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December 5, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.’ So that place has been called Gilgal to this day.”—Joshua 5:9 (NLT)
One of the great joys of my life is finding a profound gem of revelation as I study the Word. It’s those lightbulb, “aha!” moments God throws my way through my exploration of His Word (reading several versions and commentaries, digging into the original language, and journaling) that motivate me to spend so much time doing it. Why do I tell you this? Well, because I found one of those gems in this passage that floored me!
Here is some context for today . . . the Israelites left Egypt by the mighty hand of God to enter the Promised Land. Once they arrived, they freaked out and were afraid of the Canaanites, which showed a lack of faith. As punishment, that generation was disqualified from entering the Promised Land and had to wander in the desert until all the military-aged men had died. Now, a new generation was on the cusp of entering the Promised Land. But before doing so, they needed to be circumcised—set apart unto God. And they were. So God said, “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.” So He named the place Gilgal, and after this, they celebrated Passover.
Now check this out . . . Gilgal means “a wheel; sacred circle of stone.” The use of this word here was a clever use of word play by God. Essentially, God rolled away their shame like a big stone wheel through circumcision.
My friends, consider with me the symbolism of this moment through the lyrics of Passion’s, “Glorious Day”:
I was buried beneath my shame
Who could carry that kind of weight
It was my tomb
Till I met You
You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day
Jesus, our Passover Lamb, died on the cross for our sins, and when the stone was rolled away and He came out of the grave, He rolled away our shame and the slavery to sin through a different kind of circumcision. Colossians 2:11 (NLT) tells us, “When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised,’ but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.” This circumcision moment in Joshua, and the words of the Lord in the midst of it, paint a beautiful, perfect picture of Christ’s triumph over sin and death, and the work He does in us through His resurrection.
I hope this floors you the way it did me! I hope seeing this picture inspires you to dig deeper into the Bible and seek out the incalculable and priceless riches held in this living, active Word of God.
DIG: Why did God name that area Gilgal?
DISCOVER: What is the significance of all this in light of the work of Jesus?
DO: Thank the Lord for cutting away your sin and shame through Christ Jesus, and pray for deep revelations of His Word as you study.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.