Jeremiah 31:31-37 - Unchanging Goal
The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Yes, and no.
Read / Listen
Read Jeremiah 31:31-37
CONTEXT: This passage comes at a dark time for Israel. The judgment God foretold to Jeremiah in yesterday's passage - that Israel would be exiled for forgetting God's holiness - was about to become reality. But even on the cusp of disaster comes the promise of hope for God's people.
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 fathers
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.”
35 This is what the Lord says,
he who appoints the sun
to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
so that its waves roar—
the Lord Almighty is his name:
36 “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,”
declares the Lord,
“will Israel ever cease
being a nation before me.”
37 This is what the Lord says:
“Only if the heavens above can be measured
and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject all the descendants of Israel
because of all they have done,”
declares the Lord.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 122
Q. What does the first
A. “Hallowed be your name” means,
Help us to really know you,
to bless, worship, and praise you
for all your works
and for all that shines forth
your almighty power, wisdom,
kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.
And it means,
Help us to direct all our living—
what we think, say, and do—
so that your name will never
be blasphemed because of us
but always honored and praised.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This old adage has proven itself true time and time again. The pattern of God's people has been familiar and consistent: peril overtakes them and they cry out to God for rescue; God hears their prayers and delivers them to freedom; after a short interlude of faithfulness, the subsequent generations fall back into sin and God allows peril to overtake them until they once again cry out in repentance.
But this time it would be different. Not the part about Israel falling into sin and invoking judgment upon themselves... that part is just as consistent as ever. But this time God's not going to rescue and restore them to the same old thing. He's going to break the pattern. The old covenant, in which the people would fulfill their obligation to God by keeping the laws He handed down through Moses, had never really worked. Sinful people can't be made holy by following rules.
God would be faithful to His people. That part won't change either; as we saw a couple of weeks ago reading Daniel, God's people would repent, return and rebuild. But things would be different this time. A new covenant would be coming, one that would fulfill the old Mosaic covenant and bring true freedom to God's people.
This time God's law will be put in our minds, and written on our hearts. This new covenant would restore the purpose you were created for in the first place, in which you truly know God, so that you can "bless, worship, and praise Him for all of His works (HC 122)" for all eternity.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. God gave the same promise to Jeremiah that He gave to Adam, Abraham, Moses, David and many others. It's the same promise He gives to you: He will be your God, and we will be His people (v33).
When you pray the words "hallowed be your name," or words similar to it, you're praying that God will continue to make good on His promise to complete the purpose He created you for. As the Catechism puts it, you're praying "Help me to really know you."
Praying that the Father's name be hallowed both acknowledges God's holiness - His perfection and separateness from creation - and it aligns your life with His will. You're not praying that God's name will be hallowed in general, because it already is and always has been. What you're praying is that His name will be hallowed in your life, so that all of your living - what you think, say, and do - will honor and praise God.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our faithful covenant Father, who has put His law in your heart and written it upon your mind;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God's name will be hallowed in your life;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 2 Thessalonians 1