Joshua Chapter Five (Part One)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Joshua is that God blesses obedience. Today, we hope to discuss the circumcision of the people.

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Read Joshua 5:1-12

F. The Circumcision of the People. The local kings were afraid of God and His people, after hearing about the crossing of the Jordan River. God tells Joshua to circumcise the people. This was because all of those circumcised in Egypt died along the way because of their sins.

This was a new generation of uncircumcised people. The place is called Gilgal. The Passover is celebrated. The people enjoy the produce of the land and the manna from above is cut off.

Applications -

- Witnessing and obeying. Notice in vs. 1 that the enemies heard about how God dried up the Jordan River and the people crossed over on dry ground. First, in order for people to hear, someone has to be talking.

We need to work on talking about the great things that God is doing, instead of simply the distracting things that are going on with our leaders and fellow members. Think about how souls are being saved and people’s lives are being changed by the power of God.

Second, the enemies heard about how the people followed God’s will. This means the people had to follow God’s will.

When we think about how difficult it is to get “saved” people to follow God’s will in simply areas like tithing, worshipping, and being kind to the less fortunate, we almost loose heart that we could do anything as challenging as follow God’s will to cross over the Jordan River.

This may explain why our enemies are not made afraid, but often emboldened, by what they see. Let’s work on being a witness about what God is doing and obeying God’s will for our lives.

- Getting back to obedience. Notice in Joshua chapter 5 vss. 2-8 that it was time to get back to what God wanted His people to do. They had stopped doing God’s will for a season. But that season was over.

In like manner, the season for being out of the will of God is over. It is now time to obey God again.

Think about how this applies to it being time to be a better witness for the Lord, to being faithful in paying your tithes and giving your offerings, and to being dutiful in serving the needs of others, as your service to the Lord. Let’s work on getting back to doing God’s will, immediately.

- Symbolic identification with God. Notice in vs. 3 that circumcision was a sign to identify men with God. In the New Testament, we have baptism, instead of circumcision as our identification with God.

First, we should be thankful that our women are included in the Christian ritual, unlike with the Old Testament ritual. Second, we should understand and strive to live out the symbolism of water baptism. We are to die to our sinful ways and live a resurrected life unto the Lord.

Let’s work on living out the symbolism of our identification with God.

- Our insides and outsides. Notice in Joshua Chapter 5 vs. 6 that the failure to obey God led to many men dying, even though they were outwardly circumcised. First, there are too many who look fairly well on the outside, but don’t have the right stuff on the inside.

They have joined church and been baptized. They do not smoke, drink, or chase. But on the inside, they have not accepted Jesus as savior or Lord. Second, for Christians, it is the inside that matters most.

The person who has accepted Jesus as savior is saved. He/she may still struggle to yield to the Lordship of Jesus. But we should thank God for the power of His grace.

Let’s make sure we have the right stuff on the inside (i.e., salvation by faith in Jesus) as we work on the outside (discipleship).

- The next generation. Notice in vs. 7 that there is a great concern that the next generation would do better. As we look at our children and children’s children being progressively less interested in the church and we assume God, we are left to wonder how will the next generation get along.

More than wondering, we should be busy giving our best to teaching, training, and loving them into a stronger relationship with God. The need for strong children and youth ministries should be obvious. Let’s work on helping the next generation do better.

Conclusion: Let’s work on obeying God, so we can be blessed. God has much for those who obey His will.

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