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Joshua 5:8-9, Matthew 7:24-26

( [email protected] ) Jul 14, 2006 04:14 PM EDT

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. (Joshua 5:8-9 NIV)

Upon crossing the Jordan, Joshua was commanded to circumcise all the males. All those who crossed the Jordan had been born on the way, during the wanderings in the wilderness. For some reason, they waited until they arrived in the Promised Land to be circumcised.

This was a great act of faith. They are in the enemies¡¯ territory, and the pain makes them unable to fight. There are 40,000 armed men laying helpless until they heal. Their history included the account of when they had slaughtered a village that was unable to fight because of circumcision. But that was God¡¯s order, and by faith, they obeyed and trusted God to protect them. I think the Lord does the same with us, asking us to make ourselves vulnerable to our enemies, and yet trust Him to keep us safe.

All through this wilderness wandering we had heard the whine about how good they had it in Egypt. There were numerous plans to return. Once they even had a vote to elect someone to guide them back. God had taken them from Egypt but could not get Egypt out of them. They needed to cooperate and would not. Now that that generation has died and the new generation is circumcised to God, the reproach of Egypt is finally gone. Egypt is out of them. Is the world out of you? Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew word for ¡®roll¡¯. Let God roll Egypt out of your life so that all your desire is toward Him.

Consider: God may take you into precarious situations to teach you to trust Him.

Evening

24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (Matthew 7:24-26 NIV)

Jesus ended the Sermon on the Mount with this defining simile. If you hear His sayings, not just with your ears, but deep in your heart, and take action to live by what you have heard, then you will be like a wise man who built his house on a rock. If you have been reading the previous evening devotions, you have seen that the Sermon on the Mount corrected the common thought patterns of man. It pointed to reality and away from man¡¯s erroneous assumptions. It shifts your perspective from the earth to heaven, and that transforms the way you act on the earth.

In this simile, the house you are building is your life. The foundation of your life is either the rock solid truth of the reality of kingdom thinking, or the shifty sand of the world¡¯s temporal and clouded perspectives. Jesus is making it clear that He is not just entertaining them with a demonstration of wisdom. He is giving them truths to build their life on. Upon what is your life built? What is its foundation?

Storms are going to come. Storms are a part of every life. Even the most guarded life faces death in the end. Most lives are filled with storms. This is really a blessing in disguise, for storms help us examine what foundation we have built upon. If our house comes crashing down, we know it has been built on sand. If somehow it amazingly stands through it all, we realize that we have built it upon the rock, the eternal truths of the kingdom. How did you do in your last storm? Is your footing on the unshakeable rock of Jesus¡¯ words? The psalmist wrote, ¡°I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.¡± Psalm 16:8 (NIV) Have His truths become your foundation? If not, what will you do about it?

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