3 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:
“Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts,
you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or My wrath will flare up and burn like fire
because of the evil you have done—burn with no one to quench it.
Today we in chapter four with one of my favorite verses Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts. I once did a series on circumcision and this verse and a few more like it really made an impact upon me. Much is made in the Old Testament on the need for the men to be circumcised to mark themselves for God as the people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, there were other references to the heart as well and of it being more important.
16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. Deuteronomy 10
6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. Deuteronomy 30
And then from the New Testament
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. Romans 2
Even more importantly is what Paul said about physical circumcision
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5
Of course the only way faith can express itself through love is through a circumcised heart.
The most amazing thing about verse four above is how God says Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts clearly indicating we have the ability to circumcise our own hearts. So how is this done? The Lord provides some real insight to the answer of that question in the prior verses
1 “If you, Israel, will return, then return to Me,” declares the Lord.
“If you put your detestable idols out of My sight and no longer go astray,
2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
then the nations will invoke blessings by Him and in Him they will boast.”
So we return to God meaning we repent. We also get the detestable idols (sin we put before God) out of His sight and out of our lives. In addition, we no longer go astray or rather no longer do we live a life of sin. Finally we swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’ which seems somewhat odd at the first look/read until we realize it is a statement of faith. It may be compared to how we often conclude our prayers with “in Jesus’ name.”
Once again, God has shown it the condition of our hearts that He is interested in and how our hearts relate to Him in our faith and faith walk. Thus, He gave us the Free Gift of Grace, His Son on the cross to pay for our sins. Our heavenly Father truly wants us in His family.