans for humanity. I want to be a part of Your story, LORD. How may I help? I will be walking right alongside You today. Just let me know. Amen.