September 10, 2013
READ: Joshua 5:1-9
When all the . . . kings . . . heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan River so the people of Israel could cross, they lost heart and were paralysed with fear (v.1).
When I was training as an army officer, I was taught that I could use artillery or air strikes to neutralise enemy forces before the actual engagement of a ground offensive. The objective was to damage the enemy’s fighting capabilities, create fear and demoralise the enemy troops before ground combat began.
After 40 long years the Israelites finally entered the Promised Land. But they didn’t need to call for artillery or air strikes. For when the Canaanites “heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan River so the people of Israel could cross, they lost heart and were paralysed with fear” (Joshua 5:1). This was an opportune time for ‘General Joshua’ to launch an ‘all out’ offensive on Jericho.
But God commanded him to do something radical and totally irrational, humanly speaking. It was not only incredibly stupid as a military strategy, but also extremely dangerous. God ordered Joshua to circumcise every male in the entire nation (v.2). Such a surgical procedure would cause a delay of 10 to 14 days as the soldiers recuperated. It incapacitated the entire Jewish army and endangered the whole nation—making it too weak to defend itself if an attack came from the Canaanites.
Yes, God’s command was perplexing. Surely His ways are not our ways. And that’s precisely the issue: What will you do when you find that God’s ways seem unreasonable and incomprehensible?
Joshua obeyed God’s command instead of giving in to his human reasoning. He chose to trust God even more. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”
Joshua demonstrated his unwavering confidence in God by his obedience. Let’s do the same. —K.T. Sim
› Matthew 25:31-46
Read Joshua 6:1-5 and consider what you would do in this situation if you were Joshua.
Why was it necessary for the Jews to be circumcised at this point in time? (Read Joshua 5:4-9, also Genesis 17:10-14.) How does obedience reveal our trust in God?