SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This chapter begins with Moses recounting when God had him re-make the two stone tablets for the Ten Commandments. (See Exodus 31:18.) The reason there were two tablets is because in a covenant, each side would get a copy of the agreement. So the two tablets each would have had all of the Ten Commandments.
- In verse 16 the Israelites are told to circumcise their hearts. Ever since Abraham, God had required all male Israelites to be circumcised. Here the idea is that identifying with God and obeying God must go beyond externals. God is looking for an inner and complete submission.
- In verse 17 Moses says that "the LORD your God is God of Gods and Lord of lords." This does not mean that there are other gods or lords; it merely refers to the fact that the neighboring people believed in a host of gods. But the LORD your God is the one true God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Back then, circumcision was the outward sign that someone claimed to be one of God's people. Today the outward sign might be calling yourself a Christian, or going to church, or "believing in Jesus." But still, God is looking for something beyond mere externals. He wants an inner and complete submission.
- What does that look like? Or, in the words of verse 12, "what does the LORD your God ask of you"? We get the answer in verses 12-13: fear (or deeply respect) God, obey Him and His commands, love Him, and serve Him. It's not about saying you're a Christian. It's about living a life marked by fear, obedience, love and service to God.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Is it possible that your Christianity has been more about externals (calling yourself a Christian, showing up at church, trying to look good) and you've neglected the more important essentials of the heart? Where are you lacking in respect for, or obedience to, or love for, or service to God? What practical step could you take to get your heart more fully into God? Ask Him right now to help you.