The Lord Your God Will Circumcise Your Heart
I must admit that there is a progression of thought in this passage that was rather difficult for me to pin down, and there are some clauses within it that took a lot of effort to think through.
A couple of the scholars, Keil and Lange, I read for each sermon had some invaluable insight into the Hebrew that helped me out, but their analyses were so difficult to understand that I spent half my time just trying to make sense of what they were saying.
Get a load of Lange’s comments from a portion of his thoughts about verse 2. And mind you, this is just a short portion of them –
“To put an end to the captivity, to turn the imprisonment. GES., HUPF., as already J. H. MICHAELIS, KNOBEL, in a transitive sense likewise, but questionable (since it gives the Kal the force of the Hiphil); to turn back the captivity, or the captives. שׁבוּת (שׁבית as it is alternately pointed by Masoretic punctuators) from שָׁבָה shavah to sweep away, to lead captive, is an abstract form designating the condition. It is impossible, in this connection, to take the abstract for the concrete, since the leading back of the captives, the gathering of Israel from the heathen, appears as the consequence of את־שבותך ושב—. Comp. Jer. 29:14; 30:3, 18. As there the consideration of what had been experienced, i.e., the bringing it back to heart, preceded the return of Israel to the Lord, so now, the leading back of Israel, the gathering of His people out from all the nations, follows upon the return of the Lord to His people. The expression, have compassion upon thee, which as is conceded, appears in the earlier prophets, and has no necessary connection therefore with the Babylonian exile, but as there used refers rather to the time of the Messiah, is moreover satisfactorily explained.”
There are some good insights, but he sure could have stated them in a much easier way. If you think my sermons get complicated, just try to understand what these are saying. As for the passage, despite its complexities, the overall message is rather simple, “You will be restored someday, and the Lord will rejoice over you.”
Who is being referred to, and when is it speaking of? That is what we will go over in detail today…
Text Verse: “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:4, 5
Another commentary I read, but which is less worried about the details and more concerned with the overall picture of what is being said is the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary. I didn’t need their comments for the sermon, but I appreciated what they had to say enough to let you hear a portion of their thoughts –
“The hopes of the Hebrew people are ardently directed to this promise, and they confidently expect that God, commiserating their forlorn and fallen condition, will yet rescue them from all the evils of their long dispersion. They do not consider the promise as fulfilled by their restoration from the captivity in Babylon, for Israel was not then scattered in the manner here described—’among all the nations,’ ‘unto the utmost parts of heaven’ (De 30:4). When God recalled them from that bondage, all the Israelites were not brought back. They were not multiplied above their fathers (De 30:5), nor were their hearts and those of their children circumcised to love the Lord (De 30:6). It is not, therefore, of the Babylonish captivity that Moses was speaking in this passage; it must be of the dispersed state to which they have been doomed for eighteen hundred years. … But undoubtedly it will receive its full and complete accomplishment in the conversion of the Jews to the Gospel of Christ.” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown
The Jews are looking for one thing, what they will get is not at all what they now expect. But be sure of this, what they get will be infinitely greater than what they now expect. The commentators are right, it is future to us now, and it is all about Jesus and His relationship with the Jews.
Let’s not insert the church where it does not belong. These verses today have nothing to do with the church. They speak of a day, future to us now, when Israel will again be in a right standing with God. The way the world looks now, that day may not be far off.
We’ll see. For now, great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. The Lord Your God Will Gather You (verses 1-6)
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you,
Moses now sums up the contents of Chapters 27-29. A great deal has been spoken forth in those chapters concerning the state of the people in relation to the law that has been given. Chapter 27 referred to the proclamation of the curses upon Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. The final proclamation summed up the entire matter, though –
“‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’” Deuteronomy 27:26
Chapter 28 defined the blessings and the curses that would come upon the people for obedience or disobedience. However, understanding the all-encompassing nature of those final words of Chapter 27, it appears to be a given that bad times lay ahead for the people, even if the blessings initially came upon them.
In Chapter 29, Moses clearly stated that the covenant was being made not just with the people there before him, but all who would issue from them who are called “Israel.” The binding nature of the law cannot be escaped from by the nation.
