“And the LORD said to Joshua “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. So the name of the place is called Gilgal [rolling] to this day.” (Joshua 5:9 AMP)
Joshua is a fascinating character to me. He was the right-hand man of Moses and equally devoted to God. God supernaturally dried up the Jordan River so the Israelites could cross over. This miracle stunned and amazed the Caananites and the Amorites so much so, that they lost the will to fight them. They knew their God was too powerful for their idol gods.
It was here, in the promised land, they had just entered that God decided to re-establish the blood covenant He made with the Israelites. He told Joshua to circumcise every male that was born in the wilderness in the previous generation. The new generation had not been circumcised as their fathers and grandfathers had. They broke the covenant through their idolatry, rebellion and unbelief. They were locked outside the promised land as a result and forced to wander through the wilderness until they all died out. Only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter because they believed the report of the LORD.
Joshua 5:2 says “At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make knives of flint and circumcise the [new generation of] Israelites as before.” Joshua did as the LORD requested and they were all given time for their bodies to heal up. This is an interesting parallel in that it shows that just because their parents were in the covenant, didn’t mean they were automatically in it. They had to enter the covenant for themselves. Likewise today, our children must come to the Cross just the same as we did.
Joshua 5:6 says “For the Israelites walked forty years in the wilderness till all who were men of war who came out of Egypt perished because they did not hearken to the voice of the LORD; to them the LORD swore that He would not let them see the land which the LORD swore to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.” How many people never see the beautiful things God has for them because of unbelief, rebellion, or idolatry? We aren’t any different. Idols are simply people, places, activities that we put as the priority in our lives. Rebellion is refusing to do what He asks of us or not doing what He has asked us to do. Unbelief is refusing to accept His promises. The same result can happen to any of us. We won’t see the beautiful life God has planned for us.
So did God give up on His promise to Abraham and his descendants? No! He decided to use their uncircumcised children instead. He brought them into His covenant when they submitted to the circumcision, even though it was painful to endure. When we come to Jesus Christ and accept His blood sacrifice and surrender our lives over completely to His will, then we too, enter a blood covenant with the Creator God Himself.
After the covenant was cut with the new generation of Israelites, God spoke some very powerful words to Joshua. “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” What is the reproach of Egypt? Slavery, fear, abuse, sinful lifestyles, idolatry, and the list goes on. The reproach of their previous generations bound in unbelief and rebellion. God rolled it all up and threw it away. Just like He does with the blood of Jesus. It is forgotten by Him. It’s truly a clean slate! He is the God of the “do-over.” This time also marked the beginning of a new season. A season of intense warfare; a season of taking possession of the promises of God.
After they healed up, they celebrated Passover there in the promised land. They ate of the produce of the land and the Bible says “the manna ceased on the day after they ate.” They were in a season of maturity they had not known before. God always provided the manna every day for forty years. He never failed to feed them. Never. They are now ready to begin to take the land promised to them by God.
There is great beauty in Gilgal that we too can find when we come to Jesus and surrender our lives. Not say a prayer and get the ticket to heaven, but really surrender, take up your cross and follow Him. That is the covenant where our old way of living gets rolled away, completely eradicated by the blood of the Lamb. Gilgal is where our destiny is revealed, where we are prepared to take the promises of God and chase the vision He has given us. Are you ready for a new season? A clean slate? A fresh start? He is ready whenever you are….
Don’t know Him?