Jeremiah reiterates the completeness of the ruin and desolation that is coming on Judah and Jerusalem. Why?
And the LORD said, “Because they have forsaken My law (torah) which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,” Jer 9:13-14
Judah was God’s own people by blood covenant. They did not become His people by obedience to the Law, for all who by faith applied the blood of the Passover Lamb to their doorposts were delivered or saved from Egypt by grace. But, God gave them His Law afterwards, saying, “If you will truly be My people, and take Me for your God, then these are My ways that you should walk in them,” given in the form of commandments. Because they would not walk in His ways, but let their own hearts decide for them what they would do and not do, then this destruction is coming on them.
These things happened to them for our instruction (1 Cor 10:11) — let us not be deceived.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised with the uncircumcised— Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all who are in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” Jer 9:25-26
Circumcision — the cutting away of the flesh — was one of the laws. From the prophets we learn, that a people can be circumcised in body, but not in heart. Circumcision of the body is to be an outward sign of an inward reality — that the flesh, the world, sin, self- centeredness, has been likewise cut away from the heart. A circumcised heart, we learn from Jeremiah, is one which seeks to obey the word or Law of the LORD, because their heart is knit in devotion to the LORD’s heart. The uncircumcised heart obeys its own dictates, which are contrary to the Law of the LORD.
Oh that the church would read Jeremiah! They would learn, that like Judah, a church goer can maintain all the outward identifying signs of one who is counted among God’s people, except for the one sign that really matters to God — a circumcised heart, evidenced by a desire and (mostly) successful obedience to the Law of the LORD rather than the dictates of the uncircumcised heart.
This prophecy of Jeremiah’s will come to pass, because the nations have not yet been punished. Their punishment will come in one day, on the Day of the LORD. On that day, the uncircumcised in heart will be punished along with the uncircumcised in body. Belonging to the right church will not matter. Believing the right doctrine will not matter. Having the most organized survival preparedness will not matter. Neither wisdom, might, nor riches will matter on that day. Let the church not be deceived!
Our obedience is not just to be an obedience to what feels right at the moment, which some call being “led by the Spirit.” The Spirit is in complete harmony with the Law or the Word, because it is from the Spirit or heart of God that He voiced His Law — out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Mat 12:34). Our obedience is actual obedience to a concrete and well- defined body of Law, which God’s own finger inscribed in stone. It is wisdom to educate ourselves on just exactly what that body of Law commands, and to bring our lives into harmony with it.
This is NOT salvation by performance or trying to get God to accept us based on the perfection of our works! This is, rather, now that we are saved, acknowledging His love for us which we have received, and returning that love for Him in the way that is meaningful to Him:
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Joh 14:15