In his words, he went from the singular “The Lord would not spare him” (29:20), and he moved to punishment upon the whole land, saying, “when they see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid upon it” (29:22). The implication is that the entire nation has departed from the Lord.
That is then confirmed in the words, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt” (29:25). As such, the words of cursing finished with, “And the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day” (29:28).
With that stated, Moses closed out the chapter with the words, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (29:29).
With that context understood, and with the thought of Israel being in a state of exile from the land, while at the same time the land simmers and burns in the heat of the Lord’s anger and wrath, the beginning words of Chapter 30 include – “when all these things come upon you.”
Moses takes it as an axiom that they will, in fact, come upon them. He does not say “if.” The word signifies “that,” “for,” “when,” and so on. The words “all these things” are exactly what we just detailed. They encompass…
1 (con’t) the blessing and the curse which I have set before you,
Moses acknowledges that all of it would come upon Israel, both the joy of the blessing and the terror of the curse. He has clearly, fully, and in minute detail expressed everything that would come to pass. The words have been presented to them, and they are recorded for all generations to consider.
Nothing needed has been kept secret, but the Lord has revealed the future to them through Moses. Those things that the Lord has kept secret are His alone, but that which has been presented is fully sufficient to alert Israel to what is coming and thus who is to blame when it does. Of these words so far, Charles Ellicott (1819-1905) says –
“The curse is still upon them, and therefore this chapter contemplates the possibility of a restoration still to come. Some would go much further than this. But thus much is undeniable.” Charles Ellicott
This flies in the face of replacement theology. If Israel is still under the curse (which even replacement theologians are willing to admit), then it means that they are still under (bound to) the covenant by which the curse finds its authority. One cannot say “Israel is out” while Israel is still in. It is illogical, incompetent, and inconsistent.
As one can see from Moses’ words though, it is, unfortunately, the case that eventual failure is the expectation, and the curses are to be the anticipated result of the failure. In that state, having received all of the curses, including the state of being in exile…
1 (con’t) and you call them to mind
va’hashevota el l’vavekha – “And you return unto to your heart.” The heart reflects the cognitive thinking of man, the mind. It is that which Israel uses to reflect on their state. It must be noted that all of the words of this verse are in the singular, “you Israel.” This is unlike what occurred in Daniel 9 –
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” Daniel 9:1-3
Daniel called to mind the things that had been written, and he petitioned the Lord because of them. But what is spoken of here is a national acknowledgment of their condition.
Today, there are some Jews that will acknowledge, “Boy, we really got what we deserved,” just as Daniel did. He went on through much of that chapter detailing how deserving they were of all of the calamity that came upon them. For the most part though, Israel of today finds every reason except for their own national failure as to why all the ills they have experienced have come upon them.
Therefore, their return to the land cannot be a fulfillment of what is stated now by Moses. That is solely an act of grace by the Lord, preparing them for what lies ahead. Further, their being in the land now does not negate that a literal fulfillment lies ahead for the next words…
1 (con’t) among all the nations
It is true that Israel has a homeland, and that it is filled with the people of Israel. But it is also true that a majority of them are still not in the land. They are still “among all the nations.” But this is an unnatural state. If they are Israel, they belong in Israel.
A Japanese belongs in Japan. If a person moves to America from Japan, and if that person becomes an American, he is no longer a Japanese. He, and those after him, are Americans of Japanese descent. However, Jews generally identify with their culture first.
There is nothing wrong with this. It is just how it is. Whatever one identifies with most, that is what he is. As a Jew derives his cultural identity from Israel, then it would logically follow that he is in a state of separation when he is not in the land by which he is identified. This is the condition known as exile. For those of Israel who are not in the land of Israel, it is…
1 (con’t) where the Lord your God drives you,
Israel was in the land, they disobeyed the Lord, and they were exiled from the land. From that time on, those who are not in the land are in exile. If this was not so, they would simply do what everyone else does and join to the nation where they now live.
If you go to England, there are people from India, Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, and so on. They came to England over the years, and they have – if they are willing to be a part of the English culture – identified with England. They can be proud of their heritage, but they also identify with England, deciding that is their permanent place to hang their hat.
