Rolled Away

They were in. Having once walked through the Red Sea on dry ground as they left the bondage of Egypt, they now had just walked through the flooded Jordan on dry ground as they entered the promised land. They were in.

For forty years they were the butt of jokes back in Egypt every time some worn traveler to Egypt reported they were still nomads. For forty years they were scorned. The memory of the power that had been shown at their deliverance faded “back home” the longer the promise was unrealized. Some god, the Egyptians taunted among themselves, leading them from a land abundant with “fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic” (Num. 11:5) for a land supposedly flowing with milk and honey only to let them languish in a wilderness eating whatever showed up on the ground in the morning. Some deliverance. Big deal!

But now, they were in.

As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel. At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” . . .

When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.

(Joshua 5:1-2, 8-9 ESV)

The generation that had been born in the desert were now formally set apart for covenant with the living God. For they were now in the land of promise and were about to appropriate the promise of the land. The manna had ceased as the desert was in their rearview mirror. They were now eating of the fruit of the land flowing with milk and honey (Josh. 5:11-12). Tasting and, in fact, seeing that the Lord is good. The wandering over, now the journey was going to get really interesting!

God had rolled away the reproach. The tongues of mockers stopped. Though the armchair quarterbacks of Egypt thought it folly for Israel to roam about for decades, to not return to the certain “nourishment” of their former bondage, the people of God now stood on the doorsill of experiencing the next level of the promise-fulfilling power of God.

As another of my morning readings put it, though the world they left behind had considered their deliverance foolishness, it had actually been the wisdom of God.

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

(1Corinthians 1:27-29 ESV)

They were in. The reproach rolled away.

Rolled away. Hit me as a not too familiar expression in the Scriptures. Yet was reminded that it is also not a unique expression.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

(Luke 24:1-3 ESV)

The stone removed. The finished work of the cross validated by the empty tomb. The scorn silenced. The mocking but a memory. The reproach rolled away.

They were in. Now the journey was going to get really interesting!

By His grace. For His glory.

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