Jeremiah 34:13-20 – A Broken Covenant

Time in the Scriptures

Pray:  Thank God for the forgiveness available in Jesus

If you read yesterday’s post, did you wonder about the meaning of the cut-up animals, and the smoke pot & torch that passed among them? God was “cutting a covenant” with Abram. Today we look at the only other reference in the Bible to this ancient ritual.

Read:  Jeremiah 34:13-20

Why is God upset in this story?

Jewish leaders had “cut a covenant” (we still use the language when we “cut a deal”): they cut a calf in two, and walked between the halves, as a sign that they would be cut in two if they broke their word. Having broken their word, God says that the curse will indeed take place.

Who walked between the cut animals in the Genesis story? (Genesis 15:17)

Note that Abram was asleep; the smoking pot and torch were not him. Most interpreters see these elements as a sign that God walked between the halves, calling down a curse upon himself if he does not keep the promise to Abram.

The Apostle Paul says that the crucifixion is a “stumbling block to Jews”: the Jewish law states that anyone who hangs on a tree is cursed; Jesus “hung on a tree” when he was crucified; thus, Jesus must be cursed and not be God’s Messiah. Paul sees Jesus as having taken on the curse that we deserve when we sin against God.

What part do you think the crucifixion holds in God’s offer of forgiveness through Christ?

Intercessory Prayer

Spend time in prayer for people who need forgiveness but don’t know how to find it.

Caring through Action

Is there a broken relationship in your life – someone who needs your forgiveness, or who you’ve harmed? Start reconciling today.

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