Jews will also do this. They serve in the military in the US, they identify with the US, and so on. But for many, their primary identification remains being “Jewish.” It is what defines them. This is why they were paraded around with yellow stars in Germany. The bonds of their culture remained at the forefront of who they are. Again, this isn’t right or wrong, it is just how it is.
The Lord anticipated that, and He has, in their continued disobedience, done to them exactly as He said He would, and exactly as Moses affirms would occur. Understanding these things, Moses continues…
2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice,
v’shavta ad Yehovah elohekha v’shamata b’qolo – “And you return as far as Yehovah your God and obey His voice.” The thought and the words are similar to Deuteronomy 4:30 –
“When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice.”
Both there, and here in Chapter 30, the words are in the singular – “you Israel.” And in both, the word translated as “to” is ad. It signifies “as far as” or “even to.” Israel is in exile, they are in distress, it is the latter days, and so on. Over the years, they may have turned from their ways, but not to the Lord.
What Moses is saying in both Deuteronomy 4:30 and again here, is that Israel will someday turn as far as or even to the Lord. In other words, this is a complete returning to Him, not just a turning to Him at some particular point in order to meet a timely need. John Lange says, “including the goal as one attained.”
Relying on their own righteousness, and in heeding the placating thoughts of the rabbis of the past whose words comprise the Talmud, Israel has never come to this point. Someday, they will put all of that nonsense behind them and turn until they attain the goal, coming to the Lord alone. This turning will be…
2 (con’t) according to all that I command you today,
The words refer to everything spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy – every law, every precept, every anticipated event. The expression “I command you today” has been repeated more than twenty times since Deuteronomy 4:40. As such, it must be remembered that this then includes the clear commands concerning the “Prophet like me” spoken in Chapter 18.
That Prophet was clearly presented to Israel, and it is He that fulfilled the Mosaic Code, and then both annulled it and initiated a New Covenant in His blood. But it is only annulled for those who accept that it is so. For those who do not, they remain under the Law of Moses, and thus under the curse of the law.
For Israel, when they turn to the Lord, acknowledging Christ – as is clearly presented in what Moses is conveying – they will then have fulfilled the precepts of the law as now given by him…
2 (con’t) you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,
What is spoken of is a national turning. The word “you” is in the singular. It is undoubtedly not speaking merely to each individual, but to the nation sitting before him now, which is inclusive of “your (singular) children.”
At some point, the nation will have a collective turning, even to (as far as) the Lord, and it will be “in all to your (singular) heart and in all your (singular) soul.” Understanding this timing, the thought which began in this first clause now continues…
3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity,
The words seem simple. One can read them and quickly pass on to the next verse. And yet, the Hebrew is so precise and carefully stated that scholars have lengthy commentaries on it: v’shav Yehovah elohekha eth shevutekha – “And return Yehovah your God your (singular) fortunes.”
Moses introduces a new word here shevuth. It comes from shavah, meaning “to take captive.” Hence, it is generally translated as “from captivity.” Two major translations are given though –
“then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity” (NASB)
“then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes” (ESV)
Keil clearly presents what is being conveyed –
“‘the Lord will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and gather thee again’ את־שׁבוּת שׁוּב does not mean to bring back the prisoners, as the more modern lexicographers erroneously suppose (the Kal שׁוּב never has the force of the Hiphil), but to turn the imprisonment, and that in a figurative sense, viz., to put an end to the distress…”
In other words, whether it is translated as “from captivity” or “restore your fortunes,” it signifies the ending of the distress of the people. This is important because of the continued words of the verse.
As an interesting insight into this verse, the Greek translation says, “and the Lord will heal your sins.” How they came to that is difficult to understand unless they logically understood that the fortunes cannot be restored unless the sins are forgiven. The thought is certainly reminiscent of Romans 11 –
“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.’” Romans 11:26, 27
For now, Moses provides parallelism to confirm the restoration of Israel, saying…
3 (con’t) and have compassion on you,
In the returning of the captivity (restoring the fortunes), compassion is given. The second thought restates but repeats the previous thought. With that noted, Moses then says…
3 (con’t) and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.
