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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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This past weekend, Pastor Doug explored Joshua 5 and the amazing and holy moment that took place just before the Israelites took the city of Jericho. We discovered the importance of what took place at Gilgal and how we see the resurrection of Jesus parallel this moment.
Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
God Is Not Going to Use Unconsecrated People to Reach an Unconsecrated World (Joshua 5:1–8): Before they could take ground and claim the Promised Land, the Lord had all the people of Israel consecrate themselves. They were to be purified from secret and public sin, selfish motives, agendas, and unhealed wounds; they were to be set apart unto God in full devotion and surrender for His purposes.
Like the people of Israel, we have been consecrated by the blood of Jesus. Our circumcision was not a physical one, but a spiritual one as our sinful nature was cut away (Colossians 2:10–11). And we were set apart for a heavenly purpose and given a special commission, a wonderful work the Lord wants to accomplish through us. All we need to do as consecrated people is obey and allow the Spirit of God to work in our lives.
This is where our modern mindset is not our ally . . . You see, today the idea of obedience carries an extremely negative connotation. We have developed this mentality that we only need to obey if we understand something and agree with it. All of this; however, is contrary to the manner in which we are to approach the Lord. We don’t need to understand all of His commands to obey them; we don’t always need to understand why He does things the way He does, why He leads us in a certain direction, or why certain things happen . . . we simply need to obey Him. Why? Because He is God, He is good, His ways are perfect, He is all-knowing and all-powerful. As believers, we must offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord (Romans 12:1).
It’s Never Too Late to Get Right With God (Joshua 5:9–12): Gilgal was a very special place. Here is where the Israelites were purified. They didn’t bemoan 40 years of lost time or lament on what they missed out on; instead they celebrated Passover! They remembered how the Lord took them out of Egypt and they looked forward to how He would fulfill the promise He made Abraham and bring them into the Promised Land. Interestingly, this was only the third Passover in the history of the Israelites as a people—the first in 40 years. This was the first Passover for most of the people there. They celebrated on the plains of Jericho, a feast in the presence of their enemies (Psalm 23) in a place called that was named Gilgal.
And here’s something truly beautiful for us to consider about this place and this moment. Gilgal means “a wheel; sacred circle of stone.” So, the use of this word here was clever word play by God. Essentially God rolled away their shame like a big stone wheel through circumcision.
And just as God rolled away the shame of Egypt through the Passover in a place called Gilgal, God rolled away our shame at a place called Golgotha (these two places share the same root word) through Jesus, our Passover Lamb, who died on the cross for our sins. When the stone was rolled away on the third day and He came out of the grave, He rolled away our shame and the slavery to sin through a different kind of circumcision.
This circumcision moment in the Book of 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.
The Holiness of God Requires a Response (Joshua 5:13–15): After all this, Joshua went for a walk and suddenly encountered a man. Joshua wondered if this man was friend or foe, to which the man responded, “Neither one . . . I am the commander of the Lord’s army.” Upon hearing this, Joshua fell on his face and began to worship. This commander was Jesus Christ Himself! It is what is referred to as a Christophany, a physical manifestation of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Isn’t it amazing that just a short while after having participated in a celebration that foreshadowed the work He would do on the cross at a place that spoke of the grace that removes our shame, that Jesus Himself appeared to Joshua in the flesh?
He then proceeded to instruct Joshua to remove His sandals because they were on holy ground. The removal of sandals was an act of submission by Joshua that created intimacy, as there were no barriers between Joshua and the sacred ground. Friends, this is how the Lord wants us to walk into whatever place He has called us to be His ambassadors. He doesn’t want us to look at it as enemy territory, but as holy ground where the enemies of God can become friends of God.
God’s Takes a Band of Natural Enemies and Makes Them Family: The Church is made up of natural enemies. What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything else of that sort. Christians come together because they have been saved by Jesus Christ. They are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’ sake.
Quote to Remember: You are not common; you belong to God.—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
1. What does it mean to be set apart unto the Lord? What does it look like to be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)?
2. What is the difference between guilt and shame?
3. How are you responding to the calling of God on your life in this season?
4. What did the removal of the sandals represent?
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This Wednesday, Pastor Chris Baselice will explore something truly amazing as we discover how Christ Jesus has always been there. We’ll examine His presence in the Old Testament, specifically in Joshua 5.
Then on the weekend, Pastor Doug will share a powerful message from Joshua 6 as the walls of Jericho come down. Come experience this truly significant moment, discover why we all have a Jericho in our lives, and how the Lord wants to knock down walls and use us to take ground for His kingdom.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of 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.