Tuesday, 2 February 2021
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Joshua 5:9
The Book of Joshua is a powerful testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness to His chosen people that encourages believers when they are faced with struggles. How wonderful it is to experience the Lord’s presence and continue in His blessing. Wouldn’t we all love that? Today’s reading reveals to us the problem we face and the attitude we should have to live in His love and protection.
Israel’s Rebellion: “… they did not listen to the voice of the Lord” (V.6). A people that had seen God’s glorious presence and the miraculous signs He performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, rebelled against God and later on, even desired to return to the land of slavery (Numbers 14). How is this possible? This is the condition of the human heart that lacks faith. You and I have experienced the Lord’s protection and deliverance, but when troubles and persecution overwhelms us do we doubt our Master’s ability to lead us through? Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. (Psalm 103:2)
The Lord’s Discipline: V.6 says that the Lord swore they would not enter the Promised Land and they were consumed in the wilderness. Those who rebelled where chastised. When we drift away from the Lord, there is a disciplining that needs to happen. Our God is Righteous and his standards of holiness for us cannot be compromised. I dare say some of our painful experiences are times to seek forgiveness and return the Lord. “.. When we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:32)
Submission to God: “Their children whom He raised up in their place, Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised” (V.7). Circumcision is the covenant of consecration to the Lord. For a believer, it is the circumcision of the heart. “…circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…” (Romans 2:29) This requires repentance - a change of heart, putting every thought under subjection to Christ and returning to God in complete obedience. “…the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)
God’s Deliverance: The Lord said …“Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” (V.9) The Lord freed Israel from the ridicule and shame of slavery. Hallelujah! Today God is able to deliver us from bondage to sin and sickness if we by faith receive His forgiveness and proclaim the victory Christ has bought for us. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:2).
The Lord’s Presence: Obedience to God does not end with the blessing, but the assurance of His presence continually with us. Joshua’s encounter with the ‘Commander of the Lord’s Army’ is a promise of God’s presence in their midst to lead them in victory as we see from the fall of Jericho in Chapter 6. When we serve the Lord in love, we have the Holy Spirit with us continually guiding us and mentoring us to lead a victorious life in Christ. …in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:14).
Faith in God resulting in obedience and submission allows the Lord to work mightily in and through us.
Heavenly Father, teach me obedience to You in my daily struggles. Strengthen me to overcome all temptations and live a life of holiness that is pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen