“Outside-In and Inside-Out Religion: Part 2”  

Deuteronomy 10:12-22 

October 8, 2023 

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service 

Pastor Nicoletti 

The Reading of the Word 

We return this morning to the Deuteronomy 10:12-22, where Moses is giving instruction to the people of Israel, after forty years in the desert, as they stand on the verge of the promised land. 

Last week we looked at this passage and we considered how biblical religion is meant to shape our hearts from the outside in. This morning we return to the very same text, and we see how biblical religion is also meant to shape our lives from the inside out. 

With that in mind, let’s turn to our text: Deuteronomy 10:12-22. 

Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning. 

Moses said to the people: 

10:12 “And now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of Yahweh, which I am commanding you today for your good? 14 Behold, to Yahweh your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15 Yet Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh 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 Yahweh your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven. 

This is the Word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.) 

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25] 

Let’s pray … 

Prayer of Illumination 

Lord, your testimonies are wonderful; 

therefore our souls cling to them. 

The unfolding of your word gives light; 

it imparts understanding to the simple. 

Therefore we long for your word  

and your commandments. 

Turn to us now and be gracious to us, 

as is your way with those who love your name. 

Keep our steps steady according to your promise, 

and let no iniquity have dominion over us. 

Redeem us from the oppression of the world, 

that we may keep your precepts. 

Make your face to shine upon us, your servants, 

and teach us your statutes. 

Grant all of this, we ask, for Jesus’s sake. Amen. 

[Based on Psalm 119:129-135] 


As we noted last week, Moses begins this passage, in verses twelve and thirteen, by going back and forth between describing how biblical faith should shape both the disposition of our hearts, internally, and the pattern of our lives, externally. [Wright, 145; Block, 270; Theopolis, Episode 652, 45:00ff] And as we read on, we see that it’s not just that these two dimensions of faith are both important, but also that they are linked, so that in biblical faith, the external and the internal should shape and influence one another. 

Our tendency, however, is often to favor one of these dimensions of faith over the other, and to weaken or even sever the link between them. 

Some people experience faith as mainly an external thing, without it seeming to really reach and shape their internal hearts. Others experience faith as mainly an internal thing, without it finding much connection to or expression in their external lives. But Moses pushes against both of those tendencies here in our text. 

Last week we focused on how biblical religion works from the outside in – how the external means of grace are supposed to shape our hearts, internally, through faith. That’s a very important dimension of this text, and that sermon is up on our website. 

This morning we will focus on the second dimension of our text: that biblical religion should also shape our lives from the inside out. 

And this is an important thing for us to consider because we live in a world that urges us more and more to divide ourselves up into parts, to keep some internal, some external, to put some on display in one setting and hidden in another, swapping identities in and out from place to place. And as we fall into those common cultural patterns, we often disconnect our faith from aspects of our external lives … and we justify it by thinking of our faith as something that is mainly internal, hidden in our hearts. 

And so, it’s not uncommon when talking to young men and women in the Church – young adults who grew up in the Church, and are active in the Church, and would strongly identify as Christians – it’s not uncommon to hear them express a sense that their sexuality and their faith can operate somewhat independently from each other. After all, their faith is internal and of the heart, and their sexuality is an external action of the body. This claim tends to shock and upset an older generation of Christians – and understandably so … but before they get too self-righteous, I’ll add that it seems to me that among middle aged and older Christians it’s often an unspoken assumption that their money and their faith can operate somewhat independently from each other. I mean, if you’re especially careful, you might anxiously look into what the Bible’s minimum requirement for financial giving is, and try to check that box … but the fact is, if we looked at how you use your money … or how you use 90% of your money … and we compared it to the financial habits of a secular pagan of the same age and income-bracket … I wonder if we could tell the difference between the believer and the unbeliever. Because we tend to assume a split between our internal faith and our external finances. 

Still other Christians live out that divide at work. In their hearts, and maybe in their Bible reading in the morning, they connect internally with their faith, but then in terms of how they conduct themselves at work, how they treat those under them in the workplace, or how they speak of those over them, or how they engage in workplace politics … their external conduct seems completely disconnected from their internal claims of Christian faith. 

For others, it’s how they engage with people online: the way they’ll speak of political figures or cultural leaders or debate opponents, so that when they log into their favorite social media platform, they seem to set their internal faith aside, and their speech becomes indistinguishable from the that of the unbelieving world. 

Whatever the details, where do you see this sort of pattern in your own life? Where do you tend to treat your faith as a sacred internal thing, but then disconnect it from your external life – whether in one area of life, or multiple areas of life? 

Moses here counters that disconnection. Moses here tells us that biblical religion should shape our lives from the inside out. 

More specifically, what we see here is that hearts shaped by biblical faith, should bear good fruit in the world around us, by counter-intuitive means, and in counter-cultural ways. 

Let me say that again: Hearts shaped by biblical faith should bear good fruit in the world around us, by counter-intuitive means, and in counter-cultural ways. 

Let’s break that statement down a bit. 

Hearts Shaped by Biblical Faith 

First, in biblical religion, our hearts are to be shaped by faith. 

Now, as I said, we talked about this last week, so I won’t spend much time on it today. But it’s important to see that the transformation of one’s life is supposed to be rooted in the heart. Moses doesn’t just give Israel a code of external conduct – he is concerned in verses twelve and thirteen about the affections of their heart, and he makes that explicit in verse sixteen as he exhorts them about the state of their hearts. Biblical religion is concerned with our hearts. 

In the Bible, the heart is “the organ of understanding and feeling.” [Alter, 933] It’s the symbolic site not just of our emotions, but of our thoughts, our will, and our deepest commitments. And Moses makes it clear here that biblical faith should both reach and reshape our hearts. 

And so, your faith can’t just be a part of your external life. It needs to reach your deepest affections, desires, and beliefs. That’s the first thing Moses is getting at here. 

Biblical religion should reach and shape our hearts. But it shouldn’t stop there. Which brings us to our next point. 

Should Bear Good Fruit in the World Around Us 

Second, what we see here is that hearts shaped by biblical faith should bear good fruit in the world around us. 

In verse sixteen, Moses says: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart.” And as we hear that command, we need to recognize that circumcision was linked with fruitfulness, in the Bible, in the ancient world, and by the nature of the sign itself. 

We see this link for Israel in our text. Verse fifteen brings up the topic of offspring in Israel, verse sixteen speaks next of circumcision, and then verse twenty-two returns to the theme of offspring. 

But the pattern is even more explicit in Genesis seventeen, where the rite of circumcision is established with Abraham for Israel. There God begins with a promise of offspring [17:4-8], introduces the rite of circumcision to Abraham, [17:9-14], and then restates the promise of offspring for Abraham [17:15-21]. 

A similar connection existed in the ancient world around Israel, where anthropologists have noted that circumcision in tribal and ancient cultures (including in Egypt) was primarily a puberty rite, or rite of preparation for marriage [Lewis & Armerding, 700; Lewis, 657], which, as one scholar puts it, “makes sense if it is a sign of fertility” in those cultures. [Leithart, 87; also Altar, 82]  

But third, and perhaps most obviously, the theme of fruitfulness is tied up in the sign itself, which takes place at the site of male reproduction, fertility, and ultimately fruitfulness.  

There has been a lot of helpful theological thought over the last forty years among some Christians on how our physical bodies as human beings, point to spiritual realities – in a range of ways including in our physical distinctions as male and female. Both male and female, as people who bear the image of God, have spiritual realities written into their bodies symbolically – metaphors that the Bible itself picks up and reflects on. There are things we can say about how both male and female point to spiritual dynamics, but in our text this morning, centered on circumcision, the focus is on male fertility, and what it reflects about how hearts shaped by faith should operate. 

Male fertility and fruitfulness are distinct in that it produces offspring outside of itself. It’s an outward-facing fertility, where something produced internally is shared externally, in a way that leads to fruitfulness in the world around them. Male fruitfulness begins internally, but has its end externally. And while circumcision does not actually increase male fertility [per the Mayo Clinic], as one commentator notes, symbolically it does appear like a removal of a possible barrier or impediment to fertility. [Alter, 933] 

Our society tends to divide sexuality from fertility, but in the ancient world they were deeply linked. And so it seems difficult to believe that a discussion of circumcision was not linked, immediately and directly, in Israel’s minds with thoughts about fertility – a link that was reinforced by the ancient world around them, and by Genesis 17 as well. [Theopolis, Episode 652, 47:00ff] 

Circumcision was linked to fruitfulness. And here Moses calls on them to circumcise their hearts. 

The very idea leads to the topic of their hearts bearing fruit in the world around them. And so, it’s no surprise that this verse about circumcising their hearts  is introduced by Moses stressing the connection between internal hearts and external lives, and followed by an exhortation to live in certain ways, externally. Moses here is calling on every Israelite – male and female, men, women, and children, not just to have hearts that are shaped by biblical faith … but to have hearts shaped by biblical faith that will bear good fruit in the world around them. 

That’s the second thing we see here in our text. 

By Counter-Intuitive Means 

Third, we see here that hearts shaped by biblical faith should bear good fruit in the world around us, by counter-intuitive means. 

And here we need to consider that circumcision is an odd, counter-intuitive rite. 

It’s odd, as we consider Genesis 17, that the ritual linked with abundant fruitfulness is one that involves a partial removal of the male organ of fruitfulness. It’s odd, as we think about the body itself, that for a people as concerned with offspring as Israel was, the rite of circumcision involved a wounding of the site of male fertility. 

Circumcision is a counter-intuitive rite in many ways. It’s strange. But as some theologians reflect, that’s probably not an accident. 

As one theologian argues, for Israel, circumcision was a sign from God that his people could not rely on their flesh – they could not rely on themselves – to be what God had called them to be. They had to distrust their own power and resources, and look, instead, to the Lord. [Leithart, 88-90] 

And just as circumcision of the flesh was a counter-intuitive path to physical fruitfulness, circumcision of the heart is, for us, a counter-intuitive way to speak of spiritual fruitfulness. But in its counter-intuitive nature, it speaks to an important spiritual truth. 

As human beings, we bear God’s image – that is true. And so one aspect of spiritual growth involves nurturing and strengthening those aspects of our hearts that reflect God’s image and character. That’s an important truth … but it’s not the truth our text is focused on here. 

Our text here is focused on a complementary truth, that as fallen creatures, as people marred by sin, our hearts also have many aspects that oppose God’s character. We are sinful. We are selfish. We are prone to use other people, to have contempt for them, to hate them, to turn away from God, to worship the creation rather than our Creator, and more. Our hearts have much in them that opposes God’s character and his calling on us. 

And those parts of our heart need to be cut out. They need to be removed. And that process often hurts. Because our sinful nature is so close to our hearts, and our hearts, by their very nature, are more sensitive and delicate than we like to admit. And so our temptation is to leave those problematic parts of our heart in place – to leave them where they are. But Moses here tells us that we cannot do that. Moses tells us that despite the difficulty, despite the pain, despite our hesitation, we need to cut off those sinful aspects of our hearts and remove them from us – we need to circumcise our hearts. 

And that claim is especially counterintuitive for us because we live in a culture that tells us that the way to a life of virtue and authenticity is to follow our hearts. Our hearts are all good, it says. It’s the world around us that corrupts us. And so the worst thing we can do is to deny or oppose something we find in our hearts. This worldview is what philosopher Charles Taylor has called the “Ethic of Authenticity.” 

Now, like any false view, it contains real truth. As we said, our hearts do bear God’s image and we are to live out those traits in our heart faithfully. But at the very same time, our hearts also contain sin. Our calling is not to blindly despise or to blindly affirm our hearts. Our calling is to sift our hearts, and to nurture what the Bible tells us there is good, and to work to cut out what the Bible tells us there is bad. 

And that’s one aspect the concept that is evoked here as Moses calls God’s people to circumcise the foreskin of their hearts. 

Is that a call you’re willing to hear and obey? Are you willing to do it not just when it’s easy … but when it’s difficult? When it hurts? When it gets close to a sensitive area of your heart and life? 

The third thing we see here is that the way God makes our hearts fruitful is by what seems to us often to be the counter-intuitive means of cutting out those things in our heart that our contrary to God. It’s then that our hearts will become more fruitful. Or … more accurately, it’s then that our hearts will bear the right kind of fruit. 

Which brings us to our fourth point … 

In Counter-Cultural Ways 

Fourth and finally, we see in our text this morning that hearts shaped by biblical faith should bear good fruit in the world around us, by counter-intuitive means, and in counter-cultural ways. 

The kind of fruit that biblical faith bears in the world is not the kind of fruit the world is usually looking for. It’s different. It’s counter-cultural. 

