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In Case You Missed It -- Joshua 3-5:12, Psalm 122

Echoes of Israel’s Exodus abound in today’s reading from Joshua. The parting of the Jordan River recalls God taking Israel through the Red Sea. Joshua and the people of Israel commemorate Passover. Finally, God tells Joshua to call the place of Israel’s circumcision “Gilgal” (this word sounds like “rolled” in Hebrew) because God has “rolled away” Egypt’s reproach (Joshua 5:9). God makes a point effectively; at the Exodus, God takes Israel out of Egypt, but this mass circumcision reflects God’s desire to take Egypt’s ways out of Israel. For too long, Israel has practiced the idolatry and rejection of God prevalent in the practices of their former slave masters. As Israel moves into the land of promise, God yearns for them to live as the unique people He envisions. Today’s reading is a sort of second Exodus where Israel receives land instead of law. But the biggest question lingers: “Has Israel thrown off the evil practices of Egypt?” The answer to that will shortly become clear.

Jeremiah Vaught