The Reason Why God Commanded Circumcision and Passover (Joshua 5:1-15) January 23, 2011
Right before conquering the greatest city of all Canaan after crossing the Jordan River, God commanded all Israelites to circumcise and celebrate the Passover. Why? We will look at the conclusion first. First, it appears in verse 11. After performing circumcision and celebrating the Passover, the manna (everyday food – what God gave only as needed) that the Israelites ate for a long time in the desert stopped and they started eating ate some of the produce of the land. For the first time they were able to enjoy answers and blessings just as much as they toiled in their land (their inheritance – their field). I hope this blessing may begin for you this year. A lot of people cannot enjoy this blessing. The time in which you survive day by day with the manna is now ending. Second, it appears in verses 13-15. You must start fighting for that answer to begin (battle of the Jericho – fight against yourself, world, and the spiritual forces). But you will not be fighting alone. After the Israelites performed circumcision and celebrated the Passover, God sent them someone: commander of the army of the LORD. It tells us that the LORD Himself fights for us and sends His army (heavenly army of angels) realistically. The LORD must fight Himself for you in yourself, your work (studies or business), your family and church. Something always comes after a fight; you take the land and its possessions as trophies. It means you will conquer the field you are in. Along with God’s great gift, answer ans blessings will come upon your field (Eph.4:8, “When He ascended on high, He took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” I bless and hope that all of you may realistically experience important gifts and blessings that come to you, your business, workplace, studies, church, and region. Then what do circumcision and the Passover mean? The circumcision is “the covenant of blessings for you, your family, and your descendants” and the Passover is “the covenant of blessings for your church and those from all over the world who became your family within the Gospel”.
1. Circumcision: Hold firmly to God’s covenant for you, your family and your descendants.
1) God commanded circumcision for the first time in Gen.17 to Abraham. He promised him three important blessings and future.
a. God says in Gen.17:2, “I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” It is the covenant for you as an individual.
b. God says in Gen.17:4, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.” God will bless you as someone who will save the world. I hope you may receive blessings to the extent you save and help others within the boundaries of your role in the church, your work, and any other positions you may have.
c. God says in Gen.17:7-8, “I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you; and the whole land of Canaan I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you.” It is not just the blessings you will receive. From generation to generation God will make you and your descendants enjoy the blessings of conquering the land (covenant of Remnant).
2) Do not lose hold of the fact that you received this covenant of blessings the moment you were saved by the blood of Jesus. That is why God told the Israelites to leave a stigma of blood (circumcision) onto their bodies so that they would never forget this covenant.
a. Curses in your life, fate, spiritual problems and inheritance have been finished by the blood of Christ. It says in Ro.8:1-2, “The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” It also says in Jn.3:8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” That is why it is okay no matter what problems may come. Do not deceived by similar problems either. Do not fall into deception by fear or disbelief (What is being deceived? It is falling into discouragement, despair, complaints, and trials.).
b. “It is finished.” “No problem is a problem.” (Jesus proclaimed on the cross in Jn.19:30) This Gospel must settle in your thoughts and all the way to your unconsciousness and eventually become your nature. It can heal your diseases one day. The day you restore faith in the Gospel, the forces of Darkness that worked upon your family, business, and your children will be finished. That is when poverty flees and you and your family receive blessings like Gaius who saved his church and everyone around him (Ro.16:23). I truly hope that important answers and blessings may begin for you, your family, and your descendants this year.
2. Passover: Hold firmly to God’s covenant for your church and your brothers and sisters of the Gospel from all over the world.
1) Passover began in Ex.12. When the Israelites who were enslaved for 400 years put the blood of the lamb on their doorframes, they were no longer slaves. They became a people who conquer the land of Canaan.
a. This is the covenant God gives to all churches today. How we, who are weak and lacking, rise to save the world is the church. As it is revealed in Rev.12:17, corrupt spirits try to destroy the church like that, but they cannot win over us. Sometimes they attack the church with persecution and poverty to make it lose strength and fall into discouragement. On the other hand they expand the church to secularize and corrupt it.
b. However, what is the first promise God gave to a church that really knows who Christ is and holds on to Him (Mt.16:16-19)? “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” When all church members hold onto the covenant of Christ and look upon Him, God Himself will hold onto the church and make it victorious.
2) Putting the blood of the lamb was not the only thing the Israelites did during Passover. There was something else they did at home. They shared three foods. Similarly, we have fellowship after the service. When we have communion and fellowship with food, we must hold onto three things (This is why we have to continue in spite of how hard it is. Once the church gets bigger this cannot go on. The Early Church was able to do it because they did not have any mega churches – Ac.2:42).
a. They ate lambs together. This is how God let the Israelites confirm they are one body within Christ.
b. They ate unleavened bread – bread without yeast. Bread in the Bible symbolized the Word. In the Bible, unleavened bread was always there in the temple. If church members do not hold onto the Word sincerely but with no inflating it, it is not a true church. When sincere Word forum does not take place, false words that have been inflated by people will wander around. Would that kind of church have any strength?
c. They ate bitter herbs. God wants us to constantly think about the passion of the Christ. You cannot only seek after sweet things when you serve the church of the Lord. Sometimes you have to bear the bitterness and devote for the church. There are many times your deeds go unnoticed and sometimes misunderstood and backfire at you. But when there are many people like that, the church is strengthened and revived. God will not let your devotions be in vain and He will remember every single thing you did for the church (Mt.6:1-4, Mt.25:40, 1Co.15:58).
3) We must do whatever it takes to achieve oneness among all church members within Christ. When we were saved, we became one body, one family, and one people in Christ who will enjoy the eternal inheritance. Pray to be used for achieving oneness. It says in Mt.5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” How can you make your family one? You find things to give thanks for and find things you can do to put into practice. This is what successful people do.
This year, we are striding forward with important blessings and answers ahead of us. We must renew everything. I bless and hope that new works and victory may begin for you, your family, and our church as we hold onto the covenant of circumcision and the Passover.