The Scriptorium

A Heart for God at Last

It's the work of God's Spirit. Deuteronomy 30.1-10

Next Stage in God’s Covenant: Deuteronomy 30, 31 (1)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 126.4-6
Bring back our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126.4-6

(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Restore our fortunes, Lord our King! Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing who sow while yet they weep and wail.

They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand,
with joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 30.1-10

Preparation
1. What will God do for His people after the end of their captivity?

2. What will this do for God’s people?

Meditation

Here is the passage we have been waiting for the entire book of Deuteronomy. Repeatedly, God spoke through Moses to tell the people that they did not have a heart for Him, and that without such a heart, they were headed for tragedy and captivity.

Now comes the promise that their captivity will not be unceasing. That when they come to their senses and seek the Lord, He will return them to their land (vv. 1-4). And once they have returned there, in His time, God will give them the heart they need to serve Him (vv. 5, 6). Even though the people as a whole would not seek a heart for God throughout most of the Old Testament, still, His covenant is a covenant of grace. He will come to them and do for them what they cannot do for themselves.

Then God will suppress their enemies, and His people will obey Him according to all His Word (vv. 7-10). The blessings of God will return to His people (v. 9), but they must be careful to keep His covenant by obeying “His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law” (v. 10). And they must do so with all their heart and soul.

Ezekiel says this great work of God will come to pass in the last days (Ezek. 36.26, 27), when God sends His Spirit to give His people a new heart, to enable them to believe in Him and to obey His Law. That great work began in Acts 2, on the day when God poured His Spirit out into His Church. Now, all who have truly received the Spirit, and the new heart He brings, are zealous for good works according to the holy and righteous and good Law of God. And it is by this fruit that we are known to be true followers of Jesus Christ.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Positioned between “when all these things come upon you” (v. 1) and “if you obey” and “if you return” (v. 10) are these comforting words: “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (v. 6). Even if we or our children are “driven out to the farthest parts under heaven” (v. 4), even there He will find us and bring us back (Ps. 139.7-12). He will have compassion on us and gather us again (v. 3). In the same way we plan ahead of time to purchase just the right gift for someone we love, God, in these verses, is already planning the giving of the greatest gift ever given. These words of hope were written to them, and they are written to us, that we may “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20.31) Our hope is that in between the whens and ifs of our sinful lives, there is a new heart, waiting to be received. At last.

Reflection

1. What does God mean by saying that He will “circumcise” the heart of His people?

2. While this is a once-for-all “operation,” it requires continuous maintenance. Explain.

3. Why is Jesus alone able to set up the conditions for the Spirit of God to circumcise our heart?

There is a metaphor in this word circumcise; for Moses alludes to the legal sign of consecration, whereby they were initiated into the service of God. The expression, therefore, is equivalent to his saying, God will create you spiritually to be new men, so that, cleansed from the filth of the flesh and the world, and separated from the unclean nations, you should serve Him in purity.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 30.6

Thank You, Lord, for my new heart! Teach me to love You more, so that every day I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 126.2-3
Pray that God will give you a vision for revival, and the heart to seek it. Pray that He will revive His Church for a great awakening over all the earth.

Psalm 126.1-3
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
When God restored our fortunes all, we were like those who sweetly dream.
Our mouths with joy and laughter filled, made Him our constant song and theme.

Then the astonished nations said, “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Indeed, great things our God has done, Whose Name we praise, Amen, Amen!

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

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 Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore