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Joshua Chapter Five, Choosing Sides

In our study of Joshua chapter five, we will look at consecration and the fact that it is God's plan that matters and not our own.

Joshua 5:1

Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.

Everyone had heard about the Israelites crossing the Jordan while it was at flood stage and so they knew that God was with them. Even though they were pagans, they understood that the presence of God was different than their idols and they were afraid. We might ask ourselves why so many people in the world today attack and kill Christians. We see stories every day of terrorists killing Christian and Jewish people in the name of their god. The answer is simple, in that, they do not see the power of God displayed on behalf of His people. As we see in the book of Revelation, those days are going to end soon.

Joshua 5:2 & 3

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, 'Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.' So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.

The Lord instructs the people to get back to observing the Abrahamic Covenant. God had fulfilled His part by His presence and by giving them the land of Canaan. That contract required the men of Israel to be circumcised and so Joshua did so and the place was named Gibeath Haaraloth which means "Hill of the Foreskins". The circumcision was a physical act of consecration as it identified the men as God's people. They had made the decision in their hearts while they were on the other side of the river (see chapter 3) but now they became identified with their decision. As Christians, we are identified with our decision by the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us. If those who attack Christians and Jews were to see this presence of God, they would not have the courage to continue to attack because they would know that they were opposing the true God.

Joshua 5:4-6

Now this is why he did so: All of those who came out of Egypt - all the men of military age - died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. All the people that had came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not. The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.

During their time in the wilderness, the Israelites had turned their backs on God and had not circumcised their children. They had initially disobeyed by not going in and taking the land that God was giving them. This initial disobedience was made complete by their failure to keep the Abrahamic covenant during their time in the wilderness.

Joshua 5:7 & 8

So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.

God began the principle of the remnant at this time. Throughout the rest of the Bible, God will always have a portion of His people remaining on the earth until Jesus returns to establish His kingdom. Those who had left Egypt and refused to take Canaan died but God preserved His people through their children. These are the people that were consecrated to God and returned to the covenant.

Joshua 5:9

Then the Lord said to Joshua, 'Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.' So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.

It must have been shameful as the Israelites had wandered around in the desert for forty years. The surrounding nations would have heard of their wandering and the fact that God was judging them for their disobedience. That shame was removed by the fact that God had led them into Canaan in a big way. Only God could remove their shame and the same is true for us, as Christians. As sinners, the things that we do bring shame upon ourselves and our family but, by the power of God, that shame is removed when we accept Jesus Christ.

Joshua 5:10

On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, The Israelites celebrated the Passover.

As we saw, the lamb was selected for the Passover on the tenth and was taken care of for four days. At the end of the four days, the lamb was killed and the people ate the Passover meal. They did this to remember the fact that the angel of death had passed over their homes while they were in Egypt. As we know, this lamb was a picture of Jesus going to the cross on our behalf.

Joshua 5:11 & 12

The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.

For forty years the Israelites had eaten quail and manna but that ended with the Passover lamb. That was "deliverance food" and was basic food to get them to their destination. With the renewal of the covenant, they were back in the will of God. This deliverance food is sorta like the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ because we just need a basic knowledge of sin and our need for a Savior to get to the point of salvation. The Passover celebrated their deliverance and the very next day they ate food that had grown in the Promised Land. In the days to come they would have a variety of foods to eat and it reminds us of the fact that all of the scriptures are food for our souls. After we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we can feast on His Word and learn to appreciate Him more and more. On the second day, the manna and quail stopped and it reminds us of the fact that there is a set amount of time for each of us to hear and either accept or reject the gospel. With this in mind, we should have a renewed sense of urgency in telling people about Jesus. As we see in Revelation, soon the "deliverance food" will cease and judgment will begin.

Joshua 5:13

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, 'Are you for us or for our enemies?'

Joshua went out to take a look at Jericho as he was going to be leading Israel into battle against them. When he got there, he was met by a man with a drawn sword and so he asked whose side the man was on.

Joshua 5:14

'Neither,' he replied, 'but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, 'What message does my Lord have for his servant?'

The man introduces himself as the commander of the army of the Lord. This is clearly Jesus because, when Joshua fell down, the man did not warn him about doing so. When an angel has that happen, they are quick to tell the man to get up because they are unworthy of worship.

Joshua 5:15

The commander of the Lord's army replied, 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.' And Joshua did so.

Joshua had asked for a message but the only thing he got was that the place where he was standing was holy. It was holy because it was Jesus standing there with him. So, why was Jesus there and why did He say that He was on neither side? Jesus was there to remind Joshua that it is not about him but about God. God had elevated him in the eyes of Israel but he had to remember that he was still a subject of the King of Kings. He was going to take Jericho but not because of any plan that Joshua had but because it was in God's plan for His people. Many times we, as Christians, will get wrapped up in our plans and forget that it is only God's will that matters because He knows best. We are to be conformed to His will not trying to conform His will to our plans. There is freedom and a whole lot less stress when we realize that we do not have to come up with plans. Instead, we can trust in the plans of God. If we listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we will be led into His perfect will for any situation.

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