“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.” (Deuteronomy 10:12–16, ESV)
This passage had been a puzzle to me in the past until just recently while I was studying Jeremiah chapter 4 and came across this verse…
“If you return, O Israel, declares the Lord, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver, and if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.” For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”” (Jeremiah 4:1–4, ESV)
This passage in Jeremiah is asking the people to return and relating it to the circumcision of the heart in a parallel passage. Ultimately what I started to see is that the desire of God for his people to circumcise their heart was ultimately asking the people to repent and return to a life of walking in God’s ways.
There is another place in Deuteronomy where God speaks of circumcising the heart of his people as they come into the land. Interesting enough God does this after he calls to mind the blessings and the curses that he had set before them after he had driven them among the nations and then desires for them to return (repent). It is upon this repentance that the Lord then declares that he will circumcise their heart and the heart of their offspring. (Deut 30:1-8)
It is a wonderful act of grace that the Lord brings back to the minds of his people the Torah and the great blessings that come with a desire to walk in the ways of the Lord. But it is contrasted with the curses that drove them out of the land and out among the nations. This is exactly what we see in some of the language that is related to the covenant God will establish through His messiah as we get a glimpse of in Ezek 36:24-27….
“I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:24–27, ESV)
That same grace and circumcision has now found its fullness in our Messiah and Lord Yeshua as Paul points out in his letter to the Colossians…
“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:11–14, ESV)
By grace, the record of debt that stood against us (sin) with its legal demand (death) has been canceled and set aside. Through resurrection of our Lord we who were once dead, are now mad alive together with him.
God has acted, we must respond to this wonderful Grace. This is the good news that all started back when Yeshua began His ministry with the words “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. Then after the resurrection, the preaching of the word, the people who God had prepared to hear the message responded to that message…(Acts 2:37-39)
“Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”” (Acts 2:37–39, ESV)
Our response….Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yeshua, the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins!!!
Has the Lord prepared your heart, do you hear the message, Repent, be washed and believe in the name of our Messiah Yeshua and enter into an amazing relationship with our God.