Summary: Part 3 of a series about God moving Christians into a deeper experience of Him.
Possessing the Land - Part 3
Renewing Our Commitment - Read: Joshua 5:2-9
The children of Israel crossed the Jordan in full view of the enemy stronghold of Jericho, which lies in the great open plain (3:16). From this city, especially from the vantage point of its walls, the whole Jordan valley from Adam to the Dead Sea was visible. After the Children of Israel had crossed the river Jordan in that great miracle, and were camped at Gilgal, they did six things before taking possession of the Promised Land:
1. Their faith put fear in the hearts of the Enemy (2:2-11; 5:1)
2. They stopped but they didn’t stay (4:20-24)
3. They renewed their commitment to the covenant with God (5:2-9)
4. They remembered their roots (5:10)
5. They destroyed the manna mentality (5:12)
6. They worshipped the Lord
They did all these six things, before they fought one battle, before they attacked one city stronghold. All these things were done in full view of the enemy (3:16). These are principles that we need to follow prophetically.
The third thing the Israelites did, after crossing the Jordan, was to renew their commitment to the covenant of God. In Old Testament times, this was done by circumcising the men.
Josh 5:2-3 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again." 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth [Gib’eeath Haar’a-lowth, the ’Hill of Foreskins’].
Imagine him standing there, telling the people! How would you have received that announcement ... and with flint knives too? Perhaps the women would be praising the Lord, for making them a woman and not a man?
However, let’s carry on:
Josh 5:4-8 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt--all the men of military age--died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. 6 The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD**. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So, he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.
** Blessing follows obedience!
2. Renewing Israel’s Commitment
After the miraculous crossing of the Jordan, Israel renewed their commitment to the covenant of God and, as we’ve already seen, the way they did it in the Old Testament was to circumcise the men.
1) Now, this event may seem totally unrelated to us, living:
* Here in the 21st century; and
* Under the New Testament promise.
2) So, what is the relevance of the meaning of their act of circumcision for us today?
Let’s look at five key factors:
a. Reminder of their relationship
We need to understand the true purpose of circumcision. It was a reminder of their relationship with their God.
When you are saved (Jn 3:16), when you give your whole life to Jesus, the Bible says your heart is circumcised:
Rom 2:29 ... and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code ... (i.e. physical circumcision according to O.T. Law)
In other words, God puts His mark on you, i.e. His seal and sign of ownership.
"We are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price" and that price is the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Being bought with a price means being ’redeemed’. Christ is our Redeemer, ’Hallelujah!’
Let us now pray, and seek first that fresher, deeper relationship with Christ now, today!
b. Reminder of their commitment
Before we go any further, we have to realise that we must renew our commitment to the covenant of God, to the word of the living God - as a church and as individuals.
Circumcision would remind the children of Israel of their commitment to their God, because there was no turning back. For them, the Jordan floodwaters had closed, and were running powerfully, as before - no back door.
* We’ve become Christians not to try it out; we’ve become Christians for life. The same is true for us as for the Children of Israel; there’s no turning back.
* Some are under pressure right now - we’ve already talked about, and prayed about strongholds, and we need to continue to minister and pray over these issues. However, in addition to this, some of you have friends criticising you. Some are experiencing persecution. You may even be on the verge of giving up. Yet, when you gave your heart to the Lord Jesus, He became a friend to you that sticks closer to you than any brother.