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. Sarita Cochran says:

    Amen. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thank you Lord for your Love, Lessons, and Discipline.

  2. Camille English Davis says:


  3. Sara Terry says:

    The word “steadfast” is one that I’ve read millions of times without absorbing its meaning , so this baking analogy has really brought the meaning home for me ! God is unchanging … like a parent who may have to use different means of discipline to shape His child , His means of shaping me may change , but the overarching purpose is steadfast ! I pray I can remember this lesson when I go through trials where Gods method of shaping me may seem unfair .

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      Yes and amen, Sara! Me too ❤️

  4. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I wouldn’t take for granted how amazing God is. That he is My friend and savior, but he is also God and creator. He made the heavens and controls the waves. Let me lean on his guidance and obey his voice.

  5. Margaret Lindsey says:

    I am so grateful for this community to be reading with. It would be hard for me to read Jeremiah on my own..but now look forward to seeing how others here apply it in relation to salvation through Jesus. Thank you for the devotional and everyone’s comments. Grateful for you, sisters!

    1. Heidi Velez says:

      I feel the same way! I’ve been doing the book on my own and have really struggled some days with the heaviness of it all. It feels like the world around us echoes the heaviness. I know that God brings beauty from ashes and is bigger than anything in the world. I decided to take a look at the digital version as well feeling the community of women would be a welcome support <

  6. Dorothy says:

    “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.” Melanie said it all in these two sentences I believe. God sent his son Jesus Christ to die because of His “just anger and every molecule of” His “perfect love.” I want some of that perfect love and I pray that my sins be forgiven.

  7. Brooke Clark says:

    As a parent, the idea of discipline resonates with me in a strong way. Often, my sons have a hard time understanding in the moment why I’m not allowing them to do or have something, or why I’m giving them a consequence for something they’ve done or not done, but as the parent, I have a more broad perspective and have the longer game in mind, and I’m disciplining out of love and expectation for high potential. How often do I doubt that God is “parenting” me in this same way?!

  8. Alexis says:

    I haven’t read the scripture yet for today’s reading but so far this study has truly awakened me to the deep rootedness of my sin and the deep love of God for us His people. The “tough love” He administers which in the end is for our benefit, even though in the midst of it we can’t see how. This study is calling me to quiet and let go of trying to “fix” the errors in my way and allow His grace to permeate every crooked way in me. My sacrifice for Lent is letting go of myself…and it is more challenging than I imagined, truly an easier to say than do thing. But I am doing it regardless of how uncomfortable it makes me feel. May we all learn to let go during this study and allow God to lead us where His will is best. Amen.

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