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In God's team

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.” So that place has been called Gilgal to this day. While the Israelites were camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month. The very next day they began to eat unleavened bread and roasted grain harvested from the land. No manna appeared on the day they first ate from the crops of the land, and it was never seen again. So from that time on the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan. Joshua 5:9-12 NLT

The author of the Book of Joshua indicated the different responses to the crossing of Jordan River. The Israelites were strengthened in their resolve to follow God and their trust in Him. The kings and the common people in the land of Canaan trembled when they heard how God helped the Israelites. The kings knew how formidable the Israelites when they faced their armies in a battle. “When all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings who lived along the Mediterranean coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan River so the people of Israel could cross, they lost heart and were paralyzed with fear because of them” (Joshua 5:1). As expressed previously, the purpose of God’s miracle was fulfilled. “He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever” (Joshua 4:24). The Israelites started to enjoy the blessings of being in Canaan. They ate the fruits of the land and enjoyed the livestock. But in their celebration, they were reminded to reestablish their covenant with God. They also celebrated the Passover. This is the only third celebration that took place in Gilgal. When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness for forty years, they did not celebrate the Passover for they failed to trust God and they wavered in their commitment to enter the Promise Land. With this new generation of Israelites, they have to be reminded of their commitment to the covenant as well as the freedom they received from God, thus the celebration of the Passover. Because they will be surrounded by pagan people and will be susceptible to temptations by getting along with the false practices of the people in Canaan, God had to remind them of their covenant with Him and the freedom they received because they were led out from bondage. This should also be true to every person who claims to be the children of God. Our identification with Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection and because we have received Him as Lord and Savior, we too should be aware that our lives belong to Him and that we must submit to His will.


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