THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 5
AUTHOR: Joe Ligon
When this chapter opens, the nation of Israel had finished its crossing of the Jordan and is now in the Promised Land. The first thing we discover is that all the kings of all the different nations that made up the Canaanites were absolutely terrified of what had happened at the Jordan River.
At that point, four important things happened. The men were circumcised. Passover was celebrated. The manna from heaven stopped. And Joshua had a most interesting encounter. Although I could use at least a page to deal with each of these four things, I have a page to deal with all four. So, let me give you a little bit to think about for each of the four.
First, as a military leader Joshua would have had to have been a least a bit concerned about the circumcision of all the men. That process would have debilitated the men and would have left the nation defenseless. Since God commanded that to happen, He obviously sovereignly protected them.
Circumcision was a token of the Covenant that God made with Israel. It was a visible symbol of a very important relationship. It was actually initiated with Abraham and was carried through the generations. It seems that the Hebrews did not or were not allowed to practice circumcision in Egypt because they did not circumcise in Egypt until right before the Exodus. From this story, we can also assume they didn’t circumcise in the wilderness journeys either perhaps because the adults were not committed to the covenant like they should have been.
Regardless, the men were circumcised. This was a renewal of the covenant from their perspective. Because of the renewal, Passover could be observed for the first time in Canaan. This was in fact only the third Passover that had been observed since Moses prepared to lead the people out of Egypt. The first one was in Egypt the night before their departure. The second one was observed at Mount Sinai. And the third one was at this point in the Promised Land.
Circumcision was the token of the Covenant. In many ways, Passover was the Covenant Meal. We can make sort of a New Testament comparison here. Baptism would be somewhat like circumcision. It was a visible symbol of a very important relationship. And the Lord’s Supper would be somewhat similar to Passover – the covenant meal.
The third thing that happens in the chapter is the manna stopped. God had provided all those Hebrews all that manna for over 40 years. Despite Israel’s multiple rebellions and sinful choices in the wilderness, God continued to provide this heavenly bread. Now that they were eating the fruit of the Promised Land, the manna would cease. God was still providing for their nourishment. He just wasn’t providing manna.
The fourth thing that happened is a bit unusual. It begins in verse 13 and is a meeting between Joshua and the Commander of the Lord’s Army. Joshua’s question is whose side is this “Man” on. The “Man’s” answer was basically, “I am on My own side. You should be on My side.”
Some consider this to be an angel. That would be cool. But I am quite convinced it is Jesus appearing in what is called a Christophany (an Old Testament appearance of the second person of the Trinity). The Commander’s command was almost identical to what God said to Moses from the burning bush. This place was sanctified by the presence of the Lord. And the presence of the Lord had to be a great encouragement to Joshua.