Read v1 The heathen nations in Canaan saw the powerful manner in which the Lord brought His children through the Jordan and that they were totally demoralized by these events. It would appear that this would be the perfect time for Joshua to lead the people forward into the attack. However, instead of commanding His people to go forward into the battle, God commands them to remain at Gilgal and to do several things that, on the surface, appear very strange. It even appears that the things they are required to do puts them at risk before their enemies. While the ways of the Lord may appear strange to you and me, Isaiah reminds us that His ways are above our ways.
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
God never gets in a hurry! He has the liberty to take His time and do things on His schedule. While the things that happen in this chapter appear strange against the backdrop of impending battle, the truth of the matter is God is simply preparing His army to fight. God's battle are spiritual battles. If we expect to fight in these battles and do well, then we must make the right kind of spiritual preparations.
2Co 10:3-4 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
The Lord is preparing His people Israel for the battle. He wants top do the same in our lives. You see, we all have battle to fight, and if we expect to overcome and achieve the victory, then we must learn to make the right kind of spiritual preparations.
Israel appeared ready for the battle. They possessed a large army and they faced an enemy that was terrified at their presence. However, God knew that they would never be ready to fight and win the battle until the proper spiritual preparations had been made. That is what this passage is all about. The lessons taught here can help prepare us for victory in our walk with Him.
I. Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord v2-7
A. The first command the Lord gives to Israel is that all the man are to be circumcised.
1. It would seems that all the men who came out of Egypt were circumcised according to the demands of the Abrahamic covenant.
2. However, those men who were born during the 40 years of wilderness wandering had not been circumcised.
3. But God calls for all men to be circumcised, again! Not just the men who were born in the wilderness!
4. They must renew the covenant with the Lord if they wanted His blessings on them and if they wanted to be guaranteed the victory.
B. The lesson for us is simply this, we must remove from our lives anything that stands between us and total surrender to the Lord.
1. The Bible is clear that there are times when you and I must engage in spiritual surgery in our lives.
2. Col 3:1-2 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
3. We are instructed to 'put off' the old man and 'put on' the new.
4. This principle is vital to becoming victorious in our walk with God!
5. 2Co 6:17 "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"
C. To the Jew, circumcision was a reminder that they were a "marked people."
1. They were to never forget that they were the servants of the living God and that they were under obligation to obey Him in all things.
2. Circumcision was to be the outward reminder of an inward work of faith.
De 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
3. As believers, we are supposed to live like we are saved!
4. Anything that is displeasing to the Lord needs to be removed from your live.
5. There are many who have failed to live out the covenant they made with the Lord when He saved them.
6. We need to renew that covenant, and get back in fellowship with the Father and serve Him like we know we should!
II. Reaffirming Their Confidence In The Lord v8
A. At this point, Israel is camped in the heart of enemy territory.
1. After they have been circumcised, every male in the nation of Israel is temporarily disabled and is rendered unable to fight.
2. It took great faith for them to submit to the rite of circumcision!
3. They had to be willing to trust the Lord to protect them until they healed.
4. They were literally sitting ducks for the enemy.
5. However, their faith was the secret to their success.
6. These men had learned the valuable lesson that their battles would not be won by military might and by superior battlefield tactics.
7. They knew that if they ever saw victory, it would be because God gave it to them.
8. Theirs would be a victory based wholly in faith.
B. As we move through this life, we face times of testing just like these men in Israel did.
1. They had just come from a great victory and often, that is the time when pride will rise up in us and we will think that we are unstoppable.
2. When those times come in your life and mine, you can be sure that the Lord will allow us to go through a time of testing.
3. When we do, we must have faith in the Lord!
4. It isn't enough to be clean spiritually, we must also be walking in faith before the Lord.
5. We need to remember that our God can and will take care of His children.
C. This spiritual truth is taught over and over again in the Word of God.
1. When God's people aren't able to take care of themselves, their God is more than able.
2. Note just a few instances where faith in a great God paid amazing dividends.
a. Noah was protected in the Ark while the rest of humanity perished.
b. The firstborn of Israel were spared while the Egyptian children died.
c. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were spared from the fire.
d. Daniel was spared from the hungry lions.
e. Elijah was fed by the ravens and the by a poor widow.
3. Understand this evening that the Lord will take care of us during the difficult times of life.
4. He is still God and He is still able to all that we need.
5. His one requirement is that we trust Him.
III. Removing Their Condemnation By The Lord v9
A. The term "reproach of Egypt" has reference to 2 events during Israel's wilderness wanderings.
1. The first is found in Ex. 32:1-12 when the Children of Israel made a golden calf and worshiped it as God.
2. The other happened at Kadesh-Barnea when the children of Israel displayed unbelief and refused to enter into the promised land, Num 14:11-14.
