I feel that there are some key strategies in the book of Joshua, even in the life of Joshua, that will help on the journey to fulfillment. Joshua himself is an excellent example of a man who believed the promises of God, stepped forward in obedience and saw the Lord’s goodness.
I’m going to keep track of some of the lessons I’m learning from Joshua. I have no idea how many strategies the Holy Spirit will reveal, but number one is always a good place to start. Feel free to play along and include whatever the Lord is telling you as well.
1. Joshua lingered in the Lord’s presence. (Exodus 33:11)
2. Joshua followed God fully. (Numbers 32: 12)
3. Joshua had faith when it counted. (Joshua 14: 6-9)
4. Joshua obeyed the Lord even when it sounded crazy. (Joshua 6:2-5)
In today’s reading, the first few verses made my spirit leap. It’s kind weird because they contain a certain medical procedure that makes most wince…
Joshua 5: 1 When all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and the Canaanite kings along the seacoast heard how God had stopped the Jordan River before the People of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts sank; the courage drained out of them just thinking about the People of Israel. 2 At that time God said to Joshua, “Make stone knives and circumcise the People of Israel a second time.”3 So Joshua made stone knives and circumcised the People of Israel at Foreskins Hill.
Boy, they really named things literally, didn’t they? Moving on…
The people who came out of Egypt were circumcised, but those who were born in the wilderness were not. They did not make covenant with God in that way. So, Joshua listened to the Lord and taught them about this covenant.
Circumcision is often used as a symbol. It symbolized loyalty and the importance of laying the past aside and looking toward the future. When I hear the word, I think of Paul in Romans talking to the Jews and explaining that whatever they do outwardly, it’s what they do inwardly that counts. It’s a circumcision of the heart, not of the body. Joshua got that.
So here, before the filed of battle, before they can claim the victory, they are to decide who’s side they are on, where do their loyalties lie? There can be no mistake, because it’s a big decision.
Joshua was able to help the people because His heart was already prepared. He already made covenant with the Lord. Here, we see Joshua leading the people symbolically into the place where He had already been.
5. Joshua teaches the people to obey, to be loyal and to look to the future. (Joshua 5:1- 3)
Here, preparing for this year, I can’t help but look at my life and say, Lord, help me to circumcise my heart. Cut away any part that is not of you, any part that can become hazardous to the purity that you have called me to. I give myself to you all over again today because there are parts of me that are still not holy. Teach me to be the person that you want me to be and thank you so much for loving me on the way to whoever that is…thank you so much for always loving me.