The Israelites were chosen by God. God’s choice was not based on righteousness – in fact Moses goes into great detail outlining the stubbornness of Israel’s heart.
“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people” (Deuteronomy 9:5).
“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn” (Deuteronomy 10:16).
Moses’ emphasis on the heart is extraordinary. The internal motivations of the heart are of utmost importance to God. Here is Moses, the law giver, ordering the Israelites to circumcise their hearts – to cut away the stubbornness and sin. The law could never root out the sin within their hearts. Moses was pointing forward to the day when the Spirit would baptize the heart (transform it through the dying of self and being raised to newness of life).
Yesterday, we read Moses summarize the whole law in two commands… Today, Jesus follows suit. Obedience must originate from a love of God that comes from a changed heart – otherwise it is not counted as righteousness…
“‘…And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
Where is your heart? Do you obey from habitual duty – or from a passion for the Savior? Ask the Spirit to make the gospel fresh in your mind and let God’s love be the motivation of your heart!