Scripture Reading: Joshua 5:9-12
he Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.’ And so that place is called Gilgal to this day. –Joshua 5:9
The story before this verse is straightforward. God saved the Israelites from the Egyptians but once in the desert they stopped following the ways of God as illustrated in circumcision. All the males who fled Egypt were circumcised but the practice was discontinued in the desert. Two generations passed, 40 years, before they were ready to enter the promised land. All the people who fled Egypt were dead and all the males left were uncircumcised. Thus, when God opened the River Jordan for the Israelites to pass into the promised land Joshua reinstated the covenantal act of circumcised re-establishing their relationship with God.
I must confess I am guilty of changing my daily routines when I travel. Doing yoga every day is essential for my arthritic body to move well but I never seem to find time to do it on the road. I apparently think sugary foods that I would never eat at home are necessary on a trip. I also act differently when my electricity is off for some reason. There is not much one could do without electricity. I have never taken a 40-year trip, nor have I experienced loss of electricity for more than a week. It appears though that the Israelites adapted to a permanent state of disruption throughout their journey until one or two generations had passed away. The interesting thing to me is not that they drifted away from who they were meant to be. Some apparently kept the faith, held on to the knowledge of God until the time was ripe for the whole people to reconnect with God.
Throughout the history of God, a small fragment of people of faith have carried forward the ways of God. God loves us and wants us to be one in a kingdom ruled by love. God is dedicated to making that so. We should be too.
Renew your church, our ministries restore:
both to serve and adore.
Make us again as salt throughout the land,
and as light from a stand.
‘Mid somber shadows of the night,
where greed and hatreds spread their blight,
O send us forth with power endued,
help us, Lord, be renewed*. [Amen]
*First verse of Renew the Church by Kenneth Lorne Cober see at https://hymnary.org/text/renew_thy_church_her_ministries_restore
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.