Today’s readings are Joshua 5:1-12 and Prov 25:1-16.
In the story of Joshua so far we have seen the reigns of the leadership of Israel pass from Moses to Joshua (Geoff covered this yesterday …….at Fuse at least). Joshua and Caleb were the only ones left who had originally fled Egypt. They were the only 2 who were obedient and ready to take the land early in Numbers 4:26-34. They knew of the bitterness of slavery and had witnessed the mighty supernatural hand of the Lord free them.The rest of the original exodus were condemned to die in the dessert for their disobedience.
Joshua also had runs on the board as he led the troops of Israel that defeated Amelakites in the desert (Ex 17:8-13). He accompanied Moses at Mt Sinai and later stood watch in the temporary tent of meeting where God summoned Moses and Joshua. Another thing Joshua and Caleb had done……they were circumcised. The army of 40,000 were not and that doesn’t include every other male.
Israel had already miraculously crossed the Jordan (ch 3&4) as the Lord had again demonstrated his power and in so doing also authenticated Joshua’a leadership. They are now camped on the eastern border of Jericho and are about to take that city.
In 5:1 the enemy has already lost courage as they have heard of the mighty acts of Israel’s God. Before war though God wants his people consecrated to himself as a sign of service to him (Gen 17:10-11).In the desert wanderings this practice seems not to have occurred. This is now a spiritual preparedness of doing battle the Lord’s way.
As we read the account of this mass circumcision event at Gibeath Haaraloth (which means hill of foreskins) we are perplexed. We need to remember that circumcision is the sign given to Abraham of God’s covenant with him and his offspring. I guess when every Israeli male looked down there he saw and was reminded of this outward sign especially in comparison with the men of those nations he conquered. (some other nations also practiced circumcision though)
In vs 10-12 as they rest healing they also celebrate the Passover. The Lord reveals his power again as the manna from heaven suddenly stops. The people eat the produce from the land of Canaan even before they conquer it. Again this is a spiritual act as they remember and celebrate what the Lord has done to bring them this far.
The lesson for me I think is to remember the Lords goodness to me in the past but also to prepare for service to Him by being circumcised ………but this time of the heart! Rom2:29
“The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and those of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”