Day 9

Reminder of the Covenant

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


Jeremiah 10:1-25, Jeremiah 11:1-23, Proverbs 1:1-7, Hebrews 12:5-11

BY Melanie Rainer

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It is my happiest place, but every once in a while my culinary ambitions do not match the contents of my cupboards, and I have to make substitutions. A little of this substituted for a little of that is usually no big deal in the world of spices and splashes, but when it comes to baking (my very favorite thing to do), substitutions can mean utter disaster.

Chemical reactions between ingredients are the key to successful bread, cookies, or just about any delicious baked thing. One of my favorite cake batters is made with a heavy dose of baking soda and, at the last minute, a big splash of vinegar. It bubbles into the oven, where it creates the loveliest, airiest cake you can imagine.

Natural law governs chemical reactions; they are always the same. Vinegar and baking soda will always bubble up. Living yeast and warm water will do the same. A splash of vinegar will sour milk, and oil and water won’t mix on their own. There are generally no substitutes for these reactions when it comes to baking. Figuratively, this is the underlying principle found in Jeremiah 10–11: There is no substitute for the steadfast, unchanging God. He can only be who He is and do what is in His nature to do.

The truth Jeremiah prophesies is always the same: The promise God made is steadfast, unchangeable, and true, because the one who promised it is steadfast, unchangeable, and true. “You will be my people, and I will be your God,” is found through the whole of Scripture: when God makes His covenant with Abram (Genesis 17), when God tells Moses to confront Pharaoh (Exodus 6), during the giving of the law (Leviticus 26), and multiple times here, within the book of Jeremiah. Paul repeats it in 2 Corinthians 6, and it appears in Revelation 21, with a definitive promise for all time: “They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God” (v.3).

This is the covenant promise that will never change. I can imagine Jeremiah weeping with desperation as he wrote the beautiful words that testify to the Lord’s sovereignty and promise:

“He made the earth by his power, established the world by his wisdom,
and spread out the heavens by his understanding… he is the one who formed all things.
Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of Armies is his name” (Jeremiah 10:12,16).

There is no substitute for the Lord of Armies. His reactions to the sins of His people are not separate from His steadfast, unchangeable love. He’d called them to obey Him and follow His commands, which were a kindness to them, part of the covenant promise (Jeremiah 11:4). But that’s not necessarily how the Israelites saw things. When Jeremiah writes of the stiff-necked Israelites who have repeatedly turned away from God, he writes confidently of how the Lord will act “because they had not done what [He] commanded them to do” (v.8).

The book of Jeremiah shows God’s justice and love: how His perfect character demands perfect righteousness, and how His love for His people is unfailing. Jeremiah didn’t know how that promise would culminate hundreds of years later on the cross where Jesus died, taking on every ounce of God’s just anger and every molecule of God’s perfect love. It is a gift to cling to the steadfast promises of our unchanging God, who is always, perfectly, unchangingly good.

Post Comments (43)

43 thoughts on "Reminder of the Covenant"

  1. Linda G says:

    Praying for all the SRT folks in Nashville.

    1. Stephanie Early says:

      Yes! Praying everyone is safe!

  2. Meagan says:

    Today’s reading really impressed upon me the amazing sacrifice of Jesus’s death on the cross. Israel gave God so much grief and turned away from Him so many times. Even when He was so angry He wanted to cut them off, He still remembered His promise to them and sent His son to die for them. What amazing love!

  3. Ashley White says:

    ❤️

  4. NanaK says:

    As I am reading my devotions this morning, I’m sitting outside in our gazebo. The cool morning breeze is blowing, the birds are singing all around me, and fluttering about our feeders. There are beautiful, one hundred year old oak trees blowing in the breeze, cows in our neighbors pasture, and sheep in ours. It is easy to see, hear and feel God’s magnificence about me. His creation is beautiful and perfect.”…the LORD is the true GOD; HE is the living GOD and eternal KING.” (Jer. 10:10) And yet, I am also in the midst of the craziness of the world every day and it is often difficult to see Him there. LORD, I pray that I will never loose my awe and wonder of your amazing, beautiful creation. I pray that YOUR light will shine brightly through me in this dark world. Please forgive me, FATHER when I am “stiff-necked” and drawn in by the idols the world has to offer. I pray that I will recognize and accept YOUR discipline when it is necessary and grow in wisdom and closeness to you from it. AMEN

  5. Lisa Z says:

    “Praying today for a renewed awe of God, a fresh recalling of all He has done for me, a humility bonded with gratitude. Lord, give me a deeper respect for who you are.” Thanks for that Churchmouse. In humble tears here. So glad to know Him. Yet I struggle this morning as I get ready to go out to see a friend whose husband is so selfish and annoying. I judge. I get bothered. I forget my job is to shine His light. I get lost in self-righteous crap instead of wallowing in gratitude that I know Him. That I am His. That I am to minister to this hurting world, not just those to whom I FEEL like ministering. Lord, thank You that sometimes I get a flicker of Your heart for this hurting world. Sometimes, I can put down my crap and shine You. Thank You for the encouragement I find here. May I be Your hands and feet today to all I meet, especially George!

  6. Dorothy Hecimovich says:

    Help me to welcome your discipline as a sign of your love. I want to know your ways and live in your boundaries. Help me, for my human nature wanders just as the Israelites of old. Thank you Lord for your love embodied in Jesus that gives us eternal hope and a relationship with you, since he took on our judgement.

    1. Summer Chavez says:

      Amen!

  7. Nancy Singleton says:

    Thank you for your faithfulness Lord. And thank you that you have not yet lost patience with your rebellious creation, condemning all who disobey once & for all. Praying for those who don’t know you, or who are just doing life their own way, oblivious to the peace, love, comfort & strength that you alone offer.

  8. Melissa Waterson says:

    What a wonderful devotional to go along with today’s reading!

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