Joshua 5:1

 

 

The Bible says in Joshua 5:1, “And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.” Notice the phrase “all the kings” in this verse. It is used twice and it reminds us that the Israelites had many enemies. How did they get the victory over all their enemies? First of all the kings “heard that the LORD had dried up the waters.” The key word here is the word “heard.” Christians have a powerful tool to use in serving the Lord in this world: the truth of the Word of God. When we speak forth the Word of God, others hear it and then God does His work with those words. What amazing power is in the Word of God. It can touch hearts and transform lives. It can save souls by leading people to Jesus. It can make new believers into fruitful followers of the Lord. It can build up and strengthen. In the case of the kings of the Amorites and the Canaanites, the Word of God caused “that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more.” This should not surprise us because we are told in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word is the Sword of the Lord. The Word is indispensable in fighting the spiritual battles. That is why it says in Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God 

 

The Bible says in Joshua 5:2-7, “At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.[3] And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.[4] And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.[5] Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.[6] For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.[7] And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.” Circumcision had a symbolic meaning: to cut away the flesh symbolized cutting away the sins of the flesh. The flesh represents the human life on this earth. You cut away the sins of the flesh by turning from your sins to the Lord. In order to be a true servant of God, circumcision was a requirement. The only ones who did this circumcision were the Jews, and thus circumcision was the great outward display of allegiance to the one true God. The previous generation of Israelites had been circumcised when they left Egypt. And now this generation under Joshua had to be circumcised too if they were going to follow God into the Promised Land. We can see the history of why the Jewish believers in the first century had a difficult time understanding that God did not require Gentiles to be circumcised. Once someone believed on Jesus, that was enough. That was all they needed. By repenting and turning to Jesus, they already had the circumcision of the heart. The emphasis of the New Testament is: all that is needed is faith in Christ. Things that humans actually “do” to please God are not needed in this age of grace. We have what Jesus “did” applied to our account. It says in Galatians 5:1-6, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.[2] Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.[3] For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.[4] Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.[5] For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.[6] For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love

 

The Bible says in Joshua 5:8-12, “And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.[9] And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.[10] And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.[11] And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.[12] And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.” It says in verse eight that the Israelites “abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.” In other words there was no miracle to heal them. They had to go through the natural process of getting better after the circumcision. God does not always perform miracles to take care of us either. There is a natural process that God created when He created life on earth whereby we will be healed if we get the proper amount of rest and care, and that includes medical care (if it is God’s will.)

 

In verse nine God said, “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.” God decides everything. He even decides how other people react to us. God decides if we succeed or do not succeed. God was setting up the children of Israel and Joshua as their leader to go in and conquer the land of Canaan. Everything necessary to make that happen was arranged by God ahead of time, including the attitudes and responses of the enemies. If you follow the Lord Jesus, you cannot fail.

 

In verse ten we see that one of the first things they did now that they were in the Promised Land was to keep the Passover. That was God’s timing. It was a good reminder to the Israelites. The great statement about the Passover when a lamb was killed and its blood put on the door posts: “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” Jesus is our Passover lamb. Because of Jesus we know that God accepts us, God loves us, and God will guide us to our Promised Land: heaven.

 

In verse twelve it says, “And the manna ceased.” Their circumstances had changed because they left the wilderness and entered the Promised Land. Now they had the food of the land to survive. God stopped the miracle of the manna, and God used the natural process of the growing of crops and the killing of animals to supply their need. The same is true with us: our circumstances will also change. Sometimes the Lord will take away what once He had given to us, but He will replace it with something else. It just depends upon His will. That is why we pray, “Not my will, but thine be done.”

 

The Bible says in Joshua 5:13-15, “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?[14] And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?[15] And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua is ready for war, and so when he sees someone with “his sword drawn,” Joshua asks him a logical question: “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” Guess what Joshua was going to do if he heard the wrong answer: fight. But this was an angel sent from God. And the answer was just what Joshua needed to hear: “but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.” Of course, God sent this angel in order to reinforce to Joshua that the Lord and all of His resources would be there to help Joshua in any battle. There would be battles ahead, and Joshua knew it. The same is true for us as long as we are on this earth on our way to the Promised Land: the spiritual warfare. How can we face this war: only with God’s help. When Jesus saves us from our sins, He makes us soldiers in a great spiritual war. How do we fight this war? We will need to learn certain spiritual principles to know how to fight. Some Christians do not learn how to fight, and so they are easily defeated in this war of faith.

 

We know that Joshua was ready for the spiritual warfare because he said in verse fourteen, “What saith my lord unto his servant?” Joshua was surrendered to God’s will. And Joshua wanted to hear God’s message. That was a good start. No one is ready for the spiritual war unless they have these two things at the start: surrender to God’s will, and a desire to hear the Bible preached and taught.

 

There is one other thing that is necessary for the spiritual warfare. Notice that Joshua was told in Joshua 5:15: “Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy.” What is wrong with shoes? The shoes are symbolic of walking through life and the sins that a believer commits in doing so. In order to be in the presence of the Lord (the holy place), we must have these daily sins confessed and forgiven. It is one of the most important spiritual principles in order to keep following Jesus after you become a believer in Him. The Apostle John put it this way in First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus taught the same thing about the symbolism of the feet in John 13:3-10, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;[4] He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.[5] After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.[6] Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?[7] Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.[8] Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.[9] Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.[10] Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.” In verse ten Jesus said basically, “If you are already washed, you only need to wash your feet.” You are washed when you get saved through faith in Christ. But your feet get dirty every day because you are still in the flesh, and you are not perfect. But God is perfect and sin cannot come into His presence, and so we need daily confession in order to stay in fellowship with Jesus. When we accept Jesus as Savior, we are forgiven from the final punishment of sin, but we still need the daily cleansing with daily confession in order to walk with God. That was rue with Joshua thousands of years ago. It was true with Peter and the other apostles two thousand years ago, and it is true with Christians today. Do you want to continue to follow Jesus in your life on this earth? Then continue to confess your sins. He will always cleanse because He is faithful. If you stop confessing your sins, you will stop following the Lord.                      

    

                 

 

 

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Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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