Summary: Why did God ask the Israelites to be circumcised?
This week, starting with Palm Sunday today, reminds us of the transition which occurred from God’s Chosen People Israel to God’s chosen People Christians! About 2000 years ago, the Israelites were looking for the Savior Messiah. About 450 years before that triumphal entry of Jesus in Jerusalem, God had prophesied the event for the Israelites; Zechariah 9:9 states “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”.
God always reveals the truth. The problem of course is people not truly listening!
However, the Israelites 2000 years ago were looking for a Messiah who would rescue them politically and free them nationally, but Jesus had come to save them spiritually.
First things first, mankind’s primary need is always spiritual, not political, cultural, or national salvation. Yes, we are to be concerned about America; we need to pray and vote; but, first things first. What our country needs most is spiritual salvation!
It starts with you and me and this church Based on what God says! We will look at New Testament Scripture verses this Friday and on Resurrection Sunday. This morning, let’s learn a bit more of God and Israel. Please open your Bibles to the Book of Joshua…. We are now in Chapter 5. We have noted God calling Joshua to lead the Israelites, God’s Chosen People, to cross the Jordan River and claim the land promised to them. Read along with me Joshua 5:1-12……
v1: The Canaanites heard about the power of the God of their enemy, the Israelites. We read “the hearts of the Canaanites melted with fear and they no longer had courage to face the Israelites!” Victory was already won by God, even before the Israelites went to battle!
v2-3: God commanded Joshua to circumcise the Israelites “again”. What does this mean? Again means they did it before. When did the first command happen to circumcise? Look back with me to Genesis 17:9….
God’s people were to keep a covenant, a relationship, with God. Circumcision was an outward symbol of God’s covenant with His people.
v4-7: Explains why they had to do it again.
Do you remember the story of Israel?
The 12 Tribes of Israel came from the 12 sons of Jacob who ended up in Egypt because of a famine and God’s blessings on Joseph. The Israelites prospered and grew in numbers in Egypt. But because of their numbers, the new Pharaoh decided to enslave the Jews. For over 400 years the Jews were slaves to Egypt until they asked God for help (Exodus 2:23-25…). God then called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. All of these were foretold by God but the Israelites kept on disobeying.
v6: even though God miraculously took them out of Egypt, the Israelites kept sinning and except for 2 men (faithful to God) all the men died in the wilderness.
v7: the ones born in the wilderness were not circumcised
v8-9: Israel re-established their relationship with God and God took away the reproach (the shame) of Egypt away from them!
v9-12: we note the results of the re-establishment of God’s relationship with Israel!
- They celebrated by remembering God
- God stopped the manna rations (they ate that stuff for 40 years!)
- God provided the abundance of fresh food from the land
And so, what biblical principles can we glean from this passage?
1. God desires a relationship with people but God will state how it is done!
why? Because God is the only one Holy and perfect!
2000 years ago, God gave a New Covenant, an everlasting covenant (an eternal relationship) by sending Jesus Christ, who is God, to die for people’s sins once and for all! Jesus Christ states in Revelation 3:20….
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Jesus is talking about the door of our hearts. Turn briefly with me to Romans 2:25-29….
Our relationship with God today is based on how Jesus Christ is living in our hearts! Is Jesus Christ truly alive in our hearts?
2. We are to remember and celebrate God Jesus Christ always! The relationship with God through Jesus Christ is meant to be on-going! How is our relationship with God on a daily basis?
3. There are consequences to sin; therefore, we are to say no to sin and always yes to God!
And what can help us with this? Let us always remember what God does, like He did with the Canaanites. Victory was already won by God, even before the Israelites went to battle!
Victory has been won by Jesus Christ! We Christians are called to live out that victory over sin and death!