March 14

Read Joshua 4 -- 6

The Israelites were now in the land that God had promised to Abrahamabout 700 years before. Although God said: I have given you the land (Numbers 33:53), He also added later: There shall not be any man able to stand before you (Joshua 1:5), meaning that the Lord would help the Israelites overcome the Canaanites to receive what was rightfully theirs. The promises of God always include personal responsibilities in order for them to be realized. Before going further, the Lord said to Joshua, Make sharp knives, and circumcise . . . the (new generation of the) children of Israel. . . . Now all the people that came out (of Egypt) were circumcised: but all the people who were born in the wilderness . . . had not been circumcised (5:2,5).

The rite of circumcision had been instituted by the Lord more than 600 years before this time with Abraham, the father of the faithful, as a visible sign of the people's covenant relationship with Him (Genesis 17:9-14). Before anyone could eat the first Passover, circumcision was required, for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof (Exodus 12:48).

After being circumcised, the new generation became identified as the Lord's covenant people so they could keep the Passover and possess the Promised Land. When they had circumcised all the people. . . . the children of Israel . . . kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening in the plains of Jericho (Joshua 5:8,10). The Passover commemorated the Lord's deliverance of His people from Egypt and pointed the way to the Messianic Deliverer, the Lamb of God who was to come (I Corinthians 5:7). The covenant that God made with Abraham and the nation of Israel foreshadowed His covenant with the Church. The ordinances of Believer's Baptism and the Lord's Supper should be considered as central to our faith today as the circumcision and the Passover were to the Israelites.

At His last Passover supper, our Lord Jesus revealed Himself as the One whose long-anticipated death on the cross would fulfill and replace the Passover. Paul spoke of this New Covenant, saying: The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is My Body, which is broken for you. . . . After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament (covenant) in My Blood. . . . As often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till He come (I Corinthians 11:23-26).

The Christian's circumcision is explained by the Apostle Paul: As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk (conduct yourselves) in (conformity to) Him. . . . In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with Him in baptism, wherein you also are risen with Him (to a new life) through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God gave Life to share His Life, having forgiven you all your sins (Colossians 2:6,11-13).

Christ Revealed: As the Captain of the host of the Lord (Joshua 5:14). Christ is the Captain of our salvation (Heb. 2:10).

Word Studies: 6:9 rearward (rereward) means rear guard; 6:17,18 accursed means devoted, set apart, as holy unto the Lord (compare Leviticus 27:28); 6:26 adjured them means made them take an oath.

Prayer:

Government Official: Rep. William Jefferson (LA) · Pray for Dr. M.A. Thomas, President of Hopegivers International -- Ministries of Emmanuel, Kota, North India; Hindi and Malayalam Coordinator for Bible Pathway · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Letha Hash's brother, Henry Rogers · Country: Bahamas (284,000) in the northern portion of the West Indies · Major languages: English and some Creole · Religious freedom · 72% Protestant; 26% Roman Catholic; 1% Afro-American spiritist · Prayer Suggestion: Pray at all times (Psalms 55:17).

Optional Reading: John 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:9