The days are coming... do those words create a feeling of joy for you? Well, I'm excited every time I read those words.
The dreaded exile had happened. The majority of the children of Israel had been taken away to Babylon. The chosen nation of priests were now slaves to a heathen country.
To their horror, Jeremiah had prophesied that the exile would last 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10). They would never see their beloved Jerusalem again. They would die slaves.
But God had a message of hope. He still loves them (Jeremiah 31:3). He will restore them to their position of great favor (Jeremiah 31:4).
He's making a new covenant with the children of Israel. Yes, they broke the old one ... even though God was faithful ... but God is willing to forgive and provide new hope for the Israelites.
What's a covenant?
We usually understand this word to mean "promise". But it's so much more than that. A covenant is a contract between two or more persons. In other words, it's a legal agreement. In a court of law, a person who breaks a covenant has broken the law.
The children of Israel had broken the agreement that they made with the Almighty God. God had the right to take legal actions against them. But instead He offers grace.
To answer this question we have to go all the way back to Genesis 3:15. After the fall, God made a promise to Adam and Eve:
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
The salvation of the world was promised in the garden of Eden. It would be some time before God manifested the promised Seed, but God's timing is perfect.
What about the covenant with Abraham?
We all know 'Father Abraham'. The centenarian who had the son that he waited over twenty years for. That one son became the father of 12 twelves - an entire nation of people.
God displayed how capable He was of keeping His promises. He also proved once again that He does things in His own time and will not be held captive to man's agenda.
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Jeremiah 31:33)
God had given the children of Israel a physical copy of His law - a breakdown of what He expected from them as His chosen people (Exodus 20:2-17)
Not only did they get a copy of the Ten Commandments, but they got the Levitical laws and a long exposition of what being a chosen generation should look like.
They were given the consequences of disobedience (Leviticus 26:14-29). They were also told of the blessings that would come from obedience (Leviticus 26:1-13, 40-45).
They were responsible for teaching their children and their household the commandments of God and how to walk in them.
But they were unable to do that (Jeremiah 31:32). So God decided to take it a step further and write His law in their hearts. That way everyone would know who He is and what He expects.
So if they broke the old covenant why did God give them a new one?
Haven't you noticed? The entire story of the Bible is about God's grace. God's love for humanity was such that He wanted to save us... even if it meant saving us from ourselves.
The Israelites had been unfaithful with the old covenant and God in His infinite wisdom knew they were going to be unfaithful with the new. But He still reached out in love showing grace and mercy to undeserving people. Awesome God that we serve!