When it comes to salvation, what we are hoping and pleading for is for God to change our hearts. When it comes to evangelism, we pray that God would do his sovereign heart-transplanting work in those around us. Then, give him the glory for it all.
Redemptive history is an amazing thing. You can see God’s goodness and grace run through the pages of Holy Scripture. Goodness and grace are inescapable realities.
You’d think God’s people would respond with gratefulness and thankfulness. And yet, God’s people, the very recipients of God’s goodness and grace, are all-too-often ungrateful, unthankful, and down-right rebellious. We can be pretty ridiculous at times, right?
We see this in the history of God’s old covenant people, the nation of Israel. Consider the exodus event. In a stunning display of power and grace, God delivers his people from Egyptian bondage. Then, he plants them in a land that flows with milk and honey. He warns them, however, that if they’re not careful, the abundant blessings they enjoy will cause them to forget their God. As you keep reading, that’s exactly what happens. They forsake God and worship idols.
Because of their rebellion, God eventually brings judgment to the nation. That’s a large part of the message of the book of Jeremiah. Judgment is coming because of sin. Over twenty chapters in Jeremiah (chapter 2–25) warn of judgment against Judah because of their sin.
Thankfully, judgment is not the only word in Jeremiah. Judgment is not the final word in any of the Prophets. There is always a scarlet thread of hope. That’s exactly what we see in our text. We land right in the middle of Jeremiah’s hope-filled section. In chapters 30–33, what scholars call the Book of Hope (or Consolation), we find God making new promises. He is going to restore his people (30:2) by establishing a new covenant.
Several elements make up this new covenant. But here is one of the biggest promises: God will work his law into the hearts of his new covenant people.
Humanity’s Heart Problem
Every person is born dead in their sins (Eph 2:1). We are not born spiritually alive. We are born with hearts of stone. Indeed, the LORD roots the issue of Israel’s disobedience in what he calls an “evil heart” (Jer 11:7–8). Ezekiel says, “But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart” (Ezek 3:7). Before Ezekiel, Moses says, “For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are” (Deut 31:27; cf. 29:19).