Daily devotional

July 21 – First things first

“At that time the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.’” – Joshua 5:2

Scripture reading: Joshua 5:1-9

If the people of Jericho could have seen what was going on in the Israelite camp, they would have been utterly confused. Because at that time the LORD said to Joshua, Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time. Why in the world would the LORD give that command at that time and place? The Holy Spirit says that for some reason, after the fiasco at Kadesh Barnea, when the people refused to enter the Promised Land, they stopped circumcising their sons. That was the fathers’ responsibility, but they had not done their duty.

In verses 5-7, the Holy Spirit keeps talking about the old generation that had come out of Egypt. They were all circumcised. But it seems like God wants to convey the idea that the people who were camped there on the plains of Jericho were a new generation, or even, a new Israel, that God raised up in place of the generation that had come out of Egypt.

Circumcision was a seal of the covenant and of the righteousness of faith. Israel had been changed, had been reborn, and had entered the promised land. As they began their new life, God commanded them to circumcise their sons, as a confirmation of His promises, of their identity as His holy people, and of their commitment to live in covenant fellowship with Him. In baptism, God still calls you as His holy people, to live in fellowship with Him by faith in His promises.

Suggestions for prayer

As you gather with God’s people to worship Him today, ask God to help you believe and to remember and live every day according to the holy identity that He has given you in Christ, that He signified and sealed to you in your baptism.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario.


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