Broken Stones and Promises


Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it. Exodus 33:15-20 ESV

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34 ESV


When Mr. and Mrs. Jones got a divorce, it was a very sad and painful thing for both of them. They had promised that they would love each other as long as they both lived, and that they would stay married to each other. But they broke their promises to each other. Not only did they stop loving each other, but Mrs. Jones began to love a different man. Their marriage was over. When Mr. Jones came across their marriage certificate in his papers, he felt so angry and upset about what had happened that he tore the certificate into little pieces.

The way Mr. Jones felt is a lot like the way Moses felt when he came down from the mountain and saw what had happened with the people of Israel. He had just pleaded to God for his people, but now he felt angry and upset himself. Moses was carrying something amazing down the mountain. God had given him two stone tablets with his law and covenant written on them, and God himself had done the writing! But Moses felt so angry about the golden calf that he threw the stone tablets to the ground so that they broke. God’s people had broken their promises to God in the same way that Moses broke the stone tablets.

Many years later God talked to the prophet Jeremiah about the way the people of Israel had broken their covenant with him. He promised that in the future, instead of the old covenant of stone, he would make a new covenant with his people. God would write his law on their hearts. He would forgive their sins and forget about the past, and everyone who belonged to God would know him.

When Jesus came, he died on the cross to begin a new covenant with everyone who believes in him. Because of what Jesus did for us, all of our sins are forgiven. We know God, because he sends us his Holy Spirit to help us. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through God’s Word, the Bible, and everyone can know the love of God that comes to us through Jesus.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing us into your new covenant, for forgiving our sins, and for teaching us to know you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.