Making sense of it all (part 7)

So it is clear that God was getting fed-up of the emptiness of the hearts of his people.

It's just like the little boy who continues to say sorry, but continues to misbehave. Or the repeat offender, or the persistent adulterer. The real purpose of the sacrifice was not the physical offering but the broken spirit and the contrite heart.

When we get to the prophet Jeremiah, God gives a big hint that he was soon to begin dealing with his people in a new way, in a way that would deal with the heart, rather than externalities. This is expounded in the prophecy of Jeremiah 31, that I've already looked at in the previous section. But it's definitely worth another look here.

"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers 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. "This is the covenant I will make with the house 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. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, '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."

God was going to deal with his people in a fresh new way. He was going to write his law on their heart. He was going to make a new covenant, a new deal, with the house of Israel and Judah (i.e. the Jews).

The previous covenant was the one he made to them through Moses, the one that comprises the Torah. But they broke this one, through their ungodly and unholy behaviour, in turning from their God to other gods, from their child sacrifices, their sexual deviances, their hardness and contrariness of heart.

As a result of this behaviour God was no longer pleased with their sacrifices, as mentioned earlier. Something new was needed, a New Covenant. This covenant, as you may have guessed, came into play through the efforts of Jesus of Nazareth.

To understand it, we move to a small room in a house in Jerusalem. It is Pesach time, a Seder Night. It was to be Jesus' last night on earth.