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Aug 06, 2023

Circumcise Your Hearts

Passage: Deuteronomy 10:10-22

Preacher: Jess Achenbach

Series: Deuteronomy

Category: Old Testament

Keywords: home, moses, heart, circumcision, deuteronomy


My heart Christ's home, the summary as to how it pertains to Moses call for the "Circumcision of the heart".


Circumcise your Heart

August 6, 2023

We find ourselves back in the book of Deuteronomy this morning in Chapter 10.  You can turn in your bibles there to verse 10 or you can follow along with the screen.  Before we read the passage, I want to give some context to the passage.  Chapter 9 and the first 10 verses of chapter 10 Moses has been recounting the story of how he got the 10 commandments, how when he came down from the mountain and saw that the people had made a golden calf and were worshipping it, he broke the original tablets and then God had him make some more, then God again wrote with His finger on these new tablets the law. Let’s read the two verses 10 and 11.


10 “I myself stayed on the mountain, as at the first time, forty days and forty nights, and the Lord listened to me that time also. The Lord was unwilling to destroy you. 11 And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go on your journey at the head of the people, so that they may go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give them.


All through this process, Moses is pleading with God not to destroy the people because of their disobedience.  In verse 11 Moses fast forwards back to the current time which is around 40 years later and gives them this message, almost as an application on the recounted story that he just told. 



12 “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, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? 14 Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart and be no longer stubborn. 17 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. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. 21 He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.


As I looked at the passage, I began to think about all the different messages that we have been hearing since we started going through Deuteronomy back in January.  I would have to say that Moses has been very consistent in his preaching style.  He continues to Glorify God, highlight the Law of God, remind them of some event that happened and why they need to obey God, unlike what they did in the past.  There is often a truth that becomes the application for us the modern Christian as we apply these same lessons to our own behaviors.


He starts the passage like the Shemah.  Does anyone know what that is?  It is a section of scripture from Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


The Jews would pray this prayer twice a day.  Jesus used it as part of a response when He was asked about the most important commandment in Matthew 22.

Shemah, the word means “Hear” that is how the Hebrew works, they name the thing after the first word.  Just like the books of the Pentateuch,







In the Beginning



These are the Names



And He Called



In the Wilderness



These are the Words


We can see the same pattern here, and so I broke the whole passage down into these parts.  Instead of reading the whole thing again, let’s look at the breakdown.


  • Fear the Lord
  • Walk in all His ways.
  • Love Him
  • Serve Him
    • With all your heart
    • With all your soul
  • Keep the commandments and Statutes.
  • God owns all the heavens and everything on earth.
  • He chose to love your fathers and their descendants.

BECAUSE OF THIS: CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS (So that you will lose your stubbornness)

Why? Because He is:

  • God of gods
  • Lord of lords
  • Great
  • Mighty
  • Awesome
  • Not Partial
  • Takes NO bribes.
  • Provides justice for widows and orphans.
  • Provides the alien with food and clothes.

As I was preparing this message, I was wondering how much of this would just be word study, and how much application, and as I bounced ideas off John and Bob, I began to lean more towards application than just getting the word-by-word teaching.  The dividing truth here I believe, and the one that I am going to camp on this morning is this middle section Circumcise your Hearts.  He gives the instructions and then the reason why to do it. 


One of the things I found out about the Jews that he was talking to is that they were not circumcised, well most of them weren’t.  If they were under the age of twenty and were part of the surviving group that left Egypt, then they would have been circumcised, but they didn’t bother to do that while they were in the Wilderness.

Keep in mind that this was part of the Abrahamic Covenant way back in Genesis 17:10-14 Here God is talking to Abraham:

10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”


It sounds serious, so I am not sure why they had not followed the covenant while they were wandering, but we see it in Joshua 5:4-7

4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. 5 Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. 6 For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way.

The odd thing is that it doesn’t explain why they were disobedient.  We can guess, I mean, they were on the go, they broke camp whenever God told them to, (Josh 5:5–6)— “On the word of the LORD they made camp and on a sign from the LORD they broke camp” so perhaps they didn’t want a newborn with a bleeding wound while they were travelling. 


