9: “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.’” – The Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, had just entered into the Promise Land and a new covenant with God had been established through the circumcision of all the young males. A yoke was lifted and forty years of wandering had ended.
10: “While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the Passover in the evening of the fourteenth day…” – This was the first celebration meal they had experienced in 39 years. It served as a reminder of what all had transpired since their days of slavery.
12: “The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.” – A normal life returns to the Israelites, a life filled with the bounty by producing food from their own land.
Points to Contemplate:
Have you been in the wilderness?
Are you still there? Are there times that no matter what you do, you feel lost? Are your prayers seemingly going unanswered? Are there times when you experience “a dryness” in your relationship with God – a void or emptiness that leaves you desperately searching for fulfillment? The Israelites wandered for forty years but not without purpose and they were not abandoned by God. In your wilderness experience, can you still see that God is providing for your basic needs? Can you still see His guiding smoke or inspiring fires? Are you willing to accept that God has a purpose for this experience? Knowing this, are you able to move forward, sustained in God’s love, and learn the lessons God has in store for you to learn?
What disgrace are you carrying with you? Is there some aspect of your past that is keeping you from entering into the Promise Land that God is offering? Are the burdens of poor decisions and reckless abandonment weighing you down? Are you feeling guilty? Filled with remorse? Is it time to set those burdens down and begin a new life with Christ? Are you willing to allow Him to “roll away from you your disgrace?” Can you finally accept His love, mercy, and grace and begin experiencing the fruits of His bounty?
Do you celebrate in God’s love? Do you have special occasions of celebration that mark the memory of “God-moments” in your life? Do you see the importance of remembering where you have been and how far God has taken you? Do you share your wilderness stories with others? Do you rejoice in God’s faithful care?
Promises of the Gospel:
Life in the wilderness can be hard. When we look around, all we see is vast emptiness. There is no end in sight. There are no paths to follow. We feel we are wandering without purpose. But there is a purpose and we are not alone. Just as God never abandoned the Israelites, He also will never leave us to drown in our own wilderness experiences. God’s purpose is to teach and to draw us ever closer to Him. We may feel that our prayers are going unanswered and that He has abandoned us but when we look back, when we emerge and find ourselves at the edge of the Promised Land, we will find that He has been guiding us every step of the way. When we give ourselves over to His grace and allow Him to roll away the burdens we carry, we begin to experience the fullness of His love.