Our reading starts with a bit of a glimpse of what is happening in the area to those hearing about God’s mighty act involving the Jordan River crossing. That fear will have a bit of time to percolate and resonate in their hearts. We might think of the old saying, “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” The anticipation of attack must have been quite something. Would they let fear move them forward or keep them stuck. We can find ourselves dealing with fear in much the same way.
But the main focus of our reading today focuses on re-establishing the covenant between God and his people. We learn that nobody has been circumcised since leaving Egypt. We know from Genesis 17:12, “From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased.” For some reason, this was God’s desire for his people.
It follows then that to re-establish the Israelite people fully as God’s chosen ones, they needed to be circumcised. This would surely set them apart from all of the people they would soon encounter in the Promised Land. It was an act of obedience. It surely was not a pleasant ritual. I’ve learned from a little research that on the 8th day of a child’s life, the vitamin and nutrient level in their little bodies is perfect for such a procedure to be safe for the child. I can imagine the older an individual is, the more painful and risky this can be.
Rather than question why God required this in the first place, I will accept this as one of those things I don’t quite understand. Perhaps one day it will all be clear to me. For now, I’m accepting it as another expectation God had for his people. For them to proceed according to this plan shows me their obedience was great.
Do you ever feel like God has asked you to do something unreasonable? There is always a reason, even if we don’t understand what it is. I take solace in knowing that if God brings me to it, he’ll bring me through it. Isaiah 58:11 says it like this. “The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” To me, that verse is very reassuring.
Take some time today to focus on how you can act more obediently. Is there some behavior you can stop to enable you to focus more on God?
Let’s pray … Lord, I need your help to focus more on you and not question why things happen the way they do. There is so much going on in the world right now. I sense some big shifts are on the horizon. They will come as no surprise to you. Give me the wisdom to know if these changes are endorsed by you. I want to be obedient to you and your will alone. Protect my mind from evil and negativity. May I be a light for you shining in the darkness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.