And this is another truth that is bound up with the very origin of circumcision in Israel. Without circumcision, Abraham bore Ishmael with Hagar … a son who was conceived according to the sinful ways of the world, and who lived in conformity with the ways of the world. It was after his circumcision that Abraham bore Isaac with Sarah, a son who was conceived contrary to the expectations of the world, and was called to defy the ways of the world. The fruit of circumcision is supposed to be different from the fruit of the world. And we see that here in our text as well. [Theopolis, Episode 652, 54:00ff] 

Because the fruitfulness God calls for in Deuteronomy 10 is counter cultural. It defies the logic of the world. It defies the logic of the flesh. It defies the way we often think. It’s a reminder that we don’t get to choose what kind of fruit our circumcised hearts should bear, but God does. And so, the best way to recognize good fruit is to see whether it reflects God’s heart, rather than our own natural hearts, or the logic of the world. And that is made clear in the last portion of this passage. 

Take a look first at verse eighteen. There Moses, speaking of Yahweh’s character, says: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.” 

Because we live in a post-Christian world, that has been shaped by Christian ethics, we can miss how odd this statement is. As Christopher Wright points out, in the ancient world, when a god was extolled, the focus would then usually be on his connection to a nation’s royal household. But here, in a turn that must have shocked people in the ancient world, Moses stresses Yahweh’s relationship to the marginalized – to the fatherless, the widow … and the resident alien. The heart of God was counter to the values of the cultures around them. [Wright, 149] 

But the counter-cultural nature of biblical faith doesn’t stop with the Bible’s description of what Yahweh is like … it continues with its description of what Yahweh’s people should be like. Because, in the very next verse, in verse nineteen, Moses commands God’s people: “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” Yahweh loves the sojourner, so you should love the sojourner. That is the heart of Moses’s exhortation here. And it’s an exhortation that was counter-cultural then, and its general application remains counter-cultural now. 

The call to love the sojourner – to love resident aliens and immigrants – in the ancient world was a call to love those whom the world viewed as threats, as undeserving, and as costly. 

First, sojourners in the ancient world were seen as threats. That was, after all, the reason why Pharoah treated the Israelites so harshly in the first place. He said, in Exodus 1, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” “Therefore,” we’re told, “they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens.” 

Sojourners – immigrants, refuges, and resident aliens – were ordinarily seen as a threat. They could be viewed as a military threat to national sovereignty, as Pharoah highlights when considering Israel. They could be seen as a financial threat – as those who might gain and amass wealth that would have otherwise gone to native citizens – a reality and eventuality that Leviticus 25:47 acknowledges. And they could have been viewed as a cultural, or in Israel’s case a spiritual, threat. While some portions of the Torah make it clear that some sojourners will become believers, and will participate in the religious life and faith of Israel [Leviticus 22:18; Deuteronomy 16:14; 31:13], other texts, call on Israel to accept that many sojourners living in Israel will live contrary to Israel’s ceremonial laws [Deuteronomy 14:21] and separated from the heart of Israel’s religious life [Exodus 12:48], with only very basic prohibitions on them against open blasphemy [Leviticus 24:16; Numbers 15:30]. Some sojourners, we see, might be faithful God-fearing believers. Others might not be at all. And so Israel could easily see them as a cultural and spiritual threat to their people. 

And so, whether spiritually, financially, or militarily, sojourners would have naturally felt like a threat to Israelites in the ancient world … but God called his people to love them anyway. He called them to love those who were potential threats to them. That was counter-cultural. 

Second, Yahweh called his people to love others who could easily be seen as undeserving. 

If you were a sojourner … most people assumed you screwed your life up at some point in the past. Why else would you have to leave your people? Maybe you squandered what you had or made foolish decisions, but the suspicion would be that your hardships are your fault. 

It could easily be assumed that a sojourner had proved themselves undeserving back home, and so they could easily be seen as undeserving in the promised land. After all, it was Israel who had fought to acquire that land – so why should sojourners who come after all that hard work is done – why should they benefit from the fruit of the land? 

Sojourners would have naturally been seen as undeserving to Israelites in the ancient world … but God called his people to love them anyway. He called them to love those who were undeserving. That was counter cultural. 

Third, in calling Israel to love the sojourner, Yahweh was calling his people to love those it was costly to love. 

The rest of the  Law of Moses makes it clear that this command here in Deuteronomy 10:19 was not just a call to vague emotional benevolence or respectful tolerance towards the sojourner. But it was a command that would cost Israelites in real, concrete ways. 

