A Fresh Start
As you pray today, offer yourself afresh to the Lord as you come into his presence.
Read Joshua 5:1-12
 Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the LORD had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.  At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.”  So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.  Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt-all the men of military age-died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt.  All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not.  The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.  So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way.  And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.  Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.  On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover.  The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain.  The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did the enemy kings react to God's power?
Circumcising such a large number of people seems to us to be a very strange thing to do, especially as it delayed the attack on Jericho (8), but in fact it was a deeply significant event. The people’s revolt in the desert back in Moses’ time had had very serious consequences (see v. 6). Now, however, that sin and its consequences had run their course. So this is a new era: a new generation has a new challenge, a renewed task–to enter into possession of the land to which the Lord has brought them. Now they do so marked (the males) with the sign of the covenant. Now they are assured afresh of God’s covenant commitment, of his presence and protection. They are, indeed, right at the heart of his plans and promises. That sense of God’s commitment to them is reinforced, first, by celebrating the Passover together (10) and, then, by eating the fruit of the land the Lord gives them rather than the manna of the wilderness years (12). This really is a new start with God.
In what ways do you need to start afresh? Pray that God will give you the fresh start you need.
Kind Lord, You are a God of second chances and fresh starts. I thank You for the gift of each fresh start with You.
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