Jeremiah 9:23-26 – This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,  but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.  “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh–  Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”
It’s great fun and a tremendous blessing to see the harmony of God’s Word – in both Old and New Testaments. We would notice this more often than we do if we read it more regularly.
Today’s text is a perfect example.
We often think that a discussion of God’s desire for a circumcised heart is the exclusive domain of the New Testament (and St. Paul in particular). However, this truth can be found in the Old Testament as well. Jeremiah 9 reveals to us that God’s desire for this was not exclusively a New Testament phenomenon.
Israel often confused its position before God as a token of only the external. “It’s because our flesh has been circumcised that we are in good stead with God,” they might say. But it was never that. Instead, their physical circumcision was to be an outward expression of the inward disposition of their heart toward God.
Jeremiah prophesied that God would one day punish those who relied solely on outward (even ethnic) expressions of religiosity. Jesus never had much good to say about mere external expressions of one’s faith. He likened such conduct to whitewashed tombs that were full of dead men’s bones. They looked pretty on the outside, but inside they were grotesque.
This has been God’s desire for us from the very beginning. Abel gave to God from the best of his first fruits. He inwardly wanted to please God we are led to believe. There was no “going through the motions” for Abel.
How is with it with you?
Has your heart been consecrated to the Lord God Almighty? Is he your exclusive master? Do you give him the first fruits of your time, talent, and treasure? Or, is he sharing the throne with you, receiving only what is left over in your life? The truth is, God will have none of that. He wants all of you…in every sphere of your life.
Why not lay all of your life on the altar before him as a living sacrifice of praise. I don’t know about you, but I know that God can do a lot more with my life than I can. Why not let him have it – all of it – for his glory and your good.
Grace and Truth,