-This chapter begins with the dread that the kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan to the west in the Promised Land were feeling when they received word that the LORD had dried up the river for His people to cross. “Their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel (Joshua 5:1).” At that time, God told Joshua to make knives of flint and circumcise again the sons of Israel since they had never had this done. At Gibeath-haaraloth (the hill of the foreskins, nice name right?) all the males of the nation of Israel were circumcised for the first time since they came out of the wilderness 40 years before. That generation had completely passed away at the LORD’s promise for their not listening to His Voice. But now the new generation was ready and poised to take the land. This covenant symbol was an important event in consecration for the battles ahead (Joshua 5:2-7). After the circumcision was complete, the men went back to their places and healed. I’m sure they were glad for that reprieve. Then the LORD spoke to Joshua again and said, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore they named that place Gilgal (rolling) as a permanent place; although, this exact geographical spot has been lost to antiquity (Joshua 5:8-9). While the sons of Israel camped there at Gilgal on the desert plains of Jericho, they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, they ate some of the land’s produce, which consisted of unleavened cakes and parched grain. The day after that the manna that they had received daily in the wilderness for 40 years stopped. They were now in God’s Promised Land, and He would provide bountifully for them in a brand-new reality (Joshua 5:10-12).
-“Now it came about that when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand…” Joshua asked him if he was for them or against them on the side of their adversaries. This man informed Israel’s leader that indeed he had come as the captain of the hosts of the LORD. This took Joshua from standing erect to prostrating himself on the ground. He then bowed down and asked what his lord had to say to his servant. The captain of the LORD’s host replied, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Joshua immediately complied in reverence and awe (Joshua 5:13-15). There could have been no doubt at this point that the LORD was with him and ready to fight for His people as they attempted to conquer this land filled with enemies and giants. What an inspiration! What an encouragement! Can you imagine???
-*Application* Do you ever wonder what is going on in the spiritual realm when you pray to God? How much do we really believe when we ask of things that may seem from our perspective to be impossible, or so ever daunting? Pray that the LORD would open our eyes as we lift them up and actually look, just like Joshua did, to see His angel armies that are by our side and ready to go into battle with victory assured. He is our very present help just like He was to Joshua and David (Psalm 46:1).
Verse to Memorize: Joshua 5:15