rolling back reproach

Masaccio, “The Expulsion from Eden”

Fourth Sunday in Lent
Joshua 5:9-12

I don’t recall ever hearing a sermon entitled, “The Hill of Foreskins,” but this in fact the meaning of Gibeath Haaraloth, the place where Joshua circumcised the second generation of Israel. The image is a powerful one: just as circumcision involves the removal of a very significant portion of the male anatomy, so forgiveness involves a rolling back of a very significant part of the human condition – sin.

So serious was Israel’s grumbling and rebellion against God in the desert that not one male of the generation to have left Egypt was allowed to continue forward. Only now, with that first generation gone, could the second generation be re-consecrated, and begin to move once again toward the promised land.

Yet despite the serious consequences of sin, there is hope in this account. God does not want his people to perish in the desert. He is ready to roll back our reproach if we will only reconsecrate ourselves to him.

The good news for us is that on this side of the cross, we don’t have to wait for our children to continue the journey in the face of our own failure. Take a quiet moment for personal inventory. What sin of reproach do you need rolled back? Give your body, mind, and soul wholly to God’s purpose today, because the promised land awaits you, even today.

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