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In the Gates

Stubborn in Our Hearts

Deuteronomy 10.14-16

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.”

Given that God loves us and intends His Law for our good, why does the Law of God languish among men? Why do even those who claim to know Jesus Christ seem to have so little regard for God’s Law?

It’s not that we don’t acknowledge the Ten Commandments. We do; we just don’t take them very seriously: witness the way the Lord’s Day is regarded by most Christians, and the easy way the fifth, seventh, ninth, and tenth commandments are ignored or rationalized away.

The answer is that, like ancient Israel, we are stubborn in our hearts. We want what we want, when we want it, and we will do our best to bend the Word and Law of God to our own selfish interests. Israel’s stubborn heart cost her dearly throughout the course of the Old Testament. Her story of stubbornness was written for our benefit (Rom. 15.4); yet it often seems as though God’s covenant people today simply aren’t listening.

The solution to our stubborn hearts is a circumcised heart. God commands His people to acquire something which, on their own, they simply cannot do. We cannot “circumcise” our hearts. We cannot remove the encrusted wickedness that corrupts our souls and keeps us from taking the will of God, as revealed in His Law, as our priority in life (Heb. 9.8, 14). The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked: who can know it (Jer. 17.9)? And if we cannot know it, how shall we be able to repair it by removing all that wickedness which keeps us from loving God and His Law?

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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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