So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.
Much of chapter 10 is directed specifically at the Israelites. It does not mean that there are no principles to be drawn out, only that the primary audience; the people to whom the words were spoken, were the Israelites. This morning’s verse comes on the heels of Moses telling the Israelites that God chose their forefathers and them (v15). Moses has already established that God’s choosing has nothing to do with whether or not a person deserves it or warrants it or has in any way earned it, but rather that it is because God has chosen and that is all.
So takes me back to that idea that God has chosen. The New Testament speaks of those who are saved as the elect; those chosen by God. If anyone reading this is wondering if they are among the elect, put your faith in Christ and find that you are. So also makes what has gone before the condition of what follows.
The results of God’s choosing me; the proper response to God’s choice of me should be to circumcise [my] heart, and stiffen [my] neck no longer. I should remove the unnecessary from my inner being; cut away the superfluous things from my heart. And the world has much that it offers in the way of the superfluous. There is always some new thing to distract or amuse me with the intent of adding to the unnecessary things on my heart. The second part of the injunction is that I not continue being stiff-necked. The image I get is of an animal that is not willing to lower its head and do the work, like an ox that will not get down to the business of plowing the field. Following God will not be easy. It is, as some have aptly said, a battleground, not a playground. I will contend with my own sinful desires and with the temptations placed before me by a sinful world system and by the temptations put to me by those who — wittingly or no — hate my soul. I need to be ready to bow my head to God in submission and to look at the path ahead of me; where the work needs doing.
I have much growth yet in this arena. My neck is still far too stiff and my heart still crusted with unnecessary things.
Father, please forgive my stiff neck and my prodigal heart. Please cut away the unnecessary from my heart and teach me to bend my neck to You and the work You have for me.