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“And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”

January 6, 2024
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Daily Scripture

Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-12, 9:11-15

NOTE: remember, you can study Wesley’s Covenant prayer more deeply through Chris Folmsbee’s book The Wesley Prayer Challenge Participant Book, published by Abingdon Press. The book is available through the Well Bookstore (https://thewell.cor.org/), is also available in a Kindle version, and has resources for group as well as individual study.

Jeremiah 31
31 The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 It won’t be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant with me even though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 No, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the LORD. I will put my Instructions within them and engrave them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 They will no longer need to teach each other to say, “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 wrongdoing and never again remember their sins.

Hebrews 8
6 But now, Jesus has received a superior priestly service just as he arranged a better covenant that is enacted with better promises.
7 If the first covenant had been without fault, it wouldn’t have made sense to expect a second. 8 But God did find fault with them, since he says,
Look, the days are coming, says the Lord,
        when I will make a covenant with the house of Israel,
        and I will make a new covenant with the house of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors
    on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt,
        because they did not continue to keep my covenant,
        and I lost interest in them, says the Lord.
10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
        after those days, says the Lord.
I will place my laws in their minds,
        and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
11     And each person won’t ever teach a neighbor
    or their brother or sister, saying, “Know the Lord,”
        because they will all know me,
            from the least important of them to the most important;
12         because I will be lenient toward their unjust actions,
            and I won’t remember their sins anymore [Jeremiah 31:31-34].

Hebrews 9
11 But Christ has appeared as the high priest of the good things that have happened. He passed through the greater and more perfect meeting tent, which isn’t made by human hands (that is, it’s not a part of this world). 12 He entered the holy of holies once for all by his own blood, not by the blood of goats or calves, securing our deliverance for all time. 13 If the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of cows made spiritually contaminated people holy and clean, 14 how much more will the blood of Jesus wash our consciences clean from dead works in order to serve the living God? He offered himself to God through the eternal Spirit as a sacrifice without any flaw.
15 This is why he’s the mediator of a new covenant (which is a will): so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance on the basis of his death. His death occurred to set them free from the offenses committed under the first covenant.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Wesley’s prayer ends by recognizing that we must give more than a casual, intellectual assent to God’s offer of a covenant relationship with us. Although we know we will at times struggle to completely live out what God wants, “the covenant I have made on earth” is a way of saying that I take this seriously, that I am genuine in making this commitment. Asking that it “be ratified in heaven” recognizes that the commitment comes, not from someone apt to have a change of heart at any time, but from the eternal God who has always sought deep connection with his beloved created creatures. And “Amen” isn’t just a meaningless verbal punctuation mark. “‘Amen’ means, ‘Yes, indeed!’ or ‘Surely . . . in very truth!’” * The final phrase of Wesley’s prayer is a sacred oath in God’s presence, a promise to God that you are determined to live out what you have just prayed.

  • What does God ask of you when you enter a covenant relationship with God? Read Matthew 22:34-40 to review and remind yourself of the way Jesus summed up the central commitment you make in a covenant relationship with God. Then spend time in prayer, talking with God about the challenges those great commandments pose for you and the ways in which you need God’s help to live out your covenant promise.
  • Click here to hear (and we hope to join in) “I Am Yours,” the Covenant Song as composed and sung by members of Resurrection’s Worship Collective.
Prayer

God, Lord of my life, by the Holy Spirit’s presence give me the power to live out this prayer every day of my life. Give me the seriousness of purpose that can produce your overflowing love and joy expressed toward everyone my life touches. Amen.

GPS Insights

Matt Williams

Matt Williams

Matt Williams serves Resurrection as Digital Engagement Team Director.

What does God ask of me?

Words have power. That question-what does God ask of me?-is a mere six words. And yet, those simple (but not easy!) words have the potential to impact our entire lives if we let them.

This question is particularly relevant to me right now. My Dad died on November 24, 2023 after a long battle with Parkinson’s and Dementia, and we had his Celebration of Life this past weekend on December 30. I had the privilege of writing and delivering his eulogy, and while it was a deeply emotional experience, it was also healing.

My Dad was a great man who impacted many, many lives. I know we are often biased with our friends and family, but my Dad was truly beloved by people from all different walks of life.

As I reflected on my Dad’s life, I kept asking myself this question, “What made my Dad so impactful?”
The answer comes from Matthew 22:37-40 where Jesus says,

37 He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

My Dad loved God. And he loved people. With all his heart.

This is how he described it in his own words:

I, by the way I live my life today am committed that my children will grow up knowing that their father loves Jesus Christ with all his heart. I’m committed to being an example to my friends who don’t go to church by what I do, not what I say”

My Dad was more than successful in raising me to know that he loved Jesus Christ with all his heart. I am so thankful that my earthly father pointed me to my Heavenly Father.

He was also successful in being an example to others. Family, friends, church, work. No matter what group of people my Dad was with, he greeted them with a smile and made sure they felt his unconditional love for them with his actions and his words. Why? Because he loved Jesus and Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

What does God ask of me?

Love God. Love others. That’s what our Heavenly Fathers calls us to do, and it’s the example my earthly father set for me.

P.S. I love you, Dad. I miss you, but I know I’ll see you again.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Folmsbee, Chris, The Wesley Prayer Challenge Participant Book (p. 137). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.