However, in Exodus 4 when Moses was travelling to Egypt with his wife, he circumcised his son while they are travelling specifically in the wilderness. 


Part of me wants to find a reason for why they HAD to disobey God and not circumcise while on the move to help give them an excuse, almost like it gives me some excuse for when I sin.


I must wonder how this hit for the people Moses was talking to in today’s passage, he is telling them to circumcise their hearts, and they were not even in compliance with the Abrahamic covenant when it came to physical circumcision.


Circumcision is a painful, bloody, scaring and very intimate procedure.  I am sure that the men that had to go through this process as adults wished that their parents had been obedient in the wilderness and had it done on the 8th day as God had commanded.  They were obedient though, and because of that they were successful at taking over the promised land from the Canaanites.


Stubbornness is the key word that is tied to this circumcision of the heart.  The actual word here is stiff necked.  So I looked it up in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Stiff-Necked


stif'-nekt (qesheh `oreph, literally, "hard of neck"):

As it is figuratively used, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, the word means "stubborn," "untractable," "not to be led." The derivation of the idea was entirely familiar to the Jews, with whom the ox was the most useful and common of domestic animals. It was especially used for such agricultural purposes as harrowing and plowing (Judges 14:18; 1 Corinthians 9:9).

The plow was usually drawn by two oxen. As the plowman required but one hand to guide the plow, he carried in the other an "ox-goad." This was a light pole, shod with an iron spike. With this he would prick the oxen upon the hind legs to increase their speed, and upon the neck to turn, or to keep a straight course when deviating. If an ox was hard to control or stubborn, it was "hard of neck," or stiff-necked. Hence, the figure was used in the Scriptures to express the stubborn, untractable spirit of a people not responsive to the guiding of their God (Exodus 32:9; 33:3; Deuteronomy 9:6; 2 Chronicles 36:13; Jeremiah 17:23, etc.). See also the New Testament where sklerotrachelos, is so translated (Acts 7:51), “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.”

I had to ask myself where am I in the process of circumcision of the heart?  What does that even mean?  Well, Moses has outlined it above, to follow the law, love God first etc. and the easy answer is this, when you completely surrender your life to Christ making decisions that are holy rather than the unholy ones.  This is much easier said than done.


What Moses is saying here is so much more than that: it is to cut off the evil of the world, to cut off the flesh that we leave behind when we follow Christ so that you will not live that part of your life anymore.  That cutting will be painful, and yet we hold onto it, these things that cause us to be stiff necked.  My desire to rationalize the reasons why I don’t need to truly do that is strong!  How can I identify the specific sins and then cut them out of my life?  I can give you the simple answer: Pray, be in the word, and fellowship, but I think there is more.  We need to make ourselves take the time to do inventory.  Asking God to show us the areas that need to be circumcised.

In Ephesians Paul writes a prayer in chapter 3:16-17a …that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith


This verse is found at the front of this little booklet.  It is entitled My Heart-Christ’s Home. It was first published back in the 1950’S and has had a profound impact on many believers.  This book outlines what I think Moses was telling the people to do when he said circumcise your heart.  Not only that it shows a clear image of what it is like as a believer to surrender completely your life to Christ.


I am taking some license with this book, cutting quite a bit, but hopefully leaving the main message.


By Robert Boyd Munger


"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him

and make our home with him." John 14:23, NIV

One evening, I invited Jesus Christ into my heart. What an entrance He made! It was not a

spectacular, emotional thing, but very real. Something happened at the very center of my life. He

came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light. He built a fire on the hearth and

banished the chill. He started music where there had been stillness, and He filled the emptiness

with His own loving, wonderful fellowship. I have never regretted opening the door to Christ and I

never will.

In the joy of this new relationship, I said to Jesus Christ, "Lord, I want this heart of mine to be

Yours. I want to have You settle down here and be perfectly at home. Everything I have belongs to

You. Let me show You around."