In Leviticus 19:10 and 23:22 and Deuteronomy 24:19-21, God required that every Israelite with land and crops had to leave a portion of the crops in their fields, for the poor and also for sojourners to gather for themselves. In a culture of subsistence agriculture, that was not a negligible cost. Israelites would have less to eat, or less to sell to others, so that these sojourners could eat from what they had worked to grow. They were also required to share with the sojourners a part of the smaller crop that grew on their land in the Sabbath years [Leviticus 25:6]. And they were called to give a portion of their tithe to the sojourners around them [Deuteronomy 26:12]. And they were required to help provide rest for the sojourners who were in the land as well [Exodus 20:10]. Each of these commands would have come at a real, felt cost to God’s people. 

Loving these sojourners in the ways God called them to love them would have been costly to Israelites in the ancient world … but God called his people to love them anyway. He called them to love those whom it was costly to love. That too was counter cultural. 

In this text, God describes the kind of spiritual fruit he wants to see produced by hearts of faith among his people by calling them to love the sojourner. And in the ancient world, the call to love the sojourner was a call to love those who appeared threatening, undeserving, and costly to love. 

Why does God call them to do this? 

The argument is simple. It has two points. 

First, they should love the sojourner because God loves the sojourner. They should love these people who appear to be threatening, undeserving, and costly to love … because God so often loves people who appear hostile, undeserving, and costly to love. If we are God’s people, we are to seek to be like him. And since God loves the sojourner – since God loves those our culture often sees instead as a threat, or an expense, or an inconvenience, or an unpleasantness – since he loves them, as his image bearers, we should love them too. Even if it’s counter-cultural. Even if it’s counter to our own reasoning. We should embrace his reasoning instead. That’s one half of the argument here. 

The other half is that we should love them like this because that is how God has loved us. He loved us when we were hostile. He loved us when we were undeserving. He loved us when we were foreign to him. He loved us when we were far off. He loved us when his image in us was greatly marred by sin. He loved us when we had no other hope. He loved us when it was costly to him.  

And so how can we refuse to do for others what God has so freely done for us? That’s the point Moses is making in the second half of verse nineteen. 

Moses tells Israel here that the kind of fruit that the Lord wants them to produce is counter-cultural fruit. Specifically, he focuses here on how it includes loving those we would view as threatening, as undeserving, and as costly to love. 

So, who is that for you? 

It may be different for different people, depending on your own personality, your subculture, your history, and your socioeconomic status. 

But I want to be clear, I’m not asking you now to think of how you love people who others find threatening, undeserving, or costly. Our society is so fractured that different subcultures see different groups of people this way, and one effect of that is that we can all pat ourselves on the back for being counter-cultural if we are caring or compassionate towards people that others view as threatening, undeserving, or costly. But what we often hide from ourselves is that there’s usually another group of people that we view as threatening, undeserving, and costly. And our track record of loving them might not be so admirable. 

So start with that question: Who is it that you, in your heart, tend to see as threatening, undeserving, and costly? 

What group of people do you tend to struggle with … what group do you tend to see as a threat to you … or as an unfair burden on you … or as a possible source of cultural or spiritual contamination for you. Who are the people that your friends and cultural allies tend to most often critique and vilify? 

Maybe for you it’s certain kinds of immigrants or refugees. Maybe for you it’s the uneducated working class in our country. Maybe for you it’s the educated elites of our society. Maybe for you it’s the homeless. Maybe it’s the mentally ill. Maybe it’s drug users. Maybe it’s your cultural enemies or political opponents. It could be people in the LGBTQ community or people in the MAGA community – but who is it that you view as “other” in a way that their very existence close to you feels like a threat, like a cost, like an injustice, like a source of contamination? 

That’s who you need to consider as you read this text. 

Here, in verse 19, God calls you to love them, just as he calls Israel to love the sojourner. 

And that’s true even if you think that person or members of that group are your enemies.  

Peter Leithart puts it like this – he says: “We’re not given permission to abandon Jesus’s command to love our neighbors and to love our enemies. We can’t say ‘the stakes are too high, and we need to just put love aside for a while while we fight these battles and once we get the battle fought, then we can go back to love.’” Even in spiritual battles, we need to “fight in love and fight out of love.” [Theopolis, Episode 648, 2:45ff] 

That’s a counter-cultural mindset. The unbelieving world says, first crush your cultural enemies: eviscerate and attack without mercy. Then, once they have been beaten into submission to you, and have waved the white flag, and agreed to do whatever you tell them – only then do we shift to loving them … once they are no longer really our enemies. That makes sense to the world. That makes sense to our culture. 

