At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.
We read the word circumcision so often in the Bible that it kind of spills of the tongue: “Circumcision!” But let’s not forget what that event really is…it is the cutting off of the foreskin of male, and here, it is performed with a flint knife.
Why is this significant? For a few reasons: first, there was no anesthetic at the time, so circumcision of an adult male would be totally incapacitating – that guy would not be doing anything for a while. And it seems that the entire male population was circumsised there at Gilgal. But remember that the Israelites are in utterly hostile territory, surrounded by enemies…and we find their army is recuperating after a very painful and unnecessary medical procedure. Humanly, practically, and strategically a terrible decision, but a very correct spiritual one: to obey and fear God rather than men, no matter what the circumstance! Now, do we do the same in our lives – choose to honor God with enemies pounding on the door? Tithe after losing a lot of money? Come to church with an exam on Monday?
In addition, last time we read how Gilgal represents God rolling away the past and ushering in a new season for Israel. And how is this newest season marked?…with the oldest of traditions, the circumcision. Strangely, new seasons that God provides are sometimes paradoxically marked by a return of sorts, returning to obedience, returning to healthy habits. Mr. Redman puts it best:
And I’ll remember You
I will turn back and do the things I used to do
For the love of You
We should never spurn the old disciplines, because if we want new things, sometimes, we have to do the old things: get into the Word, be in prayer, ask for forgiveness, lift up praise songs.
1. Is there a situation in your life where you have been fearing men or the world or your circumstances at the cost of honoring God?
2. What is your “circumcision”, your tradition that has always reconnected you with the heart of God? Have you been keeping up with that activity, or do you need to be “recircumcised”? (figuratively speaking, of course)