The Study

The first room was the study—the library. In my home, this room of the mind is a very small room

with very thick walls. But it is a very important room. In a sense, it is the control room of the

house. He entered with me and looked around at the books in the bookcase, the magazines upon

the table, the pictures on the walls. As I followed His gaze, I became uncomfortable. Strangely, I

had not felt self-conscious about this before, but now that He was there looking at these things, I

was embarrassed. Some books were there that His eyes were too pure to behold. On the table

were a few magazines that a Christian had no business reading. As for the pictures on the walls—

the imaginations and thoughts of the mind—some of these were shameful.

Red-faced, I turned to Him and said, "Master, I know that this room needs to be cleaned up and

made over. Will You help me make it what it ought to be?”

"Certainly!" He said. “I'm glad to help you. First of all, take all the things that you are reading and

looking at which are not helpful, pure, good and true, and throw them out! Now, put on the empty

shelves the books of the Bible. Fill the library with Scripture and meditate on it day and night. As

for the pictures on the walls, you will have difficulty controlling these images, but I have

something that will help.” He gave me a full-size portrait of Himself. "Hang this centrally," He said,

"on the wall of the mind." I did, and I have discovered through the years that when my thoughts

are centered upon Christ Himself, His purity and power cause impure thoughts to back away. So

He has helped me to bring my thoughts under His control.

The Dining Room

From the study we went into the dining room, the room of appetites and desires. I spent a lot of

time and hard work here trying to satisfy my wants. I said to Him, "This is a favorite room. I am

quite sure You will be pleased with what we serve.”

He seated Himself at the table with me and asked, “What is on the menu for dinner?”

“Well,” I said, “my favorite dishes: money, academic degrees and stocks, with newspaper articles

of fame and fortune as side dishes.”

These were the things I liked: secular fare. When the food was placed before Him, He said nothing,

but I observed that He did not eat it.

I said to Him, "Master, don't You care for this food? What is the trouble?”

He answered, "I have food to eat that you do not know of. If you want food that really satisfies you,

do the will of the Father. Stop seeking your own pleasures, desires, and satisfaction. Seek to

please Him. That food will satisfy you.” There at the table He gave me a taste of the joy of doing

God's will. What flavor! There is no food like it in all the world. It alone satisfies.


The Living Room

From the dining room we walked into the living room. This room was intimate and comfortable. I

liked it. It had a fireplace, overstuffed chairs, a sofa, and a quiet atmosphere.

He said, "This is, indeed, a delightful room. Let us come here often. It is secluded and quiet, and

we can fellowship together." Well, as a young Christian I was thrilled. I couldn't think of anything I

would rather do than have a few minutes with Christ in close companionship. He promised, "I will

be here early every morning. Meet me here, and we will start the day together.”

So morning after morning, I would come downstairs to the living room. He would take a book of

the Bible from the case. We would open it and read together. He would unfold to me the wonder of

God's saving truths. My heart sang as He shared the love and the grace He had toward me. These

were wonderful times.

However, little by little, under the pressure of many responsibilities, this time began to be

shortened. Why, I'm not sure. I thought I was too busy to spend regular time with Christ. This was

not intentional, you understand. It just happened that way. Finally, not only was the time

shortened, but I began to miss days now and then. Urgent matters would crowd out the quiet

times of conversation with Jesus. I remember one morning rushing downstairs, eager to be on my

way. I passed the living room and noticed that the door was open. Looking in, I saw a fire in the

fireplace and Jesus was sitting there.

Suddenly, in dismay, I thought to myself, "He is my guest. I invited Him into my heart! He has

come as my Savior and Friend, and yet I am neglecting Him." I stopped, turned and hesitantly went

  1. With downcast glance, I said, "Master, forgive me. Have You been here all these mornings?”

"Yes," He said, "I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you. Remember, I love you.

I have redeemed you at great cost. I value your fellowship. Even if you cannot keep the quiet time

for your own sake, do it for mine.”

The truth that Christ desires my companionship, that He wants me to be with Him and waits for

me, has done more to transform my quiet time with God than any other single fact. Don't let Christ

wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every day find time when, with your Bible and in

prayer, you may be together with Him.

The Workroom  I am going to skip this one, and let you read about it for yourself.


