The Israelites had traveled in the wilderness for forty years until all the men who were old enough to fight in battle when they left Egypt had died. For they had disobeyed the Lord, and the Lord vowed he would not let them enter the land he had sworn to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey. So Joshua circumcised their sons—those who had grown up to take their fathers’ places—for they had not been circumcised on the way to the Promised Land. After all the males had been circumcised, they rested in the camp until they were healed. From Joshua 5
God had told Abraham to circumcise his sons as a sign of the covenant He made with him. For hundreds of years the Israelites had been keeping their side of the covenant, until this story. When the Israelites left Egypt and ultimately wandered in the desert for 40 years (as a punishment for their fear) they neglected to circumcise any of their sons. Now that generation had died off and their sons were about to take possession of the long awaited promised land. But before they could move forward God wanted them to renew their covenant with Him. He wanted them to take some time and remove any symbols of who they used to be and get ready for this next season. He wanted their first act in the new land to be a time of recommitting themselves to their God.
Maybe you can relate to this story in some way. Maybe your parents didn’t pass on their faith to you well. Maybe they just dragged you to church on occasion and that was about it. Or maybe you did grow up hearing about how awesome God is, but you failed to pick up the baton and run with it. Or maybe this whole concept of following Jesus is new to you and you are just beginning to explore who He is for your life. Whatever the case, I think this story has power.
Before you go any further in your day I am challenging you to stop what you are doing, right now and renew your covenant with God. Spend a few minutes in prayer declaring that you will follow God with your whole life. Decide today that you will be a part of a new generation. Let God cut off the things in your heart that need to be removed. Let Him take away your sin and shame and make your heart new.
Jesus, I am sorry for my wandering in the desert. I am sorry for letting my sin and fear and apathy define me for so long. instead I want you to define me. I declare that this is the first day in a new season. I give you permission to work on my heart. To cut off anything that is not putting you first. Thank you that you remove my shame and make me new.
Diving In is our online mid-week devotional. It jumps into the message from Sunday and takes us a little deeper. Take a moment to slow down from your busy day, and hear from the Holy Spirit. We re-post every Wednesday. You can follow along by clicking the +Follow button in the bottom-right corner of your screen. This week Diving In is written by Erika Thornton (Pastor Jonathan’s wife).