Rolling Away Egypt’s Reproach
Scripture reading for March 3rd: Joshua 1-5
God used an unusual mark for His people. All males were to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant that they had made with God. Moses, himself, had neglected to circumcise his son and God had tried to kill him for this oversight. ( Exodus 4:24-26) This happened after God had appeared to Moses and commissioned him to lead His people out of Egypt. The leader must be obedient to set a proper example. God takes relationships and covenant very seriously!
The Israelites had wandered for forty years in the dessert and had neglected to place this important covenant mark on those who had been born in the desert. As Joshua led them into the promised land, their first stop was at Gibeath Haaraloth. There the Lord spoke to Joshua about circumcision. (Joshua 5:2-4) He was to make flint knives and circumcise all the males who had not been marked in the desert. They were to stay there until they healed. Joshua obeyed and did this rather painful marking process. They were ready to come into their inheritance, but this painful process must come first.
“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.” (Joshua 5:9) God viewed this action as an act of separation from the corruption of Egypt. His people were set apart from the most powerful worldly nation by a mark that made them different and promoted cleanliness and safe sexual relations. This mark reminded them of the covenant they had with their God to be faithful to Him.
In the New Covenant that we have in Christ, circumcision is now of our hearts. The true life giving organ is not sexual, but the seat of control in our inner man. It is with our hearts that we believe and have faith. When we are born again, God gives us a new “circumcised” heart. The apostle Paul had a battle with the Jews who were promoting circumcision and the Law. He let them know that, “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)
We have the world’s reproach rolled away from our hearts in Christ alone. We are set apart in the New Creation as belonging to God. We are marked by the precious Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13-14) Thank the Lord!