After 40 years of wandering Israel finally crossed over the Jordan River and stepped foot into their “Promised Land”. The first thing that God told them to do at that point was to circumcise all of the men. This assignment was one that required a step of faith for Joshua and the entire community. They were in enemy territory, by performing this act they would make themselves defenseless. I am sure the assignment was also met with some questions, how would this benefit them in battle, what good was it going to do, what was the purpose? While we can assume what human nature must have stirred up in their minds, all we have record of is obedience. Joshua led the entire nation in obedience to God’s assignment and together they trusted Him to protect them, to lead them and ultimately to provide victory for them.
After the circumcision God revealed the purpose of the assignment, “Today I have rolled away the reproach (shame, disgrace) of Egypt from you.” They had left Egypt more than 40 years earlier, but they still carried the shame of being slaves, the shame of all the ways they were mistreated, abused and overlooked. There are times in our lives when we are delivered from situations but continue to carry the residue, the scars, hurt or shame that the situations caused. Isaiah 53:4 tells us :Surely, he took up our infirmities (both mental and physical) and carried our sorrows”. When Jesus died it was for our sins but it was also for our sorrows. He died to remove sin’s curse but also it’s damage. God’s desire for Israel was the same as it is for you and, that we not only be removed from our past, but that the shame and hurt of the past be removed from us as well.
The difficult part for many of us is that the removal of shame often requires a great step of faith. The Israelites had to trust God enough to make themselves completely vulnerable in enemy territory and obey His assignment. Maybe God has been asking something of you that you feel is just too much. You can’t see how it will benefit or even what it has to do with your calling or the fulfillment of promises in your life. It could be that your obedience in this assignment is what God desires to use to remove the residue of your past. Yes you are already free for the activity, the behavior or the mindset, but God wants you to also be free from the guilt, the shame and the hearache that the past has caused. I encourage you today, obey God, trust Him and step out in faith; today might just be the day in which your shame and hurt are rolled away.