Going Deeper 10-22-19

The first reading for Pentecost 20/Reformation Sunday…

Jeremiah 31:31-34   The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord.  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says 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.  No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.


This is a fascinating text for Reformation Sunday... one we read and reflected on a couple of weeks ago.  Today I want to focus on our need for ongoing reformation/transformation.


This is where “the house of Israel and the house of Judah” seem to have lost their way.  Sure, they were happy to be known as the people of God, and they were grateful—at least for a while—for all that God had done for them in the past.  And yet it seems as though they were more inclined to take it all for granted, and proved to be a forgetful people overall.  Instead of being moved by the incredible grace, love, and power of the One who saved them and entered into covenant with them, they wandered away, chasing after false gods and living self-centered lives, individually and collectively/nationally.  And when God called them through the prophets to repent and return to covenant living, they turned a deaf ear.  And the prophecy of Jeremiah is dominated by the gloom and doom that will result from their rebellion.


However, this section of Jeremiah, chapters 30-33, is known as “The Book of Consolation.”  In spite of Israel’s historic unfaithfulness, God will continue to be faithful and will not give up… on Israel and on His promises to save.  After a time of destruction and captivity, God will restore a remnant in Jerusalem and Judah, and from the remnant will come the Messiah/Savior.


As people who live on the other side of that promise, we know that God did indeed “make a new covenant”, with both Israel/Judah and then through Jesus with all of His children.  We are people of that New Covenant, redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  God has forgiven and forgotten our sin, just as He promised.  We are now called to have that reality change everything, starting with our hearts and lives.  The “law” that we are to have within us is the new law of love.  Inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we understand that we are in a constant mode of be re-formed, of being renewed into the people we were created to be, filled with love for God and others.


This reformation process is something we must be involved in.  We cannot do it without God, but God will not force it upon us.  We are called to seek the Lord… in His word, in prayer, in worship, and in service. 


Have a blessed Reformation!


With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."