Shedding Former Things
"But after the men were healed, God told Joshua, 'Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you'" (Josh 5:9).
God is calling thousands of people out of Egypt, out of their old lives of bondage. He's calling them to become new people, living out His plan for their lives in the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. God wants Christians to take their places in the financial marketplace, the corridors of commerce, the capitals of information and entertainment, and the halls of government.
When the people of Israel crossed over the Jordan River and set foot upon the land of promise, God told Joshua to make flint knives and revive a ritual that had fallen into disuse: circumcision.
The rite of circumcision, of course, is the surgical removal of the foreskin (prepuce) of the penis. This rite was established as a sign of God's covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17, but it had not been practiced during the 40 years that Israel wandered in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land. Joshua obeyed God's command and had all the Israelite men circumcised at a place they called Gibeath Haaraloth (a rather graphic name that means "hill of foreskins").
The rite of circumcision is painful, bloody and personal, and the Israelite men were incapacitated until the wound had healed. With the removal of the foreskins, the men of Israel became a new and different people. They were no longer slaves of the past; they were free people with a future. It was time to put aside the old way of life and to put Egypt behind them and enter the Promised Land with confidence and power.
The people of Israel would go on to fight 39 major battles before the Promised Land came under their control. The Israelites couldn't compromise with the evil and idolatry that was in the land. God told them to destroy it. As believers, we will always be in a battle against evil until the war is won.
God has designed a bright future for us—and it's ours if we accept His calling and cling to Him as He reshapes us and remakes us.