But God calls Israel to love the sojourner, even while the sojourner remains a costly, undeserving, pagan, and threatening presence in his life. 

In response to our rationalizations away from love, Jesus says to us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” 

Do you want to be like Jesus? Do you want to be like God? Then love the sojourner. Love the hostile. Love the undeserving. Love the costly. Love your enemies. 

That’s the kind of fruit that Moses highlights here in our passage. 

That will be difficult for you. That will be challenging for you. It will require you to examine your heart. It will require you to circumcise your heart – to cut out certain aspects of your heart that are set against bearing this kind of fruit. It will require you to seek and to pursue a heart that is shaped by biblical faith – and not by the ways of the world or the desires of the flesh. But that is what Moses calls us to here. 


Biblical religion should shape our lives from the outside in. That’s what we see here – we see that hearts shaped by faith should bear good fruit in the world around us, by counter-intuitive means, and in counter-cultural ways. 

But we also see that we can’t do that all on our own. And that’s highlighted in verse 22. There God reminds his people that he is the source of real fruitfulness in their lives. There he says to them: “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now Yahweh your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.” 

It’s Yahweh who made Israel into a great nation – who made them so incredibly fruitful. 

Now – this isn’t a call to be passive. There was a lot that Israel had to do to become such a large nation, and Moses doesn’t deny them. But ultimately, it was not their work alone that made Israel so fruitful. Ultimately, it was not mostly their work that make Israel so fruitful. Their work was real and important. But the fruit they bore was, in the end, a gift from God. Their contributions appeared meager when compared to his. They planted and watered. But God gave the growth. The ultimate power in making them who they were to be was from God, and not from them. And Moses reminds them, and us, of that fact in verse twenty-two. 

And so, as God calls us to have hearts shaped by faith, that bear good fruit in the world around us, by counter-intuitive means, and in counter-cultural ways, we do not go about that task depending on our own strength. Rather, we respond to his call in faith. We act in faith. We work, trusting that God can bring about more than we ask or imagine from our meager efforts, if they are done in faith. 

After all, he loves the hostile, the undeserving, and those who are costly to love. He loves us. And as with Israel, even from us he can bring about spiritual fruit that can transform the world. 



This sermon draws on material from: 

Alter, Robert. The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary. New York, NY: Norton, 2004. 

Barker, Paul. Introduction and notes to Deuteronomy in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008. 

Block, Daniel I. The NIV Application Commentary: Deuteronomy. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012. 

Leithart, Peter J. Delivered from the Elements of the World: Atonement, Justification, Mission. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2016. 

Lewis, T. “Circumcision” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1939 (pages 656-657). 

Lewis T. and C.E. Armerding. “Circumcision” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Fully Revised. Edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, et al. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988 (1.700-702) 

Theopolis Podcast. Episode 648: “Not Because of Your Righteousness (Deuteronomy 9).” With Peter Leithart, Alastair Roberts, and John Bejon. June 7, 2023. https://soundcloud.com/user-812874628/episode-648-not-because-of-your-righteousness-deuteronomy-9?utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing 

Theopolis Podcast. Episode 652: “New Tablets of Stone (Deuteronomy 9-10).” With Peter Leithart, Alastair Roberts, Jeff Meyers, and John Bejon. June 21, 2023. https://soundcloud.com/user-812874628/episode-652-new-tablets-of-stone-deuteronomy-9-10  

Wright, Christopher. Deuteronomy. NIBC. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996. 

Note: In my preaching I often cite and draw from a range of sources, which includes material from Christians within my theological tradition, Christians outside my theological tradition (in keeping with our church’s core value of “Reformed Catholicity”), and also (following the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 17) non-Christians who are well outside of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. And so, when I cite an author or a source, that citation should not be understood or construed as me necessarily agreeing with, endorsing, or recommending to others anything else from that author or source, except for what I explicitly say I agree with, endorse, or recommend. When engaging with different materials and thinkers, all Christians must exercise wisdom and discernment to determine what is helpful, appropriate, and edifying for each person, taking into account their current needs, wisdom, and spiritual maturity. 

CCLI Copyright License 751114; CCLI Streaming License CSPL116892