I was in a series from the Book of Joshua and then it was Father’s Day. It was the 5th chapter. Joshua, by God’s order, was to tell the men to circumcise again the children of God. What an amazing thought for fathers and fatherhood. Often we need to circumcise again ourselves and our children.
By Delbert Young
Hill of the Foreskins
CIRCUMCISE, THE HILL OF FORESKINS
Scriptures: Matthew 4:23, Matthew 16:18, Matthew 21:43, Matthew 11:12, John 3:3, John 3:5, John 7:37, John 7:38, John 7:39, Ephesians 5:26, Ephesians 6:17, Joshua 3:8, Joshua 3:3, John 5:20, Luke 5:17, Matthew 14:28, Matthew 14:29, Acts 22:16, John 13:8, John 13:9
We are in a series titled POSSESSING THE KINGDOM. The kingdom is a place where all the needs of God’s children are met – spiritual, emotional, and physical. It’s the place of abundance Jesus made available for us. We are talking about our POSSESSING THE KINGDOM in comparison with the book of Joshua and the children of Israel possessing their kingdom. From it we are learning valuable principles.
There is much misunderstanding today about the kingdom of God. It’s taught we cannot possess it or enjoy it until after a series of events happen ending with seven years of great tribulation. Something is obviously wrong with that theology.
Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Every one of God’s children have been delivered from the power of darkness. We have been brought out of Egypt and brought to a place where we can enter and aggressively possess all that God has for us.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
We can enter and forcefully POSSESS THE KINGDOM today just as the children ofIsrael could possess their kingdom. They went through the Jordan. It seemed they were pumped and ready to attack their first obstacle, but that was not the plan of God. They were translated into the kingdom, but needed to do a few things before attacking their first obstacle. A lot of times we get ahead of God. This lesson today shows us what must happen before we can attack.
Joshua chapter 5 gives us several issues that we must check before we attempt to go to battle with the enemy and POSSESS THE KINGDOM. (1) SURRENDER – the circumcision of the heart. (2) HEALING – allowing our hearts to heal. (3) PASSOVER – celebrating Jesus with our hearts. (4) CAPTAIN OF THE LORD’S HOST – recognizing with our hearts who is really in charge. In other words, God expects us to get our hearts or attitudes right with him before we attack. Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes – attitudes. If we are going to be successful and POSSESS THE KINGDOM, we must allow God to cut away bad attitudes.
God told Joshua and the people to prepare for battle, but not by running war games and sharpening their swords and arrows. Instead they were to sharpen knives for the surgery of CIRCUMCISION. Before God can do a work out there through us, he must do a work on our heart within us.
Joshua 5:2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and CIRCUMCISE AGAIN THE CHILDREN of Israel the second time.
In other words, before our victory can be assured, God says, “You have got to let me do what I want to do in your heart.”
The act of circumcision goes all the way back to Abraham in Genesis 17. It became the covenantal mark for the people of God and remains the mark for the people of God today, but not a physical mark.
Romans 2:28 A man is not a Jew [people of God] if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.
Romans 2:29 No, a man is a Jew [people of God] if he is one inwardly; and CIRCUMCISION IS CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.
The people of God continue today to experience circumcision, but at a much higher level. The Old Testament was only a shadow (Col 2:17) of what we experience today. Our mark is not a circumcision by a knife to a male organ. It can’t be, because there is no gender separation in the New Testament.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
See, every believer has a heart therefore every person needs circumcision. That circumcision allows us to truly worship God with a right heart.
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
We know if we have experienced New Testament circumcision by observing what we worship and in what we rejoice. What do you worship? Some people worship money, or things, or even themselves. Some rejoice in things, but not in Christ Jesus. In what do you worship and rejoice?
I want to encourage you today to release yourself in your worship and in your rejoicing in Christ Jesus. For example, if during the worship service you feel the Lord dealing with your heart, come to the altar. You don’t have to wait for me to give an “altar call.” Or if during the praise service you feel like rejoicing then dance, shout, rejoice. Don’t wait for someone else to do it first! Allow Jesus to circumcise your heart.
Colossians 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,
Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
In a few minutes we will have a baptismal service which is an outward expression of a heart being circumcised. If you feel God wanting to deal with your heart then come and be baptized. You can go home wet. Your clothes will dry. Allow God to circumcise your heart. It could mean the difference of a future victory or defeat.
It is interesting that those who exited Egypt and wandered in the wilderness did not make certain their children were circumcised.
(TMB) Joshua 5:7 But their children had replaced them. These are the ones Joshua circumcised. They had never been circumcised; no one had circumcised them along the way.
If we are going to POSSESS THE KINGDOM, we must make certain our CHILDREN EXPERIENCE THE NEW TESTAMENT CIRCUMCISION. We need to circumcise again our children.
I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but take notice of this. Watch the lives of the children you know worship God and rejoice in Christ Jesus. You will notice children who do not cause their parents problems, who do well in school, and who lead a higher level of life. You can’t battle the enemy and battle your children. You can, but can’t do either well. My point is if our children have a circumcision of the heart, you will be training your children, not battling them. Your home will not become a war zone. A war zone will divide your home and a house divided against itself cannot stand. Parents, make certain God touches your child’s heart. Send them to youth camps. Make certain they are at SHINE student ministries. Have them here for our services. Observe what they worship and in what they rejoice. We need to circumcise again our children.
Joshua 5:2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise AGAIN the children of Israel the SECOND TIME.
