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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

2018.10.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 5:1-12

Questions for Littles: What did the kings of the Amorites and the kings of the lowland Canaanites hear that Yahweh had done (v1)? For whom? What happened to their hearts as a result? What did they not have in them any longer? What did Yahweh tell Israel to do “at that time” (v2)? What did Joshua do (v3)? What did that place end up being called? What happened to the war-aged males who came out of Egypt (v4)? Who had been circumcised (v5)? Who had not been? How long had Israel walked in the wilderness (v6)? What had happened during that time? Why? But what does Joshua do with their sons (v7)? What did they do when they had finished circumcising all the people (v8)? For how long? What did God declare that He had done (v9)? What did they call the place? What did Israel do there (v10)? From what did they eat the day after the Passover (v11)? What kind of food was there? What ceased the day after they had eaten (v12)? What did they have instead?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we are astonished by grace.

It’s not really proper to say that those who were circumcised were orphans. The Lord had exercised great grace toward them by prolonging the lives of their parents. Though they deserved immediate execution, the Lord allowed them to fall slowly in the wilderness.

However, they were something worse than orphans. They were spiritual orphans. The Lord famously pronounces judgment upon them as having rebellious hearts (Ps 95) and hard hearts (Heb 3-4). And that hardness of heart is seen in more than just their one-time buying into the report of the spies. Their whole lives long, they had not circumcised their children.

They had not submitted themselves as belonging to the Lord. They had not submitted their children as belonging to the Lord. They had not obeyed God’s covenant command for God’s covenant sign. The Lord had almost killed Moses for disobeying this command (cf. Ex 4:21-26)! They had not recognized the sin of their hearts, and that they needed God to cut away their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh and remove from them their guilt by the shedding of blood.

Now, here is something sobering. How would we look by the same measure? Especially when so much of the church commits the error of viewing baptism as a testimony that we make about God and how we have believed in Him, rather than a testimony that God makes about us and how He has saved us.

But aren’t those of us who understand the sign better even more culpable? Are we living as those whom God has set aside as holy unto Himself? Are we treating His covenant children in our homes as His own—spending all day, every day, training them up in trusting and loving and obeying and serving their Lord? Is it possible that there is so little thought of Him and His Word that our children are spiritual orphans of physically living parents?

But here’s the sweetness of our passage: the Lord is gathering these spiritual orphans to Himself. He has melted the hearts of their enemies, whereas their earthly parents’ hearts had melted before their enemies. And now He gathers them to Himself and circumcises them, whereas their earthly parents had neglected to do so. Finally, He feeds them something much greater than manna. Manna was a stop-gap measure until they ate the blessed fruit of kept promises in the promised land!

Whether for ourselves or for our children: the solution to our unfaithfulness is our faithful God!
How does your life show submission to God’s signs? What is your hope—your faithfulness or His?
Suggested songs: ARP78B “O Come, My People” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

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