Joshua 5

Joshua 5 has Joshua and all God’s people on the other side of the Jordan River in the Promised Land.  And their entry was not unnoticed.  “As soon as all the kings….heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel”.  The mighty leaders of that part of the world were immediately distraught knowing that God’s people once again had accomplished the impossible, and they know it can’t be because of their own ability.  They know their time is short and their spirits are broken.

So what does God tell Joshua to do?  Not what you might expect, but to “circumcise the sons of Israel a second time”.  Not exactly how you would prepare your army of men for battle, eh?  But Joshua does as instructed because honoring and obeying God comes first. The reason for this was that “all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised….the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord”.  There was unfinished business in getting people right with God and Joshua took care of making sure they were prepared for God’s direction.

The reality is that the promise God had given to all His people back in Egypt was never realized by them.  “It was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised”.  It was their children who had just crossed the Jordan.  It was a new generation.  What’s the second thing Joshua leads the people to do?  “While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover….and the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land….and the manna ceased”.  Big transition.  They had been fed manna and kept alive for 40 years.  Now, they are in their new land and eat of the great food there and the manna is gone.

Joshua has now circumcised all the men, and they have kept the Passover, and he now begins to think about how he will move into the land.  As he comes close to Jericho, he meets a man who says “I am the commander of the army of the Lord”. Joshua knows that he is in the presence of God’s hand.  He asks what he should do and is told to “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy”.  It starts with acknowledging God and who He is.  There wasn’t discussion about strategy or tactics on how to take the Promised Land.  It was about knowing that God is God and putting Him in His place.  That is the secret to His power – to recognize Him as Lord!

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