A FRESH START
I praise You, God, that You make all things new.
Read Joshua 5:1–12
5 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[a] had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.
Circumcision and Passover at Gilgal
2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.[b]
4 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. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not. 6 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. 7 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. 8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.
9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal[c] to this day.
10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after[d] 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.
a. Joshua 5:1 Another textual tradition we
b. Joshua 5:3 Gibeath Haaraloth means the hill of foreskins.
c. Joshua 5:9 Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew for roll.
d. Joshua 5:12 Or the day
ReflectRead Lamentations 3:22,23. Thank the Lord for a fresh start with Him every day.
The focus of this passage is the fresh start that God’s people made as they entered the Promised Land. There are two aspects to this: the circumcision of all the men (2–9), and the celebration of the Passover with the first food produced by the Promised Land (10–12).
The circumcision of the men is set in the context of the Amorites’ and Canaanites’ fear of the Israelites (1). Their fear means that they do not immediately attack the Israelites. This allows time for Joshua to circumcise all the men and for them to heal before the battle for Jericho begins (8,13).
Circumcision was a sign given by God of incorporation into a relationship with Him (Genesis 17). It was also required in order to share in the Passover meal (Exodus 12:43, 44). But no one had been circumcised during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (Joshua 5:5). Verse 6 explains why not. The fresh start that the circumcision provides is summed up in verse 9. How do you think Joshua felt when he heard God’s words?
The second aspect to the fresh start that God provided for His people comes in verses 10–12 – ‘unleavened bread’ and ‘roasted grain.’ It may not have been milk and honey (6), but it was a start!
Think of someone you know who needs a new start with God and pray for them. Can you share the hope of Jesus with them today?
I thank You so much, Jesus, that You give me a new start every day. I am so thankful that Your blood washed away my shame.
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