Bible Passage: Jeremiah 31:31-40
Do you know anyone with a tattoo? Maybe you have one or more. They are more common than they used to be. I think that getting a tattoo requires some level of commitment because it’s permanent but not all people who get tattooed, think it through. We’ve probably all heard stories of people getting a tattoo when they were in an altered state. Or have you heard about the guy who had his girlfriend’s name tattooed on his arm and later broke up with her? That tattoo will be awkward after the break up. He might have to change it or remove it and that can be costly and painful. I have a couple of tattoos that I received when I was having radiation treatments a few years ago. They are just small dots but they remind me of a painful time in my life.
This tattoo talk reminds me of a passage of scripture in Jeremiah 31:31-40. Jeremiah was a prophet. God spoke to the Israelite people through him. God is talking about making a new covenant, or promise with His people, Israel and Judah. Today, this covenant applies to anyone who believes in Jesus as their Savior. God mentions that the people have broken the old covenants with him but this one will be different. This new covenant will be permanent, like a tattoo. Jeremiah says God will “put my instructions within them and write them on their hearts.” Other versions of scripture say He will “engrave His laws on our hearts.” Engraving something is a permanent way to mark or designate it. I have a small jewelry box with a metal heart on it. My name is engraved on the metal, permanently noting that it belongs to me. God “writes on our hearts” because we are his precious children. And unlike a tattoo mistake, God’s instructions are never wrong.
Jeremiah’s passage gives us a visual of what we teach children when they believe that Jesus died for their sins. We teach them that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, will come to live in their hearts to be with them. Like a best friend who lives with you. Jeremiah writes that we will no longer have to teach each other to “Know the Lord.” God will speak to us directly. We will have a “knowing” of God within us. There was a time when people only knew of God from what prophets, priests or pastors told them. Now God “speaks” to us personally.
Some people think God is far away and impersonal. I think Jeremiah shows us that God is as near to us as our hearts, beating in our chest, giving us life. God’s love and instructions are as permanent as the tattoo on your arm or wrist and God wants to speak to you in a personal way. I pray that you will notice all the ways God “speaks” to you this week.