Summary: Find out the importance of Gilgal in the life of the believer. The place of pruning, promise and presence.
MARKED FOR LIFE (From Grace to Victory)
Joshua Chapter 5 From all appearances now was the time to attack the enemy. The people of Israel were filled with the excitement and motivation of having miraculously crossed the Jordan. They apparently knew the enemy was in disarray from the standpoint of their morale (5:1); so surely, it was time to strike. Many of the military leaders under Joshua’s command may have been thinking, “For goodness sake, let’s not wait! Let’s go! Now is the logical time and the enemy is ripe for the taking!” But in God’s economy and plan there are spiritual values, priorities, and principles that are far more vital and fundamental to victory or our capacity to attack and demolish the fortresses that the world has raised up against the knowledge and plan of God 2 Cor. 10:4-5. Looking at conditions from our perspective of deadlines, feeling the pressure to perform and accomplish things in order to please people and sometimes our own egos, we are too often in a hurry to ‘get the show on the road. "He that believeth shall not make haste" (Isa. 28:16) is one of the principles by which they are required to act, for "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong" (Eccl. 9:11).
Gilgal meaning rolling, was an important place in the Israelites conquest of Canaan. It was their headquarters while they possessed the promises of God. It was the place that the armies would return between victories. Joshua 10:43 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal. It was "beside the oaks of Moreh," near which Abraham erected his first altar (Gen. 12:6, 7).
There are three reasons that Gilgal was important as a place of centrality during the years leading up to the division of the land between the tribes. Let’s look at them.
Gilgal Represents the Pruning of God
Joshua 5:2,3 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.” So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
Circumcision was covenant action: Genesis 17:9-11 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. “This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; “and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.
In simple terms it represented the exchange of self-life for Spirit life. To enter into the promises of God has to be Spirit led. It is also a picture of reproduction, a reproduction of the Spirit life in others.
a. To be delivered from self, to the total reliance on God. (In the natural to strike the enemy now would be the right thing to do, but God wanted His people to walk by the Spirit)
b. To cut away fleshly attitudes.
c. To be Spirit led.
The pruning of God today is a spiritual exercise: Romans 2:29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, Colossians 2:11,12 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
The pruning of God today is accomplished by God putting us into impossible situations where we have to rely only on Him.
Gilgal represents the Promises of God
Joshua 5:9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.
The reproach of Egypt was the natural mindset that said “You will perish in the wilderness” For forty years the Israelites had been delivered from Egypt by grace yet never knew what victory was. At Gilgal they would learn to move from grace to victory.
Exodus 32:12 “Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.