on your hearts!"
This morning's Old Testament reading recounts the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses. The giving of the Ten Commandments is part of the overall giving of the divine law to the people of Israel. As Americans, we understand the concept of law; we are a people governed and ordered by law. However, we often think of the law in terms of a contract; the law represents rules and obligations along with punishment and penalties. In contrast to this contractual understanding of law, the Law of God is best understood in terms of covenant. Unlike a contract, a covenant is based on trust, love, and faithfulness. In scripture, the image that is most often used to describe this covenental relationship between God and his people is the image of marriage, the covenant relationship between husband and wife.
Even when God's people have violated this covenant relationship, God has remained faithful, because He has chosen us and loves us. God has engraved us on the palms of his hands! The ultimate expression of God's covenantal love is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Through his blood, Christ instituted a renewed and restored covenant between God and his people. In this new covenant, the law of God is not simply chiseled in stone or written on a page, but now the law of God is written on our hearts. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of the day when God would establish a new covenant, and as part of this new covenant, God's law would be written on the hearts and minds of His people. Ultimately, the question that Jesus asks us is not "Are my commandments inscribed in stone on the walls of your buildings?" The real question is "Are my commandments inscribed by the Holy Spirit on the walls of your hearts!"
O Lord, create in us clean hearts. Purify our hearts!
Write your law in our hearts for the honor and glory of your Name!