Scripture Reading: Joshua 5:9-12
The 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 scripture preceding this pronouncement describes that while in slavery in Egypt, the Israelites continued the practice of circumcision. During the forty years wandering in the wilderness the practice had been stopped. It does not say why. Perhaps it was deemed a health risks under such difficult situations or the Israelites had grown disillusioned with the sacred. Caring for an infant was, I am sure, a great challenge under such circumstances. Not performing the ritual act might have saved the extra efforts of care required.
Crossing into the promise land, finally reaching their destination and winning their right to claim it, Joshua reinstituted the rite. The response from God was powerful, God erased the disgrace of living in slavery.
Slavery has reared its evil head in recent years in our own country with sex trafficking. Young people are stolen and sold to wealthy buyers for their personal amusement. As a result, programs have been developed to help those being recovered to begin their lives over again. We have experienced once again the challenge of returning slave victims to wholeness. They too want to leave behind their shame from living a life for which they were not responsible.
As we work for justice for the victims of sex trafficking, we would do well to remember this proclamation of God to the Israelites for those who have been forced into slavery now are in great need of this same loving mercy that only God can provide.
Prayer: Lord, we place before you today those whose lives have been forever altered by forced slavery. We asked you to bless them and to renew their souls through your love. Bless us all in our work to put an end to this terrible practice. Amen.
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 American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.