When we left the Israelites, they had just witnessed the mighty hand of God as He had held back the Jordon River for them to cross over on dry ground. But even more than that, it had placed Joshua in highest regard in the eyes of the people, just as they had thought of Moses. Joshua was the nation’s leader now. This fulfilled God’s promise in Joshua 3:7: “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”
God was also working in the lives of the kings of the Amorites and all the kings of the Canaanites. When they heard the report that the LORD had dried up the Jordan River to allow the children of Israel to pass over, they began to fear Israel and lost their will to fight. God had also promised this would happen in Joshua 4:23. God is always true to His promises!!
But preparation had to be made before this new generation of Israel would be ready for battle. As a sign and seal of the covenant between God and Abraham; God had commanded that every male child who was eight days old, was to be circumcised for all generations. (Genesis 17:9-14) Since they had spent 40 years in the wilderness, this symbolic physical act making them God’s people, had not been observed. But. this was what separated Israel from other nations. This was stepping out in faith and obedience and declaring we are the LORD’s people! It was a new generation that was willing to fight for their God. They trusted God so much that they were willing to become vulnerable while they were healing; for they were camped right before Jericho, a mighty military city for the Canaanites.
It was during this healing time that they actually observed the Passover Festival. “And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.” Joshua 5:11-12
Now this place called Gilgal became a camp for Israel in their conquest of Canaan. They returned there after battle and it was here they were strengthen in remembering all that had happened there: the memorial of the stones from the river bed where the Ark of the Covenant had stood; their obedience in their circumcision, and their redemption.
It is good to have a place like Gilgal in our life. A place where our hearts were circumcised and we became His by accepting the blood of Jesus on the cross and felt the power of the Holy Spirit! Take time to remember your Gilgal!!