Monday, October 16, 2017

October 17, 2017

"Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites. At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcisethe Israelites again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt—all the men of military age—died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not. The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness 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 he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 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. And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day. On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan." Joshua 5:1-12

Commitments are tough to make and even tougher to keep. When you make a commitment you have no way of knowing what it will cost you to keep it.

For instance, when you speak your marriage vows, "for better , for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health" you specify a few conditions that could challenge your commitment and promise not to let them deter you from your commitment.

But saying so and doing so are not the same thing!

Wouldn't it be nice to know what your commitment will cost you before you make that commitment? 

Actually, God is good about letting His followers know what it will cost them to follow Him. Case in point, as the Israelites were preparing to go up against the formidable fortress of Jericho, He lets them know what He expects from them.

He expects a commitment to intimacy.

The last big barrier that stood between God's people and the Promised Land was the well fortified city of Jericho. But before they could go up against Jericho and into Canaan He required them to be circumcised.


The act of circumcision is powerful illustration of the intimacy God desires from His people. Joshua declared God's call for the young men to be circumcised because it is pleasing to God. Circumcision would allow them to enter God's presence and into His Promised Land. The call to circumcision was the call for them to offer their most private and personal part to Him and withhold nothing precious from Him.

He also expects a commitment to vulnerability.

When God called his young men to offer themselves to be circumcised they were situated between the Jordan and Jericho - aka - enemy territory. When you are in enemy territory you want to be at your strongest and most alert.

But with all the young men of fighting age healing from the pain of having their foreskins removed with a flint knife, they were in no condition to go to work. They were lucky to be able to walk.

No savvy military leader would place his army in such a vulnerable situation behind enemy lines. But Joshua did and He did it because God told them to do it.

Joshua found himself, his fighting men, their families, and all of God's in an extremely vulnerable place where if they were attacked by Canaanite armies they would not have had all of their fighting forces ready to fight. Their only option in their vulnerability was to trust truly and totally upon God's protection.

Finally, God expects a commitment to dependency.

This generation had never known anything except manna in the morning. It had been their breakfast, lunch and dinner all their lives. But that was about to change!

After their circumcision brought them into God's favor they celebrated the Passover, the vivid reminder of God's miraculous deliverance of His people from the Angel of Death. They remembered a night that they were totally dependent on God and the blood of a lamb to save their firstborn sons.

Following the Passover celebration it says that the manna stopped and they began to eat from the fruit of the land.

The big question now was, "Would they choose to continue trusting God when they didn't have to?"

What would it cost God's people to take this new territory known as Canaan a land "flowing with milk and honey".

It would cost a commitment to intimacy.

It would cost a commitment to vulnerability.

It would cost a commitment to dependency.

So, what?

These are the very same commitments God demands from you if you want to take new territory.

It will cost you a commitment to intimacy with God. He wants you to trust Him with the most personal and private issues of your life. Intimacy means nothing between you and God!

Is there anything that is keeping you from intimacy with God?

It will also cost you a commitment to vulnerability with God. Will you be completely honest before God? Nothing hidden? Nothing held back? Holding to Him in your weakness?

And it will cost you a commitment to dependency.

Will you trust God to care for you and provide for your and express gratitude when He does?