Monday after the Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Joshua 5:1—6:5 (NKJV)
5:1 So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel. 2 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. 4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt. 5 For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. 6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD—to whom the LORD swore that He would not show them the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”
7 Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.
9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day. 10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. 11 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. 12 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.
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15 Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.
6:1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
It must have been a great comfort to Joshua, to whom God had given the responsibility of leading His people into the Promised Land, to meet the Commander of the Lord’s army face to face. When the pre-incarnate Christ said to him, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy,” Joshua must have been reminded of Moses’ encounter with the same pre-incarnate Christ at the Burning Bush. Moses was certainly guided to do his mission, and now Joshua has this same promise that he will be guided to lead Israel to victory in the Promised Land.
Joshua was given the reassurance to “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:9).
In Dr. Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” Luther writes:
A mighty fortress is our God,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need
That hath us now o’er-taken.
We have received the same promise Joshua did. Indeed, each time we hear the Word of God, each time we confess our sins and hear the words, “I forgive you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” each time we receive the Body and Blood of our Savior in the Holy Supper, we are the recipients of that same promise. We are forgiven. We hear and see our Risen Lord Jesus Christ say to us, “I am with you. Sin, death and the devil cannot overpower you.” Indeed, the Kingdom ours remaineth, now and forever. Amen.