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Holiness Trumps Pragmatism

January 25, 2011

I just love reading, especially those works which help me understand the Book better than ever. Here’s an example based upon the called-for-obedience of Joshua 5:1-5:

When all the Amorite kings across the Jordan to the west and all the Canaanite kings near the sea heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, they lost heart and their courage failed because of the Israelites.
At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelite men again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelite men at Gibeath-haaraloth. This is the reason Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males–all the men of war–had died in the wilderness along the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out were circumcised, none of the people born in the wilderness along the way were circumcised after they had come out of Egypt.

Here Dale Davis writes in The Word Made Fresh: How to Preach From Old Testament Narrative Texts (pp. 20-21): “Anyone with a bit of memory knows what can happen to a people whose fighting men have been rendered helpless during recovery from such surgery (see Gen. 34:25-29). Yet here in hostile territory Yahweh first off requires Joshua to disable his whole army. But the ‘insane’ procedure packs its own point:  Israel’s protection rests with the arm of Yahweh not with the sword of her warriors, and even more, covenant fidelity [circumcision] is always more urgent than military preparedness; in a word, holiness trumps pragmatism in Yahweh’s order (emphases mine).

Or, as the Psalmist states it

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God (Psalm 20:7).


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