Lent Devotion for March 20
"The Next Generation"
Reader: “On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho,…"
Response: “…the Israelites celebrated the Passover."
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 5:1–12
1 Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.
2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.”3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.
4 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt—all the men of military age—died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not.6 The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.
9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.
10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.
Reader: "The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
In the reading today of chapters five through eight, it was hard to decide which part to highlight. The story of Achan was a powerful lesson for the nation regarding obedience. We’re looking at the first verses of chapter five because of the long-term significance of Joshua’s obedience and the obedience of the people. There is the very clear, logical, and insightful explanation of what happened and some of the “why” for the forty years in the wilderness. Something I had not thought of before: those who were under twenty when they left Egypt, needed to grow to manhood if Israel was to have an army when entering the land. It was very clear that those over twenty were all going to die in the desert. The Scriptures record (Num.9:1-5) that the Israelites celebrated the Passover with Moses and Aaron one year after the exodus, at the proper time. There is no record that it was observed any other time during the forty years in the wilderness until this time in Canaan. Except for Joshua and Caleb, none of the other Israelites had ever celebrated the Passover. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which immediately followed Passover, was also celebrated with the grain from Canaan, the fruit of the land to which God had led them! Manna from heaven immediately stopped after appearing every day for forty years! God’s promise was fulfilled! One other most significant thing is recorded in this passage. God’s mark of His covenant with His people was circumcision. None of the boys born in the desert had been circumcised. The circumcision served as a renewal of God’s personal covenant with His people, these people. It also served to remind this second generation of their parents’ failure to honor God and trust Him. Now their own covenant relationship with God was up to them. Every generation is responsible for its own relationship with God. Parents serve as a model for good or for ill.
"Joshua fit de Battle of Jericho” arrangement by Moses Hogan (Watch on YouTube)
Moses Hogan talks about how he wrote the piece and gives insight into the “battle” within the piece. Nathaniel Dett Choral is outstanding! Tragically, Moses Hogan died a few years ago of a brain tumor, a huge loss to sacred choral music. One of the nicest most humble men you would ever meet.
Dear Father, take this day’s life into Thine own keeping. Control all my thoughts and feelings. Direct all my energies. Instruct my mind. Sustain my will. Take my hands and make them skillful to serve Thee. Take my feet and make them swift to do Thy bidding. Take my eyes and keep them fixed upon Thine everlasting beauty. Take my mouth and make it eloquent in testimony to Thy love. Make this day a day of obedience, a day of spiritual joy and peace. Make this day’s work a little part of the work of the Kingdom of my Lord Christ, in whose name these my prayers are said. Amen.
- John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer, p.41