Moses repeats the same word as the first clause, v’shav or “and return,” saying: v’shav v’qibetskha mikal ha’ammim – “and return and gather you (singular) from all the peoples.” The words then are a resumption of the thought –
“And return Yehovah your God your fortunes.”
“And have compassion on you.”
“And return and gather you from all the peoples.”
What has happened in these verses is first a turning of the heart of the people in order to obey the Lord’s voice. In turn, the Lord returns to restore Israel. The second is a consequence of the first. The gathering of Israel comes after – as a result of – the turning of the collective heart.
Therefore, what has happened since 1948 is not a fulfillment of these words. The restoration of Israel to the land has happened, that is true, but their true restoration is yet ahead. This gathering of the people is something that will occur after, not before, the tribulation period. That will be seen as Moses continues…
4 If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven,
The Hebrew reads “the heavens.” Israel will be scattered to the ends of the earth. The words here do not reflect what occurred during the Babylonian captivity. It is clearly a prophecy of a worldwide dispersion. Despite the vastness of the exile…
4 (con’t) from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.
The Lord, through Moses, promises that at the time of their returning to Him as is defined in the law, and which includes the acceptance of Christ as their Messiah, there will be a gathering of the exiles. This is certainly what Jesus is referring to –
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31
The elect Jesus refers to are those Jews who will come to trust Christ during the tribulation period. They have nothing to do with the church which is inclusive of Jews who have already received Christ. Moses is speaking to Israel and Christ is speaking to Israel.
But more, the elect are not necessarily the people who are in Israel now. If they were, Jesus would not have said this just a few verses earlier in Matthew –
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Matthew 24:15-22
If everyone in Israel was “the elect,” there would be no need to address those who heeded His words in Judea, imploring them to flee to the mountains. The elect will heed, those who do not are not of “the elect.”
When the addressees or the dispensations are mixed, error in theology is the natural and inevitable consequence. The restoration of Israel, as spoken by Moses now, is still future to us at this time.
5 Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it.
It is those who heed the words of Moses, and who thus heed the words of Jesus that will be brought into this land to possess it. This then speaks of the millennial kingdom, not of what is going on in Israel today.
Again, it is true this is the same body of people, obviously, because Jesus tells those who are of this body (meaning Israel), but who are also willing to pay heed to His words (meaning the elect), to flee to the mountains. It is these who are referred to with the words…
5 (con’t) He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
The reference here cannot be speaking of Israel at this time. It is true they are prospering and multiplying, but it is also true that the Lord prospering them (literally “do you good”) more than their fathers is not true at this time.
The state of peace described in Israel at the time of Solomon has never been realized in modern Israel, and that must be taken into consideration along with all other points. This will truly only be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom. What Moses next says clearly reveals this…
6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants,
The words of this verse cannot be speaking of the time after the Babylonian captivity. Hence, none of what is said here can. This is speaking to Israel the nation, in the singular, and therefore it can only be referring to them. The promise of circumcision of the heart is the same basic thought as the Lord writing His law on the heart.
The two concepts are set in parallel. One speaks of a change in heart, the other speaks of what that change in heart signifies. It is an action of the Lord, and it is something that only occurs in conjunction with the New Covenant. Thus, replacement theology has no standing. This can only be speaking of Israel, not the church.
It is true that both Moses and Jeremiah tell the people to circumcise their hearts to the Lord, but that is a way of telling the people to turn their minds to Him and to think with clarity concerning Him. However, it is not the same as when the Lord performs the action.
To truly have a circumcised heart is to turn to the Lord in Christ, and then to have Christ convert the heart. To understand this, a logical progression of verses needs to be considered –
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:31-33
“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Romans 2:28, 29
“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11, 12
Paul confirms that the precept of the New Covenant circumcision of the heart applies to Gentiles as well as Jews, but Moses’ words only apply to Israel the nation (you, singular). When the Lord finally does His work in them, because they directed their hearts toward Him (meaning Christ who performs the circumcision), it will finally result in their ability…
6 (con’t) to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
The action of the Lord, His circumcising Israel’s heart, is a result of Israel’s turning the heart to Him in order to obey His voice. In that, they are restored, and in that the heart is circumcised. The result is their ability to love Him with all the heart and all the soul of the nation, (it is singular).
