Read Joshua 5:1-8
Deuteronomy 10: 12,16, “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul…Circumcise your hearts.”
1 Corinthians 7:19, “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.”
Romans 2:29, “And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit.”
By a great miracle of God, the nation of Israel had just crossed the Jordan River, and their enemies were paralyzed by fear. To the human eye it would have been a perfect time to move in offense and take possession of the land that the LORD their God was giving to them for their own.
Yet, God’s timing and will for the Israelites were different than their human perspective. At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives, and circumcise the Israelites again” (Joshua 5:2). Even though the Israelites were strong and ready to move forward, it was time to wait. Even though the circumcision made them vulnerable to their enemies, it was time to be restored.
Why does God require the circumcision? The covenant of circumcision is a mark that says God had graciously accepted the Israelites as His people. They were a holy people set apart and marked to be separate from the sinful people around them. The Israelites needed time to be still and remember they were chosen to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just (Genesis 18:19).
They had been in the desert for 40 years, and it was now time to claim their inheritance. The warfare ahead of them required submission to God’s will, great faith, and a remembrance of God’s goodness.
Christian, every day we are engaged in a battle for the kingdom of God, and we are also required to have our hearts purified and restored. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:11,12, “In [Christ] you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.” We too are called to be holy, self-controlled, obedient children, since we have been given a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (1 Peter 1:3,4).
It is a new generation. Are we ready? Are we worshipful? Are we listening intently? Are we willing to be cut to the heart, repent, and turn? Are we ready to struggle against the spiritual forces of this dark world like never before?
Prayer: Thank you Father for calling us out to be a holy people. As strangers in this world, I ask that we can abstain from sinful desires and live good lives among the unbelievers. I ask that we will not be afraid, but proclaim that the Kingdom of God is near. I ask that everywhere we go, we will be making disciples for Christ and teaching them with all the wisdom God has given us. In Jesus Name, Amen.