THAT WAS THEN; THIS IS NOW
Lord, our hearts have been circumcised.
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
Lord, forgive me for making You so small in my prayers, requests and actions. Help me to mature in my wisdom regarding Your infinite power, love, and sovereignty.
When God acts, there are consequences. People notice, and those affected know they face something extraordinary, for our God is an awesome God. How often we spend time trying to decipher what was or wasn’t God – and yet all we see from history and from what is promised in the latter days is that when God acts, humans know about it! Here, the tenants of the Promised Land understand that they are at risk – perhaps because of the amazing signs of which they have heard, or the visual sight of an army being prepared to cross over right in front of their fortified city without any attempt at subterfuge. Or perhaps it is the consciousness of the sins and wicked acts in which they have indulged and for which they know they will one day be accountable.
The Israelites have not yet lifted a hand, and yet the enemy cowers inside, melting in fear. However, there are consequences for the Israelites’ sin too – the many who will not see the promise of God because of their unfaithfulness. The next generation will be blessed despite the sins of their parents. This points to a covenant God who fulfils his promises – albeit differently from what was proposed. Ultimately, God’s word stands: they will inherit the land – although inheritance will come as God determines. The most astonishing thing is that, having crossed over in the sight of the enemy, they do not attack but make camp and disable all the fighting men. Israel is at her weakest here, yet also at her strongest. Why? Because the people obey Joshua, they have obeyed God, and they have repented. God has ‘rolled away’ the chains of bondage from Egypt and prepared them as His people to march forward with a new start: they are crossing over both physically and spiritually.
The stone was rolled away from the tomb, death gave way to life. Are we walking in this light, prepared to repent, accept God’s command, and walk in kingly confidence?
Lord, Your provision for us amply demonstrates that You have our best interest at heart.