Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
French Countryside near Bannalec

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Mar 12, Jos 5-8

Today's readings are Jos 5-8.

In Jos 5:1-7's depiction of the rite of circumcision, we see that the people are called to bear the reminder of their covenant with God. This is another pattern we see in God's people. They are a unique people who are not only set apart but bear the undeniable evidence of their God. In other words, there should be some outward indication that they belong to the one true God.   

As it turns out, this is in preparation for their entry into the Promised Land. The mark outwardly distinguishes them as His. Their inward commitment to obey God's command, even if it causes some pain, will make them ready for the battles ahead.

It is significant that they observe a Passover meal before entering Canaan (Jos 5:10-12). Taken in conjunction with the circumcision, the two acts are poignant reminders of from where they've come and how they arrived on the banks of the Jordan. It was all God's doing because they are His people. Furthermore, as they enter the land of promise the manna ceases to fall from the sky. They will live off of the fruit and abundance of their new home.  

Upon seeing a heavenly being, Joshua wants to know whose side he is on (Jos 5:13-15). The angel, perhaps God Himself, says he's not on anyone's side. He carries judgment in his hand and has come to do battle. It becomes clear to Joshua that God does not take sides; He is God. Everyone will bow down to Him, one way or another! The question is not whether God is on Israel’s side, but whether Israel is on God’s.

Jericho falls in a manner that can only give glory to God in Jos 6. During the battle and immediately afterward, Achan sins rather blatantly then tries to cover it up with fatal results (Jos 7:1). The people are made aware of this when they are defeated by the army of Ai (Jos 7:2-5). They will experience victory only if they are right with God insofar as it is humanly possible. God will remove His conquering presence if they are openly rebellious to Him. 

Jericho before the fall

They gain the victory over Ai in Jos 8, but only after brutally purging the camp of sin (Jos 7:22-26). They learn that success is solely dependent upon God and the spiritual health of their relationship with Him.

            A ceremony to renew the covenant is held at Shechem, between Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal (Jos 8:30-35). These mountains and the altar built between them will play important roles in the occupation of Canaan. This area will be where the tabernacle is erected and where the sacrifices will occur, for the time being. 



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