Notice the double emphasis – circumcise again… the second time. I know that in the natural this was circumcising those who had not been circumcised. However, in the spiritual there is a new or fresh circumcision of the heart by the Spirit. IT’S A KINGDOM CIRCUMCISION. Let me show you what I mean. How many of us know people who will go to heaven when they die, but are not walking in the kingdom now? Their lives are not prospering. They go around and face the same mountains/problem again and again. They never conquer anything. They live in defeat and never possess anything. God loves them and they will go to heaven when they die. However, we also know others who are always advancing in life. They are always victorious. They are always filled with joy, filled with peace, and they always seem to know the right thing to do. They are living in the kingdom. We need to circumcise again ourselves.
My point is it’s as though some people have been circumcised again the second time. There is a re-commitment necessary for life in the kingdom. God will require us to circumcise ourselves again the second time. It’s a heart check. We are to cut even more away than was cut before. There will be no “loose skin.” Why? The dedication and commitment level required is much higher if we are going to POSSESS THE KINGDOM. It’s to circumcise ourselves with a kingdom circumcision.
Have you ever had the Lord deal with your heart the second time? The Lord touched your heart when you were just a baby in the Lord. Most everyone experienced that circumcision. Then at some point the Lord touched you again when you were older in the Lord. Then ever so often, the Lord touches your heart again with a new circumcision. He is cutting away more flesh. He is keeping your heart tender toward him and toward people. He is getting you ready to POSSESS THE KINGDOM. Let him circumcise your heart again the second time.
Joshua 5:8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.
Having the privilege to do what I do, I get to watch God circumcise hearts. There is always discomfort in a real circumcision. I watch God deal with un-forgiveness, hates, broken hearts, anger, and junk. I watch weeping, pain, an immobility nearly paralyzing, and extreme sensitivity when God cuts away fleshy things from hearts. God doesn’t want you to go through life with a wounded, or broken heart. Stay in the camp – church, body – until you heal. If you will, you will heal and POSSESS THE KINGDOM. Still, even though painful and we will need to heal, we need to circumcise again ourselves and our children.
Joshua 5:3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
There were so many foreskins piled up they formed a hill. It’s important to remember these were not eight-day-old infants. These were mostly grown people who were willing to expose themselves to God and others in a very sensitive way.
They believed with all their hearts Joshua was truly hearing God. I am always analyzing Life Gate trying to make certain we are being the best we can be. I asked someone the other day how did the word and teaching ministry at Life Gate compare with other ministries around. They said, “Delbert, the people love you and trust you so much that they believe anything you say.” That shocked me a little. That’s a very humbling thought. My point is I know you love me and trust me and believe what I say, but have we made a HILL OF THE FORESKINS? Have we prepared ourselves to POSSESS THE KINGDOM? We need to circumcise again. We will each have our own HILL OF THE FORESKINS, but does Life Gate have a HILL OF FORESKINS? Are you really willing to expose your heart to God and allow him to touch it? The call for Life Gate is to reach this region with the gospel of the kingdom and make devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It cannot happen until there is the HILL OF FORESKINS. If we will allow God to circumcise us again great walls will fall at a shout, giants will be defeated, the sun will stand still, and every enemy will be defeated. We will see the kingdom come in an unprecedented way and you and I will POSSESS THE KINGDOM.
Joshua 5:10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover.
They camped at Gilgal, the place of the hill of foreskins. Notice they did not dwell there. We are to allow the Lord to circumcise our hearts, heal, but he does not want us to live there. There is much more to do.
Verse 10 said they celebrated the Passover. There is a unique link between the circumcision and the Passover.
Exodus 12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for NO UNCIRCUMCISED PERSON SHALL EAT THEREOF.
They couldn’t experience the Passover until they had been circumcised. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Passover by becoming the spotless Lamb of God. It’s his blood that is now placed on the doorposts of our hearts. The Passover is fulfilled in our partaking of Christ’s body and blood during communion. Sometimes people don’t know if they should take communion or not. It’s simple. How is your heart? Is it tender from circumcision, or is it hard, covered up, and uncircumcised? We need to circumcise again our hearts.
Joshua 5:10 …the Israelites celebrated the Passover.
The emphasis of Passover is on the celebration. The emphasis was not on sin or what had happened in the past. In fact, it is much more about the present and the future. Communion should be a celebration of the goodness of God and his work in our hearts.
There are a lot of other principles in Joshua 5 that I don’t have time to talk about. For example, after the Passover, the manna stopped and they ate the corn of the land. God wants us to eat the goodness of the land he has given us. That is kingdom lifestyle. When we begin POSSESSING THE KINGDOM, our every need is fulfilled by its provision.
I have one more principle today. We must settle in our hearts that God is not here to take sides. He is here to take over.
Joshua 5:13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
Joshua 5:14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
I will try to say it this way. God is not for the Baptist or for Methodist or for Life Gate or for Pentecostals or Charismatic. He certainly is not for darkness. It’s not if God is for our agendas. It’s if we are for his agenda which is to POSSESS THE KINGDOM. Joshua asked if he was for the children of God or for the enemies. The Lord said, “Neither.” The Lord is not out to pick sides. He is out to POSSESS THE KINGDOM. We are to realize that it’s really about his kingdom and him taking over. If we will say, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” God will bless us mightily. We will receive all the benefits of the kingdom. Joshua bowed to that and they took over the land. You and I will too.
You have been translated into the kingdom of God’s dear son. In this kingdom, all your needs can be filled and you can possess the abundant life. However, before you attack yourJericho, make certain that God has touched your heart. He will if you will expose it to him. Allow him to make it tender and sensitive. Sometimes that hurts, but you will heal if you stay in the camp. Allow him to circumcise you again the second time and the third time and the fourth time. There will be THE HILL OF THE FORESKINS for your life and for Life Gate. If you let him deal with your heart, you will see that he is the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts and under his command, you will POSSESS THE KINGDOM.
How many are going to allow the Lord to touch your hearts? Give the Lord a shout and a handclap.
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