In Joshua chapter 5 we hear the Lord telling Joshua to make some flint knives. Yes, flint knives (Joshua 5:2 NKJV). They are being commanded to circumcise this newer generation of Israelites. This is really interesting because at this point, Moses is dead, Joshua has been officially named their new leader, and they are just outside of the promised land—as close as they have ever been to receiving what God promised their forefathers. They are right there y’all—just about to lift up that foot to take that long-awaited step forward into that land “flowing with milk and honey” and here comes God, talking about, “oh…wait, one more thing before you enter: circumcise these fellas, would ya?”
Mind you, their being as close as they have ever been to the promised land also means they are as close as they have ever been to their enemies—the current inhabitants of this land! To have the men undergo circumcision at this point in time, in this place, makes them really vulnerable. For God to have them make flint knives for circumcision rather than bows and arrows for battle was counter intuitive.
Not to mention, defending oneself in a battle is probably not what you’re up for immediately following a circumcision. (I’m just saying.) This means their vulnerability was not just an overnight situation. Verse 8 says that “when they had finished circumcising all the people, . . . they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.”
This required faith! They had to trust and believe by faith that God would keep their enemies at bay until they were healed and able to defend themselves.
And that is exactly what happened. God took care of them!
Yes, just as I was getting nervous for these aching Israelites, the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you” (Joshua 5:9).
Have you ever been at a place where God’s timing didn’t seem quite right? You were like, “really, God? You want me to stop here? Now? With this on my plate? But why, though? Can’t this wait?”
Perhaps this calling to “make flint knives” before you head on to His promises did not come audibly or clearly through the voice of some great Old Testament leader. Maybe it was through a persistent gentle nudge felt within to go ahead and schedule the surgery. Or is He using a recurring theme you notice popping up throughout the day to say “apply”? I bet He took a passage of scripture like Joshua chapter 5 and encouraged you to sit back down and make your case at another time. He can use a closed door, an opened window, or even the counsel of a trusted friend as He gets us to our promise in HIS timing and through HIS steps.
He saw you. You were right there—just about to lift up that foot to take that long-awaited step forward into what you knew was for you. Then He came along and said “oh…wait, one more thing before you enter . . .”
However it is that God chooses to relay this message to you, know that He is not being a hater—trying to keep you from something He’s promised. He’s not stalling. Nor is He calling you to embrace the art of bladesmithing. It’s much deeper than that. He is reestablishing His covenant with you. That’s what the knife making and circumcising was and is about. He wants to remind us to be dedicated to Him as we enter any new phase in life. He also uses such times to offer us a chance to remember that the one who calls us to obedience will protect us as we obey. No matter how hard, weird, or untimely it may be, as you prepare to enter, trust Him. Remain faithful. Remain dedicated.