Read verses 6-10
Q: What kind of obedience does God desire? Is it enough to simply follow His rules?
A: He desires obedience from the heart, “...if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.” (v.10) It’s not enough to simply follow His rules because He expects a much more personal relationship based on love: “...to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul...”
Q: How does such a change come about, especially for someone whose past record of behavior has been anything BUT obedience-based love?
A: “...the Lord your God will circumcise your heart...” (v.6) A genuine return initiated on our part is greeted by God’s response to complete the work of the heart. It’s accomplished by His grace.
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
— Jeremiah 31:31-34
Q: Every generation of Believer seems to embrace the need for spiritual revival. What is the true sign that verifies a true “revival”?
A: When behavior and lives change because the heart has been changed. External signs and wonders are not the chief verification, but the melting of hearts to become His children. In fact, signs and wonders WITHOUT the presence of lives changed from the heart betray a false spiritual movement.
Q: How does God’s use of circumcision in this instance reveal something special and particular?
A: It’s not a circumcision of the flesh, but of the heart. It is not granted based on earthly lineage to Abraham, but to spiritual acceptance of Jesus the Messiah.
Q: What does it mean to NOT possess a circumcised heart? What is the condition of such a person?
A: Since v.6 indicates a circumcised heart is necessary “so that you may live”, to NOT possess it is the equivalent of death. God sees us in terms of the inevitable result to which our choices are leading, either life in Him now and forever, or eternal death.
Application: Do you treat God like any other authority in life that simply must be obeyed? Why might our affection for God be directly linked to our areas of spiritual weakness and strength? Do you truly see “love” as an “all-or-nothing” proposition that requires us to make Christ the object of our affection?