Today’s reading begins with a reminder that God’s choosing of Israel was not because of their righteousness and concludes with a reminder to serve the LORD.
God knew the heart of Israel, and their tendency to stray from His commands. What’s important for me to remember is that just because Israel is the subject of this passage, I have every bit the tendency to forsake God and His commands. If the story of the Old Testament, of the entire Bible, was my family, the same obstinate actions would characterize our lives. God in this passage through the words of Moses reminds Israel that it’s not because of their righteousness, their worthiness that convinced God to drive the nations out from them and give them the land that they would soon possess. It was because God had made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give them the Promised Land. It was God’s faithfulness to His covenant that would be the means that Israel would come into possession of the good land.
In addition to the reminder of God’s faithfulness to His covenant being the reason that Israel was about to come into possession of the Promised Land, he reminded Israel of some of the acts of disobedience that displeased the LORD and displayed their lack of faithfulness to God. One of the most egregious acts was the molding and worship of the Golden Calf. This story and the subsequent smashing of the original tablets that God had written are stated here to put an exclamation point on the disobedience that tended to characterize the Israelites.
This passage contains a very interesting set of verses that speak to circumcision, not of the flesh of a male infant, but of the heart. Chapter 10, verses 12-22 speak to how God’s requirement of the people is for them to walk in His ways, to as He says “circumcise…the foreskin of your heart”. It seems here that God is trying to remind people that although male infants have a foreskin that must be circumcised as a requirement of the Law. This act represents the universal act of circumcision of the heart, removing the flesh and living by faith in obedience to the LORD.