“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 and all that is in it. Yet the Lord has 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.”
I had to print the whole passage, right? Which part could I have left out? The perfect requirements that only the perfect Son of God could fulfill? The fact that the One exacting those requirements just happens to be the Creator and Owner of the entire universe and everything in it, including those of whom those perfect requirements are being exacted? The shocking reality of the resounding YET? “Yet the Lord has set His heart IN LOVE on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, YOU above all peoples, AS YOU ARE today!” Can it really be?
And can one leave out or do less then the expected response that follows? “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart and be no longer stubborn.” Well, we all do, right? I mean do less. That’s why the Great Exactor had to be the Great Fulfiller, right? It was Christ Himself who for the stubborn sheep, all gone astray, became the silent, submissive Lamb led to slaughter and was “CUT OFF from the land of the living (Isaiah 53).” Only the Perfect Circumciser of Hearts could cut out a heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh, fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, our only hope and means of obedience (Ezekiel 36:26,27).
Is He not our praise! Has not this Creator and Possessor of the universe done great and terrifying things, not the least of which is the circumcision of our own rebellious, rock hard hearts? He is our praise indeed!
King David picks up this same theme when he prays for those assembled with offerings for the temple in 1 Chronicles 29:10-22.
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours… BUT…”
There we have it again. The shocking reality of another “YET.”
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer WILLINGLY? For all things come from you, and of your own we have given you.
David acknowledges that all they have given already belongs to God because everything in the heavens and the earth is His anyway. EVEN the willingness of their hearts to give is a gift given and sustained by God! That is why David continues his prayer interceding on behalf of his people and specifically, the heir to his throne who will continue the temple work.
“KEEP forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and DIRECT their hearts toward you. GRANT to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, and your testimonies, and your statutes.”
Not only is He our praise, He gives us a heart of flesh willing to worship!
“Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!” (Psalm 89:5)