Friday, 18 November 2022
“Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Joshua 5:8-9
In Genesis 17:10 God made a covenant with His people- Abraham and his descendants: “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.” When Israelites refused to believe Him (Numbers 14) God rejected them and they no longer kept this token of the covenant nor observed the Passover. But even in His wrath He shows mercy- for after 40 years ended and the old rebellious generation that had left Egypt died, the covenant and all its blessings revived in the new generation that crossed over the Jordan. Here God instructed Joshua to circumcise them and when done He declared “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you” (sin and bondage). Here they also observed the Passover after 39 years.
All of us at some point were (are) wanderers with uncircumcised, un-renewed hearts- living according to the dictates of the flesh, moulded by the world and its desires- without God’s Spirit inside us. We sought (seek) our own truth and walked (walk) our own paths. But God in his mercy preserved (preserves) our lives -like He gave Manna to the Israelites in the wilderness to sustain them until they reached their rest. Now for us God has given His only Son (The Living Manna), so that anyone who believes in Him crosses over from the kingdom of darkness (slavery to sin and eternal death) into the Kingdom of light (freedom from sin and eternal life)- a new Covenant. With it He gives us a new heart which is circumcised: “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…” (Colossians 2:11)
But the history of Israel shows time and again their hearts wandered after other gods. These are all recorded as a warning to us. “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Cor.10:11) All of us have a tendency to turn away from God- hence we require the indwelling of His Holy Spirit to help us. Even King David understood this and cried out in Psalm 51:10-12 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. … and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.” It is only the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that can perform the circumcision of the heart. From Abraham to David to us, the inner circumcision continues. Our old self has to die, for the new self to resurrect.
Just like how the Captain of the Hosts of the Lord was sent to assist Joshua and the nation when they entered the land of rest (Joshua 5:14), God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in all who accept Christ Jesus as their personal Savior (Romans 10:9–13). Titus 3:5 “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is our guarantee, sealing the believer unto the day of redemption so that our arrival in the Lord’s presence is guaranteed after this life.
Think on: In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. -Ephesians 1:13-14