“The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts … so that you may love him with all your heart and … soul, and live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)
It is sobering to read through the chapters before today’s reading. Deuteronomy 28 extensively spells out the blessings if the people followed the Lord’s instructions and promises of life and the curses that follow from disobedience. They are wake-up calls for us also, for we are no different. “Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore …” (Deuteronomy 28:47). Are we taking our time of prosperity for granted? Even with prices and interest rates now rising, there is much that we enjoy daily. Are we cultivating an attitude of gratitude or a heart of moaning and complaining?
Reading through all those requirements that lead into these verses, I know there is no possibility on Earth for me to keep them as the Lord desires! I need God’s help — daily! Our hearts can be so far away from God, so engrossed in our human priorities that so often draw our attention further away from cultivating an attitude that seeks after the Lord. But here, in speaking of blessings and curses, the Lord already says he will come to our aid; he will circumcise our hearts (verse 6), pointing forward to the coming of Jesus, the Son of God, Immanuel, God with us. Circumcision of the (male) flesh was God’s appointed “sign of the covenant” with Abraham (Genesis 17). But in today’s reading, there is a pointing forward to a time when God himself would change our hearts, enabling us to receive and respond to his love and forgiveness and to live (Philippians 2:13)!
The realisation that we can’t help ourselves — plus that the Lord willingly helps us — is part of the truth that sets us free (John 8:32,36). I am grateful to live on this side of the cross where Jesus took the penalty of sin and the curse for us, and on this side of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on all people (Joel 2:28–32; Acts 2:14–21), available to all.
Lord, let me serve you daily with joy and gladness, worshipping You and telling others about what that service has meant to me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.