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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“At that time the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.’”—Joshua 5:2 (NKJV)
You probably weren’t expecting your daily devotional to start on that note! “I’m dealing with an issue that’s as ‘real-life’ as it gets and you’re going to go on about circumcision . . . really?” Be careful. Don’t tune out or assume that this passage doesn’t have anything to do with where you’re at right now, because it absolutely does and there’s a blessing embedded here if we’re willing to stop and see it.
To set the stage, God gave Abraham and his descendants a sign of the unique covenant that He initiated with them. This sign was to signify the fact that there was a special bond and destiny between Almighty God and the children of Abraham. It represented that they were a people who were not to blend in and behave as the rest of the people around them but were set apart and chosen to be the spiritual standard-bearers for the rest of the world. Circumcision was the physical sign of this spiritual covenant.
So, generation after generation, every male descendent of Abraham was marked by this sign. Until, that is, it came to this generation. Keep in mind, after escaping Egypt, the Israelites had wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Over this stretch of time, two things happened; the men who had been circumcised died off, and male children were born without being circumcised. By the time we get to this point in their history, we have a whole generation of God’s people who didn’t bear the mark of being His.
God didn’t want Israel to go into this new phase of their existence like this. He wanted them to be fully conscious of the fact that they didn’t belong to the cultures around them but that they exclusively belonged to Him.
“Umm . . . I’m still waiting to see what any of this has to do with me.” Did you know that if you’re a believer in Christ, the Bible teaches that God’s Spirit has circumcised your heart? “And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit” (Romans 2:29 NLT).
This means God gives every Christian a sign of circumcision that’s not physical but spiritual. It represents the fact that we’ve been set apart for Him, that we have a special bond and destiny with Him, and that He has chosen to reveal Himself to the rest of the world through us. What an incredible blessing and privilege this is, and may we walk worthy of it!
DIG: What did circumcision represent?
DISCOVER: Why did God give this command to Joshua?
DO: How is the Christian marked and what are the implications?
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.