We have seen in previous studies that Israel entered into covenant agreements with Yahweh at Sinai, Moab and Shechem, committing to obey and have Yahweh as their God, and to be His people (Exodus 19:5-9, 24:3-8, Deuteronomy 26:16-19, 27:1-10, 29:1, 10-15, 31:24-26, Joshua 24:14-28).
On each occasion the people of Israel swore an oath and committed themselves in a covenant relationship to take Yahweh as their God (their only God), to obey and to serve Him and to keep the covenant.
Even during this time Yahweh knew that they would fail in their promises and commitments, and that a covenant of a different kind, a ‘new’ covenant would be required in the future.
Deuteronomy 31:16-20 WEB
Yahweh said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers; and this people will rise up, and play the prostitute after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come on them; so that they will say in that day, Haven’t these evils come on us because our God is not among us?
18 I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evil which they shall have worked, in that they are turned to other gods.
19 Now therefore write you this song for you, and teach you it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore to their fathers, flowing with milk and honey, and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and grown fat; then will they turn to other gods, and serve them, and despise me, and break my covenant.
Deuteronomy 31:26-29 WEB
Take this book of the law, and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of Yahweh your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.
27 For I know your rebellion, and your stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, you have been rebellious against Yahweh; and how much more after my death?
28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to witness against them.
29 For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will happen to you in the latter days; because you will do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.
Joshua 24:19-24 WEB
Joshua said to the people, You can’t serve Yahweh; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your disobedience nor your sins.
20 If you forsake Yahweh, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after that he has done you good.
21 The people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve Yahweh.
22 Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen you Yahweh, to serve him. They said, We are witnesses.
23 Now therefore put away, [said he], the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to Yahweh, the God of Israel.
24 The people said to Joshua, Yahweh our God will we serve, and to his voice will we listen.
Why would the people be unfaithful and break the covenant and turn from Yahweh, bringing all the curses upon themselves?
Deuteronomy 29:4 WEB
but Yahweh has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, to this day.
Will that be the end of it for Israel?
Deuteronomy 30:1-8 WEB
It shall happen, when all these things are come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where Yahweh your God has driven you,
2 and shall return to Yahweh your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul;
3 that then Yahweh your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where Yahweh your God has scattered you.
4 If [any of] your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back:
5 and Yahweh your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.
6 Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.
7 Yahweh your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.
8 You shall return and obey the voice of Yahweh, and do all his commandments which I command you this day.
Is this the ‘new covenant’ that Jeremiah later foretold?
Jeremiah 31:31-33 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:
Jeremiah 24:6-7 WEB
For I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Yahweh: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
Notice a few important points here:
The covenant is to be made with Israel (northern 10 tribes) and Judah (southern tribes), ‘Israel’ in total.
It is a ‘new’ covenant – Strongs 2319: a fresh new thing in both time and quality.
Different from (not like) the one they broke.
Yahweh’s law would be within them, upon their hearts.
They will turn to Yahweh with their whole hearts.
Is this what Yahweh said in Deuteronomy?
Deuteronomy 30:6 WEB
Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.
Is this confirmed elsewhere?
Jeremiah 32:37-41 WEB
Behold, I will gather them out of all the countries, where I have driven them in my anger, and in my wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them again to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
38 and they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
40 and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from following them, to do them good; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me.
41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.
(Notice: an everlasting covenant)
Ezekiel 37:23-27 WEB
neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 They shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, in which your fathers lived; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, forever: and David my servant shall be their prince for ever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore.
27 My tent also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
(Notice: an everlasting covenant of peace)
Hosea 2:18-20 WEB
In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, And with the birds of the sky, And with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, And will make them lie down safely.
19 I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.
20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; And you shall know Yahweh.
(Notice: this covenant will involve the creatures of creation)
Isaiah 61:8-9 WEB
For I, Yahweh, love justice, I hate robbery with iniquity; and I will give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which Yahweh has blessed.
Ezekiel 11:16-20 WEB
Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Whereas I have removed them far off among the nations, and whereas I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them a sanctuary for a little while in the countries where they are come.
17 Therefore say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18 They shall come there, and they shall take away all the detestable things of it and all the abominations of it from there.
19 I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;
20 that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Ezekiel 16:59-60 WEB
For thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will also deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant.
60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish to you an everlasting covenant.
Ezekiel 36:24-28 WEB
For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.
28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
History and the biblical record show that the people of Israel, as predicted, failed to keep the covenants they entered into with Yahweh their God. As told beforehand they went into idolatry etc and brought all the curses prescribed in the covenants upon themselves, being defeated, enslaved, deported – many lost completely out of the land and scattered amongst the nations of the world. But this wasn’t to be the end for God’s people – Yahweh has a ‘new covenant’ for them, a covenant that will impact the whole of creation.
We will continue to explore this and learn more of the ‘new covenant’ in the next part of this series.