To enter the Land, you must be circumcised (Joshua 5:1-6:19)

In chapter 5 we encounter the Jewish nation who has been living in the desert for 40 years and now are preparing to take over the Promised Land.  These men had not been circumcised by their parents according to the directions God had given to Abraham in Genesis 17:10-13 and by default they were cut off from the blessings and promises of God.  But the Lord would not stand for such a future for his people and he commanded the men to be circumcised so that they could enjoy the blessing of the land.  As they participated in the ritual of circumcision and the Passover which followed we are told:

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 of the produce of Canaan. (Joshua 5:11-12)

What an amazing story and its consequences.  In circumcision is pictured the removal of sin from the life of the believer for true circumcision is a proper orientation of the heart towards God as Deuteronomy 30:6 reminds us,

The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

As sin is removed from the believer, then the celebration of redemption, Passover, can occur and with the celebration comes participation in the bounty of the Promised Land, eating from the good things that God makes available.  Truly this whole episode is meant to picture the Biblical reality of Life in Christ from the initial working of the Holy Spirit to draw a person to faith to the confession of their faith before others and ultimately to growth in the life of Christ.  And this growth is pictured not just in the eating of produce but in the miraculous overthrow of strong cities of sin in our lives.  It is in obeying and following God in the life of the believer that our Jericho’s are destroyed by the miraculous work of God.  This is a work which Christ initiated and continues in the life of every believer who follows in the footsteps of the Master.

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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