Has your wilderness worn you out?
Serving God is a beautiful and awe-inspiring experience, but it also can feel like a roller-coaster. You see the fruit of your labor in others at the top. You plunge to the down as you grow impatient waiting on your own promised land. Sometimes, it can make you want to scream.
Have you ever heard someone say, "The closer you get to what God has for you, the more challenging the journey will be?" I believe it. I believe we encounter unexpected, unanticipated trials about which we can only say there must be an unconventional, unexpected, unanticipated blessing on the other side. But when the test starts to feel like torture, we can start to lose our desire to see things through to the end. We start asking questions like...
Why would God put me in a position that will cause me more pain?
Why is He keeping me in a place He knows I don't want to be?
For forty years, the children of Israel roamed the desert, and now, at the brink of deliverance, God is requiring one more thing... circumcision.
At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. ~Joshua 5:2-3 (New International Version)
But why? Here are 3 reasons God will put us in a position we don't want to be in.
#1 - To receive the Promise, all doubt must die.
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. ~Joshua 5:6
As much as we say we want that thing God has for us, it can still be hard to believe it will come true. Pieces of Egypt still lingered with Israel, causing them to them to follow their fear rather than His favor.
Doubt has no destination, but you do. What God has for you really is for you. Give yourself a clean slate. Allow God to cut away that piece of you that diminishes His divine will for your life.
#2 - What remains must still be tested.
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. ~Joshua 5:7
Moses is dead. The ones who did not believe are gone. Those born in the wilderness are all that remain. It was time for this generation to be what God told Joshua at the beginning of his leadership - "strong and courageous". Circumcision was how they would demonstrate their own commitment to God.
How is God requiring you to show your commitment?
We cannot enter promise on the faith of grandmothers and church pastors. God needs to know that nothing will shake our faith. Commit yourself fully to the Lord. The reward for your obedience will far outweigh the pain of your sacrifice.
#3 - When we do what He asks, we can trust Him to take special care of us.
“Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.”
Remember when God told Joshua to make flint knives? Because of the hardness of the stone, flint provides a cleaner and less painful cut. Also, flints are smoother, so the possibility of infection from the knife is decreased.
His cuts may hurt, but they will not harm.
And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed. 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
By getting rid of the stigma and disgrace of Egypt, the Israelites were now open to receive the physical and emotional healing they needed. What if God is using this struggle to slow you down and heal you? He is ready and willing to take care of you. Never deny your Heavenly Father an opportunity to come and see about His child.
Now, God knew they were ready. The promise was here.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. ~Joshua 6:2
The circumcision was pivotal to Joshua gaining holy access and receiving instructions on how to defeat the magnificent city of Jericho.
Isn't it time to get your all-access pass to His promise? Well, first, your doubt must die. You must be tested, and you have to trust. When God sees you're ready, get ready to be overwhelmed.