And there is an ultimate reason behind this, which is, l’maan khayekha – “to end purpose your (singular) life.” The wording here brings to remembrance the words that described Jacob (who pictured Israel the people) when he realized Joseph (who pictured Christ) was alive. Literally, it said, “and lives spirit of Jacob.”
What Moses is saying here is not referring to physical life any more than what was said of Jacob. Rather, it speaks of the spiritual reconnection to God that was lost in Adam. Israel as a nation will have that collective revival of the heart, and they will collectively be made alive when they come to Christ – just as was typologically anticipated in the story of Joseph.
Listen to the statutes and the judgments too
Pay heed to the word that you hear
Everything is laid out that you are to do
Keep them with you always; be sure to keep them near
Think on what the Lord is telling you
Consider what needs to be done
Will you trust in your own ability, these things to do?
If so, you must accomplish every single one
Think on what the word is telling you
Consider again what needs to be done
Will you trust in your own ability, these things to do?
Or will you by faith simply trust in His Son?
II. When You Turn to the Lord (verses 7-10)
7 “Also the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.
Rather than “curses,” it should say “all the oaths.” Everything that the Lord swore would come upon Israel will instead come upon their enemies. One might say, “This can’t be speaking of the millennial kingdom then.” But that one would be wrong.
One of the promised blessings of Deuteronomy 28 was rain. One of the promised curses was the rain being changed to powder and dust. That is a promise of the millennium –
“And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:17, 18
There will be death in the millennium as well. This tells us that things may be different from our current state, but the evil inclinations of the heart of man will not be changed. Things will continue on in the manner they now exist in that regard.
But even without that, the verb translated as “persecuted you” is in the perfect tense. Those who persecuted Israel will suffer for their actions. That is clearly evidenced in Jesus’ words of Matthew 25 –
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:31-33
This is a judgment of the nations, and it is a judgment directed at the treatment of Israel by those nations. How His people are treated will reflect what the Lord does with them. As for Israel…
8 And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today.
The word “you” is emphatic – “And YOU…” This sets Israel off from those in the previous verse. “They did this to you, but YOU will…” But what Moses says must now be considered. First, it doesn’t say “again obey.” It says, “And you will return and obey.”
There was never a time when Israel faithfully obeyed all the commandments which Moses commanded them. If there was, they would not have needed Jesus. They would have fulfilled the law. With that understood, what does it mean that Israel will do all the Lord’s commandment which Moses commands them?
One view is that the Law of Moses will again be in effect during the millennium. The temple described by Ezekiel has sacrifices. Isaiah 66 seemingly refers to dietary laws, New Moon and Sabbath observances, and so on during this time. If this is so, then the words of Hebrews that the law is annulled, obsolete, and set aside in Christ are contradictory.
The correct view is that in coming to Christ, who fulfilled the law, Israel is fulfilling all of the laws of Moses. He accomplished for them, and indeed for all who come to Him, everything that the law only anticipates and pictures. A law that is annulled is done with. Israel has not yet learned that. Until they do, they will not be included in what God has done.
9 The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good.
The verse begins with And. “And the Lord your God will.” There is a mutual aspect to the words. Israel will do this, and the Lord will do that.” Further, the words continue in the singular, just as they have through the entire passage.
Israel will abound in all the ways promised here. It is reflective of the words of the blessing promised in Deuteronomy 28. Everything they set their hand to will be blessed. It will be a time of abundance and prosperity for them –
“Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob;
Israel shall blossom and bud,
And fill the face of the world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:6
It is one of a very long list of the blessings that will be realized during the millennium. And there is a reason for this…
9 (con’t) For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good
Again, the word “again” gives the wrong sense. It says, “For will return Yehovah to rejoice over you to good.” The comparison is to the fathers of the next clause, not to Israel of the past. The Lord will return to rejoice over Israel…
9 (con’t) as He rejoiced over your fathers,
The question that must be asked in order to understand this is, “Who are ‘your fathers?’” The answer is found in the singular. Moses has not spoken in the plural even once so far. Therefore, it is speaking of the fathers of Israel, not the fathers of the people of Israel.
