Readings for the Day
Isaiah 8-10, Hebrews 8
Verses for the Day
For if nothing had been wrong witH the first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said:
“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.
9 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 did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 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.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
The writer of Hebrews compares the old covenant of the Old Testament that God made with Abraham, Issac and Jacob; with the new covenant that was fulfilled through Jesus. So what was wrong with the old covenant? Why did the new covenant appear causing the old one to disappear?
The problem, as we see throughout the Old Testament, is that though God had promised to be their God and given them the Law to guide them, they consistently fell short. They continue to turn from the one, true God to serve other gods. The problem with the first covenant was that though God was faithful, His people weren't. They didn't have the power to obey.
While the old covenant was chiseled on stone tablets, the new covenant would be written on their hearts. God would remove their hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh. And most importantly they would "know" the Lord in a new way. With the old covenant only the Most Holy Priest could offer sacrifices on behalf of the people. He was the only one who could experience the presence of the Lord.
But the Old Testament prophesied about a new covenant where God would write the law on His people's hearts. Instead of a high priest offering up an innocent lamb, God sent His only Son to die for our sins so that we would be forgiven once and for all. And the difference is that through the sacrifice Jesus made we can know God personally. To "know" means an intimate relationship and a fellowship that is not broken by sin.
These are the reasons the new covenant Jesus brought to all people is far superior to the old covenant. But the problem is we constantly want to go back to the old covenant. We want to be justified by keeping the law, rather than trusting in the only One who has kept the Law.
Sadly many who would call themselves a Christian might not know what it is like to "know" God. Though God desires an intimate relationship with us, we all too often settle for an arms-length relationship with Him. We see our relationship of keeping a few rules at our own discretion. We are back in control, but never experience "amazing grace" which sets us free.