“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 and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” This has always been God’s desire but sin entered the world with the fall back in the garden. Now the Lord is telling His people, “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.” Physical circumcision was a sign of the covenant the Lord made with His people, as He first told Abram in Gen 17. God is interested in people’s hearts and circumcision of the heart means a heart totally devoted to the Lord.
Later in the Story Jeremiah will tell the people to “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem”. (Jeremiah 4:4) Then in the New Testament Paul will go on to say in Romans 2:28-29 “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter”. Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit (which the Lord will give to his people after His Son dies, rises from the dead, and ascends to heaven with His Father) changes people, not the law. Only God can change hearts. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God…anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:8-10)
The whole Story is pointing to the arrival of Jesus but in today’s reading the Lord is telling His people that there is only ONE place to worship Him and they “shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go”. We will see the Lord pick Shiloh as the place to worship Him when the Israelites settle into the promised land and before the temple is built in Jerusalem. Then one day He will send the Holy Spirit upon His people to give them a new heart. ❤️ So keep reading!