I spent a lot of time on the deer stand this weekend, pondering life. I read my bible and prayed. Charles Stanley once asked something to the order of, “How do you hear from God?” He then asked if it was through prayer or other people or the bible. He said our most effective and best source was the bible because that was direct, intentional revelation of God for our lives. Of course, prayer and wise counsel are all important, but we often don’t hear from God through these. Furthermore, it is often very difficult to separate our emotions and desires from the whisper of God.
I find this to be true. When I am troubled, I go to my bible. I have come to trust it. There are times when I will simply open my bible and, BAM!, a verse or passage hits me like a bus. Other times, it simply brings me peace. In no circumstance does it ever leave me thinking I have wasted my time. I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you that sometimes God’s word to me is very, very troubling and creates far more questions than answers, but it also leaves me with the promise and assurance that everything I need to know is there if I keep digging. Such was the case Saturday afternoon as I sat in my stocking feet enjoying a beautiful fall afternoon. Truth be told, I was figuratively laid out flat by one single verse that hit me out of nowhere. I didn’t see it coming and certainly wasn’t expecting it. Yet, here I am today still dealing with it and will continue for some time to come.
I say this only to encourage you to seek wisdom in the pages of scripture. Yes, we learn principles for guidance in our daily life, but the bible also has the supernatural ability to reveal God’s specific intention for our life – specific situations at specific times. This revelation is perfect because it is God’s Spirit connecting directly to yours. You’ll know that you know that you know. That kind of deal.
But, today I want to talk about ANOTHER passage that God opened my eyes to in a brand-new way and gave me great joy all weekend – and still does today. I know I’m not going to be able to put to words the magnitude, beauty, and love of God that He revealed to me in this passage. Even so, I’m going to put it here so that perhaps God will touch you with it as he did me.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares 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. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
This is known as the New Covenant. It appears again in Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:26-27 and Hebrews 8:8-12. Let’s look at the second one of Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 36:26-17 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put 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 be careful to obey my rules.
The “Old” Covenant was between God and the Hebrews. It was a promise that things will go well with them – provided they obey all his statutes. Of course, we all know that they didn’t, time and time again. I’m not critical of them because I was the same way. Over and over again. And again. And again.
God had another plan, all along, that changed everything. It involved Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It involved the “Born Again” experience that none of us can explain the who, what, where, and whys of. “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) This passage brings great relief knowing it is a one-sided agreement. It is not conditional. That is a good thing. A very, very good thing.
My heart is still desperately wicked, yet I am not the man I used to be. God has changed me from the inside out. I know he has written his law on my heart. Sin no longer has the appeal it once did. My whole outlook on life has changed. I know that God is my God. Deep down I know that, and I am very, very glad he is. I am a sinner that God has chosen as his own. Why? I have no clue. He just has.
That’s really, really good news, folks. Seize upon it.
Father, I am that man David wrote about in the first Psalm. What can I say besides thank you? Thank you. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers