The LORD is presented in His supremacy and exaltation. He is above creation; He is not a part of it. In the universe He has connected Himself alone with the offspring of Abraham. The first reason for Israel to love God is therefore that God first loved them and chose them in this special relationship with Him. The apostle John writes about this: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins” and: “We love, because He first loved us” (1Jn 4:10,1910In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.19We love, because He first loved us.; Rom 5:88But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.).
The reaction of the people should be to circumcise their heart. An uncircumcised heart means a heart that is self-willing and rebellious to God (Lev 26:4141I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity,; Eze 44:7,97when you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to profane it, [even] My house, when you offered My food, the fat and the blood; for they made My covenant void—[this] in addition to all your abominations.9‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the sons of Israel, shall enter My sanctuary.). In the Old Testament, too, faith understands that an exclusively outward circumcision cannot have any value to God. The external separation from the nations around them, of which the physical circumcision is the sign, must be accompanied by the circumcision of the heart (Deu 30:66“Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.; Jer 4:44“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD
And remove the foreskins of your heart,
Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
Or else My wrath will go forth like fire
And burn with none to quench it,
Because of the evil of your deeds.”
; 9:25-2625“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised—26Egypt and Judah, and Edom and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those inhabiting the desert who clip the hair on their temples; for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.”). For the believers of the New Testament it is not an external circumcision, but an internal circumcision, that of the heart (Rom 2:28-2928For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.29But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.).
Without circumcision of the heart, no true fear, which means respect, for or true love of God is possible. To confirm this exhortation, Moses points to the Being and acting of God. To penetratingly represent the infinite greatness and power of God, Moses describes Him as “God of gods and the Lord of Lords”. As the God of the gods, He transcends all power and might. As the Lord of Lords, He has unlimited authority over all government and authority in heaven and on earth. He is above all that affects people and their decisions. He gives justice to those who are without protection, and He is full of love for those who are in distress.
The proof that we possess the Divine nature is provided by keeping God’s commandments and showing love. These two characteristics are mentioned in the first letter of John again and again. God loves the stranger, and that also applies to us now. All the love we produce according to the will of God is modelled on the love of God’s own heart.
God’s love has been poured out within our hearts. That love we are therefore able to prove to others. Those who have been in trouble themselves, and have found mercy with God, must have a deep sympathy with those who are also in trouble. They must also be willing to prove their love. God does not see the person of man. He acts out of His own love for everyone who needs His help, while people tend to exploit the helpless.
Fear or awe, respect for God, is expressed in verse 2020You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. in three ways:
1. serve Him which is shown in the deed;
2. cling to Him, what is done in the heart (Deu 4:44But you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you.);
3. swearing by his name as done by the mouth (Deu 6:1313You shall fear [only] the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.).
The God to whom they are so intimately connected is their praise. He is worthy of praise. The reason for Israel is given in verse 2222Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons [in all], and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven., where Moses points out that God has fulfilled His promise (Gen 15:5,13-215And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”13[God] said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.14But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.15As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.16Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”17It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, [there appeared] a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.18On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,
“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
19the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite20and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim21and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”).
That God is our praise; He is the object and the content of our priestly service. To this end we are also called: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Heb 13:1515Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.). He gives every reason to do so. From our side there is nothing impressive, everything is very meagre. What we have become comes all from God. The reflection of God’s glory will be seen in numerous “stars” (Dan 12:33Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.; 2Thes 1:1010when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.; Mt 13:4343Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.). This will be eternally reason to praise Him.