(3) Joshua Prepares Israel Spiritually
“the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.”…. Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt….. died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not.” Circumcision identified every male as a son of Abraham and it was also a prerequisite for the Passover celebration . The passage records that all the adult men who left Egypt had died in the wilderness as a result of their disobedience and distrust of God so this new generation needed to identify with the beliefs and convictions of their forefathers; it was necessary to value God’s covenant and His provision for their salvation . True faith in God must be expressed by our actions and speech and true worship of God precedes our service to Him <see 1 Cor. 5:7b; 11:27-29>. So they celebrated the Passover .
Believers in Christ must be prepared for every aspect of service for our Lord, whether it be worship or any other activity. The question is – How do we prepare ourselves? Joshua prepared the people spiritually first of all by “identification”; to them circumcision was a necessary identification and prerequisite for their worship. What is our prerequisite today? Our salvation is the first and most important prerequisite and must be a personal experience which identifies us as a follower of Christ; just as circumcision had to be a personal experience for each male of the Israelite population. Too often today salvation appears to be a “second-hand” experience for some, and we must understand that our salvation cannot be handed down to us from our parents. It is a personal experience! The natural result of such an experience is that we are directly affected and must demonstrate our new life in Christ in every aspect of our service for Him.
Similarly, as the people fed on the “manna” supplied by God, we as believers must be nourished spiritually by the “manna” provided for us which is God’s Word. His Word provides the sustenance necessary to face each day and all that life presents to us. The difference with us today is that we must continue to feed on the “manna” of God’s Word daily because we have not yet entered our promised inheritance. It is amazing to observe that for some, the only time that God’s Word is heard or read is in church on Sunday mornings, and the evidence can be seen in the lives of such people, just as it was evident in the lives of the Israelites as they disobeyed God, were discontent with His leading and provisions for them, and their constant sinful ways.
The section closes with “The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.” . For 40 years the people survived on God’s miraculous provision, but the day they ate of the fruit of the Land of Promise the manna ceased , God did not fail in His promises to them and now they were prepared for the next phase of their journey.
Neither will God’s promises to us be nullified nor fail, we too shall enter the “promised land” and share in the inheritance with our Lord Jesus Christ . However, we must be faithful to Him by being spiritually prepared!