Joshua 5:1-9

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 we had crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.

At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the 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 desert on the way after leaving Egypt. All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. 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. 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 [b] to this day.

Looking at this passage reminds me of Ps Jeff's sermon on the exact same passage, on how this should be the year of preparation for all of us towards the future years of abundance. Wenjiang, after that, asked us to continue to circumcise our heart to prepare ourselves for the harvest season. Honestly speaking, Joshua had no reason to stop to circumcise the people when all the enemies had lost their will to fight the Israelites. In the words of Ps Jeff, it would have been a good time to charge and build up on the momentum. In military term, there was wisdom in following through the success that Joshua had after crossing the Jordan. Of course, God operates by a different logic. Remember what 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 says:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

The passage today should reveal one thing to us, that God views His covenant very seriously with the people of Israel. Apply this to us, He views His covenant with us very seriously. How do I know? Personal experience can testify. But I think the best proof is the institutionalisation of the Holy Communion ritual in church by Jesus. Like the circumcision and the Passover, it was to serve as a reminder to the people of God's covenant with us. How then, should we respond to such a covenant. As I am reflecting, I think God would want us to view this covenant seriously enough as well. A lot of times, we forget this covenant that we have with God through Jesus Christ. Our lives should start reflecting this covenant.

Another thing that this passage should reveal to us, and it's something that Ps Jeff had preached about, is that God wants us to prepare ourselves before we proceed to gain new grounds for Him. It seems counter-intuitive and I have to admit that. Normally, we want to 'chiong' straight for Him, but we forget that we need to wait on Him first. God is interested in our own heart transformation first before we go ahead and help other people in their heart transformation. We need to be circumcised in the heart first. As I am typing this, I am imagining the physical pain of the physical circumcision. Most likely, a heart circumcision has to be as painful or even more painful as well. Yet, Colossians 2:11 says that we are circumcised by Christ. We undergo this heart transformation with Christ and God is there in the process. It sorts of reminds me that God needs to be involved in the process of our heart circumcision as well.

So today how are we doing today in terms of circumcising our heart? No pain no gain, and that applies for God and us as well. I think we need to constantly keep this in mind. Living in the End Days means that we will need to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus and circumcision of the heart is one of the process we need to undergo.

Hopefully my stint with MFA tomorrow will go well....


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