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." NIV translation

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." NIV translation

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." NIV translation

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.