It is a clear indication that the previous verse is not speaking of the people obeying the Law of Moses, but of following Christ who obeyed (and thus fulfilled) the Law of Moses.
The fathers, those before the law – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – who are being referred to here, did not have the law. They lived by faith, just as is recorded in Hebrews 11. In this, the Lord rejoiced over them. It is not observance of the law, but the obedience of faith that pleases the Lord. This is then highlighted in the next words…
10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law,
The word “if” is incorrect. It says: ki tishma – “when (or for) you hear (meaning obey).” It presupposes that this will happen someday, and it is what will bring the state of the Lord’s rejoicing over them.
But it is obvious that if this occurs after the New Covenant that was promised in Jeremiah, as we have already seen that such is the case, then it must mean that the obedience to the commandments and statutes is vicariously applied.
Moses has already said that the Lord will circumcise their heart. This is in response to accepting the work of Messiah, not adherence to the law. That will be shown true, once again, in our closing verse for today…
*10 (fin) and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Again, the word “if” is incorrect. It is not conditional. It says, “when (or for) you turn to Yehovah your God.” The ESV is the closest to what the Hebrew says –
“when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
How does one keep all the words of the Book of the Law? Israel, even in the future, could only failingly do so. The reason why is because the words are written to Israel, the nation. If one person fails to keep the words of the law, then the nation has failed. And it is quite clear that even in the millennium, this will be the case –
“No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
For the child shall die one hundred years old,
But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.” Isaiah 65:20
If there is a sinner in the millennium among Israel, then Israel would fail to keep all of the commandments. Even if the people executed the punishment of the law upon the offender, the words of Moses are in the singular, not the plural. It is an all-or-nothing scenario. Hence, the goal is not the law, but Jesus, who embodies the law.
When, not if, Israel turns to the Lord with all of the heart and all of the soul, Israel will find its rest and will find its peace. This is the lesson of the carefully chosen words of Moses. And it is the same lesson for each individual today – Jew or Gentile.
We cannot find peace without the Lord, and there is no rest for the wicked. Only in coming to Christ is the sin debt cancelled. But when that happens, the peace of God, and the rest which is found in Christ, is made available to that soul.
There is a lot of theology tied up in today’s verses, but the main message is surprisingly easy to understand. God has done the work through Christ, He offers forgiveness by faith in that, and in His forgiveness, reconciliation with Him is realized.
It is all summed up in the gospel. Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again. If you believe that message and call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved. Be sure to do that today.
Closing Verse: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘the man who does them shall live by them.’
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:10-14
Next Week: Deuteronomy 30:11-20 In Him ends the enmity and the strife… (For He Is Your Life) (88th Deuteronomy Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
The Lord Your God Will Circumcise Your Heart
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you
The blessing and the curse which I have set before you
———-as I now do
And you call them to mind among all the nations
Where the LORD your God drives you
And you return to the LORD your God
And obey His voice, to Him your obedience you roll
According to all that I command you today
You and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul
That the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity
And have compassion on you, so He will do
And gather you again from all the nations
Where the LORD your God has scattered you
If any of you are driven out
To the farthest parts under heaven, as He said He would do
From there the LORD your God will gather you
And from there He will bring you
Then the LORD your God will bring you
To the land which your fathers possessed, as He promised to do
And you shall possess it
He will more than your fathers prosper you and multiply you
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart
And the heart of your descendants that to you He does give
To love the LORD your God
With all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live
“Also the LORD your God will put all these curses, so He shall do
On your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you
And you will again obey
The voice of the LORD, so I say
And do all His commandments
Which I command you today
The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work
———-of your hand
In the fruit of your body, let this be understood
In the increase of your livestock
And in the produce of your land for good
For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good
As He rejoiced over your fathers, so He will do
If you obey the voice of the LORD your God
To keep His commandments and His statutes too
Which are written
In this Book of the Law, not in part but in whole
And if you turn to the LORD your God
With all your heart and with all your soul
Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true
And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. 5 Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 6 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.
7 “Also the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 8 And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today. 9 The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, 10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.