circumcise your heart - scripture correlations in Deuteronomy and Romans

I told my husband that for the first time I am fascinated by the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy.  He quipped back "well there's hope for you yet".  Ha!  As I was reading today, the following verses leapt off the page at me.  May they be a blessing to you as well.

Circumcise Your Heart

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.
— Deuteronomy 10:12-22 | ESV

After I shared this with Darrell he asked me to look at the following scripture and consider how they relate to one another.

Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

    “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
        and sing to your name.”
        And again it is said,
    “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
        And again,
    “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
        and let all the peoples extol him.”
        And again Isaiah says,
    “The root of Jesse will come,
        even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
    in him will the Gentiles hope.”
        May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
— Romans 15:8-13 ESV

I am grateful to be married to a pastor.  To be able to have conversations at home where the wisdom that he receives through biblical education and his discipline of study help me to have a greater understanding of scripture and the beauty of God’s word.  To understand more deeply the intricacies of the Word that show beyond a shadow of doubt that the Bible could never have been written by mere man; especially not from so many men over such a long period of time.  

Darrell shared with me the scripture correlations in Deuteronomy and Romans.  Here is a small portion of our conversation.  I just can’t type that fast ;).  

Returning back to Exodus, we see God giving the law to the Israelites for the first time.  In Deuteronomy we see the second giving of the law; a restatement of the law given in Exodus.  The generation of those who received the law, the people who lived and experienced the exodus from Egypt over the age of 20, have been excluded from seeing the Promised Land.  The only one of their generation to be allowed to go into the Promised Land is Caleb, the son of Jephunneh.  He was one of the four scouts sent out by God to survey the land.  While all four scouts proclaimed the land to be good only Caleb exhibited faith that God would give over the peoples to them as He promised, no matter how numerous or frightening they were.  Israel sinned and brought upon themselves their punishment.  We do not know how much time passed between the exodus from Egypt and the time when the Israelites rebelled but we know that they had a significant walk from Egypt to the Promised Land and that they were then wandering for an additional forty years.  A restatement of the law is a reminder for a new generation of God’s covenant and of the law.  See Numbers 32 and Deuteronomy 1:34-40.

So God declares His covenant and restates the law.  In Deuteronomy 10:12-22 we continue to see the application of the law for Israel.  Verse 16 can be a bit odd or confusing to modern believers…

“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.”  Only Israel was required to circumcise their children (Genesis 17:9-14) as circumcision represents an identity.  The Israelites identity as God’s children.  Genesis 17:11 says “you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you”.  Romans 15:8 shows that Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise to the patriarchs.  Verses 9-13 share the joyful news that the Gentiles have hope in Christ through the new covenant.  Christ’s selfless sacrifice on the cross.  This is where we see the correlation between Deuteronomy 10:16 and Romans 10:8.  Gentiles are not required to be circumcised, yet we are to have our identity in Him.  We are to circumcise our hearts.

Romans 15:8  says that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness.  God made promises long ago to the patriarchs.  Now these promises have been fulfilled in Christ.  These promises given to the Israelites as written in Deuteronomy were given in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.  All along God was at work to bring His redemptive story to fulfillment.  While the outward sign of circumcision identified God’s chosen people the inward sign of someone submitted to God is a circumcised heart.  God has always been at work to change the hearts of men.  His redemptive story has always been moving forward for His glory.