Their God, My People
“FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM UPON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.” Hebrews 8:10-12
Well, we’re working through the last parts of the Hebrew writer’s quote from the prophet Jeremiah found in Jeremiah chapter 31. Here is that last section of verses referenced by the writer of Hebrews as found in the Old Testament in the NAS translation. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jer. 31:33-34
Last week we determined with help from a contemporary of Jeremiah’s, the prophet Ezekiel (Ezek. 36:24-27), that the superior benefit and the power to have the New Covenant “laws” written upon our hearts is predicated upon two things. The removing and replacing of the old heart of stone with a new heart (new creation), and receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit, both which occur according to the New Testament, in our immersion into Christ. In union with God’s word, the Spirit helps us to put the spiritual focus and principles in place internally (written on our “hearts”) that leads us to fulfill the requirement of the Law (Romans 8:4).
Today we address the result of the Law of Liberty being placed in the minds and etched upon the hearts of New Covenant spiritual Israel. It has to do with the statement, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” This, brethren, is a very significant proclamation emanating from the portals of heaven. The times it’s spoken is in reference to a covenant the LORD would make with His people, the house of Israel, to be their God.
The First Covenant-The Physical house
When the LORD sent Moses back to Egypt to deliver the nation Israel, he commanded Moses to tell the people this: “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.’ ” Ex. 6:6-8. The physical nation ransomed from Egypt is declared to be God’s people, and He, their God. Once delivered out of Egypt they were brought to Mt. Sinai. There a few more conditions were revealed by the LORD to Moses concerning His people. “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” (Ex 19:6-7). The people, once told what the LORD commanded, answered, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Ex. 19:8a)
The New Covenant-The Spiritual House
We know the record, they didn’t keep their word in promising to obey His. He no longer cared for them, which led to the prophesied New Covenant that spoke of a little housecleaning to come, and a move into a new spiritual neighborhood-the church, now the Israel of God. (Gal. 6:16) This house was the “dream home” the LORD had always planned and worked towards. A house fit for the King of Kings, those who would worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
Again, it’s worth a second look at Ezekiel’s prophetic utterance that we considered last week, however, we add one additional verse we left off. “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezek. 36:24-28)
Let’s see if we’ve got a pattern here. Like physical Israel, the Lord our God has redeemed us through outstretched arms-those of Christ Jesus upon the cross. He delivered us out of not just one nation, but all the nations, melding Jew and Gentile into one body, (Eph 2:16). He has declared we are His “own possession to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:14), and that we are “a royal priesthood and a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). He then in Christ lifted us and brought us to Him into the land promised to the forefathers of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That land defined later in the Hebrew letter as a heavenly country, a spiritual land (Heb. 11:16), Mt. Zion in heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22). Hear our Lord, Church! “They shall be My people, and I will be their God.” Amen!