"So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.Deuteronomy 10:16(NASB)
Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness, and as God's elect nation, Israel was expected to trust in the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind and strength. They were to heed His word, obey His commandments, trust in His faithfulness and circumcise their hearts.
As God's covenant nation, who had been redeemed from slavery in Egypt, they covenanted to do all that the Lord had said. This was recorded in the books of Moses and God promised.. that if they paid heed to His word and obeyed His commands - He would be their God and they would be His people.
Physical circumcision was the outward sign of the inward, spiritual circumcision of the heart, where God's will is preferred before ones own will.. God's word is heeded, trusted, observed and obeyed and God's glory becomes the single desire of the heart.
But within days of promising to keep God's word on Mount Sinai, the people of Israel, started to murmur against the Lord and His provision. They became reckless and disobedient.. and they turned to foreign idols and lusted after the gods of the gentiles.
As a result. their hearts became hardened and their attitude became haughty, prideful, stubborn and stiff-necked. For forty years the people of Israel had to wander in the wilderness because they murmured against the Lord, and became a “stiff-necked' and disobedient people.
A whole generation died in the wilderness and was buried there, because of their disobedience. Finally, when the next generation had reached maturity, Moses stood up and repeated the covenant relationship, which Israel had with the Lord, and warned them of the importance to pay heed to God's word - and circumcise their hearts.
After forty years of wandering, Moses, once again, rehearsed the need to trust in the Lord with all their heart and mind and soul and strength.. to heed His word, obey His commandments, trust in His faithfulness and circumcise their hearts. He did this in the ears of a new generation of Israelites: therefore circumcise your hearts, he reminded them, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.
After years of national rebellion and stubbornness, Israel was called to circumcise their hearts.. to change their ways.. to repent of their sins and to follow God's statutes and commands.
As Christians, who are ministers of a new and better covenant, through the blood of Jesus Christ.. we are advised that all scripture is given for our learning and is profitable for our teaching, correction and training in righteousness. We are to remember that Israel's failings are an object lesson to us - to ensure that we do not make the same mistakes that they made.
The man or woman who walks in newness of life, who has died to self and who lives for Christ, is the one that is growing in grace and maturing in the faith. Therefore, let us heed these words and examine our hearts.. to see if we are walking in spirit and truth. Let us ensure that our hearts are circumcised, and in right standing with the Lord - lest we become stiff-necked and forfeit the blessings that God has prepared for those that love Him.
Heavenly Father, how we bless and thank You that we are saved by grace through faith. I pray that I may maintain a circumcised heart, to Your praise and glory.. as I trust in Your word and walk in Your ways.. so that I may grow in grace, and in a knowledge of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.