3. On both occasions, the Lord threatened to destroy the nation of Israel and start fresh with Moses.
4. And, both times Moses interceded with the Lord and reminded Him that He would give the Egyptians a reason to mock God.
5. They would say that He brought them out of Egypt, but could not bring them to Canaan.
6. However, now they are in the land and God has proven that He is well able to bring His people into their possession.
7. Therefore, He tells them that He had rolled that reproach away!
8. In other words, their past was no longer an issue. It was a new day!
B. In a sense, many of God's children are still living under the "reproach of Egypt".
1. They are living with the shame of things they did before you came to faith in Christ.
2. They are ashamed of times when they have failed the Lord since they were saved.
3. Either way, you live under the constant stab of self-condemnation.
C. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, our past is not an issue any longer.
Ps 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Isa 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
Isa 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Mic 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
1. The reproach of the old life has been removed forever!
2. We must get past the guilt of those days before we can walk in victory!
3. Many Christians have failed the Lord, and as a result, they are defeated and feel like they are second-class citizens in the kingdom of God.
4. But, if you have confessed your sin and repented of it, then it has been taken care of as far as God is concerned!
5. God is telling Israel that yesterday is forever gone and they are to walk looking to the victory of today rather than to the defeat of yesterday.
6. We will never be able to walk in victory until we come to realize that the Lord has forgiven our past!
IV. Remembering The Commitment Of The Lord v10-12
A. In these verses, we find Israel once again keeping the feast of the Passover. v10
1. They first observed it when they were still in Egypt.
2. They also celebrated it at Mount Sinai before they left for Kadesh-Barnea.
3. However, there is no evidence that they had celebrated the Passover in 40 years.
4. The Passover was a time for the Jews to remember the deliverance of the Lord!
5. Now that they are in the promised land, they are to celebrate the feast of the Passover.
6. They are to remember the things God did for them in bringing them out of Egypt and in providing for them along the way.
B. What a lesson for the redeemed of the Lord!
1. When we face the battles of life, we must remember some of the great things the Lord has done for us in our past.
2. Take time to remember the way God has proven that He was strong in our life all along the way.
3. It will give us courage to face the next battle.
4. If He was God then, He is still God now!
C. Just as Israel needed to remember the Lord's commitment to them, they also needed to remember their commitment to Him! v11-12
1. For 40 years they had eaten manna every day.
2. However, when they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan, the manna ceased.
3. Surely, Israel was glad that the manna was no more.
4. The Passover reminded Israel that God had brought them out of Egypt, but the manna was a constant reminder of what they had left behind in Egypt, Ex. 16:3.
Ex 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
5. It was one thing for God to bring His people out of Egypt, but it was something else to get Egypt out of His people.
6. Far too many Christians have an appetite for the things of the world.
7. God help us to develop a hunger for the harvest of our inheritance.
V. Recognizing The Control Of The Lord v13-15
A. Who is in control?
1. One day, as Joshua was looking over the city of Jericho, he saw a man standing with a drawn sword.
2. Joshua boldly asked the man to identify himself and to state which side he was on!
3. When the man responded, He said that He was the Captain of the Lord's Host.
4. He told Joshua that He did not come to take sides, but to take over!
5. That is, He was in control of the Lord's armies in Heaven and in the earth.
6. He told Joshua that He was in charge.
7. Joshua's response is to fall down before Him and to worship Him.
B. This is the way to victory!
1. Joshua's response was an indication that he was willing to submit to the will of the Lord.
2. He knew who was in control!
3. Before we can have the victory, we must acknowledge that God is in control.
4. He is Lord and we are His servants.
5. Therefore, what He says must be followed to the letter.
C. The blessing of His presence.
1. Joshua is under a great deal of pressure.
2. He is trying to lead an army in the successful conquest of a powerful enemy.
3. More than anything, he needs to know that the promises God gave him when He called him are real.
4. Here, Joshua is experiencing the reality of those promises.
5. God is telling Joshua that he does not have to fight the battles alone.
6. He is even telling Joshua that the battles are not his responsibility.
7. The Lord is the Captain of the Army of God and He is present to direct the battle and to give the victory!
D. The same is still true as we face the battles of life!
1. David told Goliath, "the battle is the Lord's", and that hasn't changed!
2. He has promised to be with us, to support us and to lead us to victory!
3. The key to seeing these promises fulfilled in our life is to do what Joshua did.
4. Get on our face before the Lord, seek the Lord's will for the battle and let Him lead us to victory!
Are we ready for victory? Not before we make certain preparations. Will you come this evening and prepare for the victory that God has planned for your life? Come now whatever the need.