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Chapter 10:12-22 (ESV)

Posted on February 18, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 10:12-22 (ESV) - “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. For the LORD your God is God of gods and LORD of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.

Question to consider: How could Israel follow Moses’ command to circumcise the foreskin of their heart?

The baals (lords) of the Canaanites and the elohim (gods) of the other nations were associated with their particular territory, but even among each individual culture, the objects of their worship were divided into different realms like: sea, land, and sky. Moses reiterated to the Israelites that YHWH was the only true God of heaven and earth and that His commandments and statutes were for their good. 

Even though we fall short of the commandments and statutes of God, I don’t think it is disagreeable to say that these commandments and statutes are good, for all of them promote life and peace with God and our neighbor. Think about what our culture calls good today and about the areas in which it seeks to be free from the commandments. Women desire to be free from their innate gift to produce and nurture life, but their act of “freedom” destroys the life of the child developing in their womb. In order to justify their desire, they must devalue the life growing inside them.

People pass laws to be given the “freedom” to seek personal pleasure with drugs. While they may provide a temporary thrill, they in every way destroy the life of the user and those who try to love and support them. People want to be “free” from God’s design for marriage, families, and sex, but anything outside of that design prevents procreation and order within society.

If these statements of truth seem controversial or make you angry at me for even mentioning, you may want to evaluate why that is. Scripture gives us a diagnosis of the human condition that is contrary to every other system of philosophy or belief— that our hearts are hardened against God and desire to rebel against Him. In our deepest thoughts, we know this to be true, for even the people on whom God chose to set His favor hardened their hearts against Him despite the fact that He had multiplied them in number and wealth.

Moses asked this new generation that was about to receive all that YHWH had promised their forefathers to “circumcise the foreskin of their hearts”. Jesus described what that looked like in His sermon on the mount. People say that He extended the Law by equating lust with adultery and anger with murder, but as the very one who gave the Law to Moses, Jesus merely described the source of our rebellion. Someone is not a murderer because he kills another person. He kills another person because he has murderous anger in his heart.

While Moses understood the diagnosis of the heart and could describe its remedy, the Law was only designed to show us our sin. It did not provide the remedy. At best, it provided a temporary solution to cover over sin with the blood of animals. Only God could circumcise the heart. As He would one day tell Ezekiel, “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)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the Law which shows us what life and salvation looks like and how far short we fall from it. Thank You for not leaving us in our sin and condemnation but in giving us a new heart in Christ. We look forward to the day when the desire of this new heart is fulfilled in our flesh, and we no longer have to worry about sin and death. Amen.