The Rec Room

He asked me if I had a rec room where I went for fun and fellowship. I was hoping He would not

ask about that. There were certain associations and activities that I wanted to keep for myself.

One evening when I was on my way out with some of my buddies, He stopped me with a glance

and asked, "Are you going out?”

I replied, “Yes.”

"Good," He said, "I would like to go with you.”

"Oh," I answered rather awkwardly. "I don't think, Lord Jesus, that You would really enjoy where

we are going. Let's go out together tomorrow night. Tomorrow night we will go to a Bible class at

church, but tonight I have another appointment.”

"I'm sorry," He said. "I thought that when I came into your home, we were going to do everything

together, to be close companions. I just want you to know that I am willing to go with you.”

"Well," I mumbled, slipping out the door, "we will go someplace together tomorrow night." That

evening I spent some miserable hours. I felt rotten. What kind of friend was I to Jesus, deliberately

leaving Him out of my life, doing things and going places that I knew very well He would not


When I returned that evening, there was a light in His room, and I went up to talk it over with Him.

I said, "Lord, I have learned my lesson. I know now that I can't have a good time without You. From

now on, we will do everything together." Then we went down into the rec room of the house. He

transformed it. He brought new friends, new excitement, new joys. Laughter and music have been

ringing through the house ever since.

The Bedroom: I am skipping this one as well.

The Hall Closet

One day I found Him waiting for me at the door. An arresting look was in His eye. As I entered, He

said to me, "There is a peculiar odor in the house. Something must be dead around here. It's

upstairs. I think it is in the hall closet." As soon as He said this, I knew what He was talking about.

There was a small closet up there on the hall landing, just a few feet square. In that closet, behind

lock and key, I had one or two little personal things that I did not want anyone to know about.

Certainly, I did not want Christ to see them. I knew they were dead and rotting things left over from

the old life. I wanted them so for myself that I was afraid to admit they were there. Reluctantly, I

went up with Him, and as we mounted the stairs the odor became stronger and stronger. He

pointed to the door. I was angry. That's the only way I can put it. I had given Him access to the

library, the dining room, the living room, the workroom, the rec room, and now He was asking me

about a little two-by-four closet.

I said to myself, "This is too much. I am not going to give Him the key.”

"Well," He said, reading my thoughts, "if you think I'm going to stay up here on the second floor

with this smell, you are mistaken. I will go out on the porch." Then I saw Him start down the stairs.

When one comes to know and love Christ, the worst thing that can happen is to sense Him

withdrawing His fellowship. I had to give in.

"I'll give You the key," I said sadly, "but You will have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven't

the strength to do it.”

"Just give me the key," He said. "Authorize me to take care of that closet and I will." With trembling

fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it, walked over to the door, opened it, entered, took out all

the putrefying stuff that was rotting there, and threw it away. Then He cleaned the closet and

painted it. It was done in a moment's time. Oh, what victory and release to have that dead thing

out of my life!

Transferring the Title

A thought came to me. "Lord, is there any chance that You would take over the management of the

whole house and operate it for me as You did that closet? Would You take the responsibility to

keep my life what it ought to be?”

His face lit up as He replied, "I'd love to! That is what I want to do. You cannot be a victorious

Christian in your own strength. Let me do it through you and for you. That is the way. But," He

added slowly, "I am just a guest. I have no authority to proceed, since the property is not mine.”

Dropping to my knees, I said, "Lord, You have been a guest and I have been the host. From now on

I am going to be the servant. You are going to be the owner and Master." Running as fast as I

could to the strongbox, I took out the title deed to the house describing its assets and liabilities,

location and situation. I eagerly signed the house over to Him alone for time and eternity. "Here," I

said. "Here it is, all that I am and have, forever. Now You run the house. I'll just remain with You as

a servant and friend.” Things are different since Jesus Christ has settled down and has made His

home in my heart.

Have you surrendered the title of your life to Jesus? Which of the “rooms” of your heart do you

need Jesus to work on the most? Take some time to think over the areas of your life. Then spend

some time praying and asking Jesus to make those areas pleasing to him. Write down some

specific applications and be ready to share about how you will do that.