At that time the LORD said to Joshua, Make you sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.…
I. ATTENTION TO THE SPECIAL SERVICES WHICH WE OWE TO GOD OUGHT TO STAND BEFORE ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS. What is religion? The question seems a simple one; but, indeed, it is one the true answer to which involves a great deal. The term is a most comprehensive one, including all that men should believe and all that men should do. A religious person is one whose heart has been imbued with Christian truth, and whose affection has laid hold on God as revealed in the Scriptures with a firm grasp; a person whose life, regulated increasingly by such principles, manifests more and more of the beauty of holiness. In religion, then, we come to deal with the doctrine and the practice of the Bible. It tells of what may alarm, and what may soothe. It shows a reality of wretchedness, want, guilt and death in which men are by nature; and a reality of joy, perfection, righteousness and life in which they may be by grace. It appeals to men as immortal beings, urges on them the consideration of their immortal interests, and in the words of Him, around whom all true religion circles and to whom it is intended to lead, charges all thus: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." I would ask you, seriously, should not this matter have our first and most solemn consideration? Is there any matter which ought to engage us before this?
II. WE MAY REPOSE IMPLICIT CONFIDENCE IN GOD WHILE WALKING IN HIS WAYS AND AIMING AT HIS GLORY. Men are never losers by religion. The man who can style himself servant of Christ has a Master whose service is the guarantee for every possible good. Affairs and matters come to be so differently weighed and estimated, when heavenly wisdom is granted for the test, that it is no wonder to find men reckoning gains and losses, probabilities and duties, by a standard the reverse of that which they formerly used. What if we had accosted the leader of the hosts of Israel when he promulgated the order for observing circumcision and the Passover at Gilgal? Suppose that we had said, Strike your decisive blow; push on at once; select your picked men, and leave the rest to fortify your position, and to take care of the women and children; go straight up to Jericho. Your rite of circumcision Will render you defenceless, your paschal feast is hardly fitted to such a critical position and such unusual circumstances as yours. Suppose that we had argued with Joshua thus. Would not his reply have been, "We can trust God: we know Him. He has said, 'I will not fail you, nor forsake you'"?
(C. D. Marston, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.