God is Removing the Shame of Your Past Season
Recently, I was in a worship time and the Lord began to speak to me about how He wants to remove the shame of His people as they transition fully into this new era. There are some who have experienced hardships and events that produced a level of shame in their lives. Others, I believe have been in the valley of decision. Some have not chosen well during these times and now are struggling with shame and condemnation because of their decisions. During the past two years we have been bombarded by contradicting voices on every side. It has taken a deeper yielding to the Spirit to know what is truth, and what are lies, and then to follow the way of righteousness. The mounting pressure produced in the Covid, political, fear, and racial pressure cooker of 2020 and 2021 caused things to rise to the surface in almost everyone.
God is never the author of a demonic agenda, but He is a master at using whatever the enemy throws at us to continue perfecting us into the image of Christ as we submit to His Lordship in our lives. Our response to the enemy's schemes, meant to divide, destroy or defeat us, either caused us to pull in closer to Jesus, or move further away. The resulting shame and condemnation of choosing the latter is a type of prison in itself. Jesus is the answer and offers freedom from the binding chains of shame.
An Army Made Vulnerable
In many ways the Church is like the Children of Israel in Joshua 5, who had crossed the Jordan into their promised land. It would seem that the Lord chose the worse possible timing to make a vulnerable army of men incapacitated by circumcising them just after they had crossed over into Gilgal. Here they were, completely made vulnerable in front of Jericho, the strongest military outpost of the Canaanites.
"At that time the Lord said to Joshua, 'Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.' So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth." Josh. 5:2-3
The Israelites were put in a place of having to totally trust in God. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that this generation of Israelites were themselves walking in a prison of shame. This younger generation who had been born in the wilderness, had never been circumcised. They bore not only the shameful memories of their parent's slavery in Egypt, but the shame of a generation who disobeyed God and wandered in the desert for 40 years.
God knew and understood that to victoriously take their land, the Children of Israel would need to be circumcised and healed in order to begin to see themselves differently. Their perception of their identity would greatly affect this next phase of their journey.
"And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed." Joshua 5:8
A Circumcision of the Heart
We know that the whole journey into the promised land is a prophetic picture for us today. This picture of circumcision we are not unfamiliar with. Paul speaks of the spiritual application of circumcision in Col. 2:11, "In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead."
And Romans 2:29b refers to a circumcision of the heart:
"...And circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God."
I sense that much of the Church is at a kind of crossroads in this season. As the Israelite army was called to a time of great vulnerability to lay down their weapons and be circumcised, so we are being called to a similar place. There is a deeper consecration, a deeper cutting off of the flesh that the Holy Spirit is beckoning us to in this new era. The enemy has attempted to derail this generation from obtaining the promises of God. But, I hear God saying, "Go deeper with Me, come up higher with Me. Lay down everything that has hindered you in this race and receive My cleansing. Yes, make yourself vulnerable to Me and I will remove the dirt and grime from the former season. Allow Me to do surgery in your heart. You will be made new as you rest and abide in My presence."
A Time to Be Healed
The second part of Joshua 5:8 says, "....they remained where they were in camp until they were healed." We think of Gilgal as a place of physical healing from the circumcision the men experienced. Gilgal was a place of physical healing, but it was a place of heart healing as well.
"Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." So the place has been called Gilgal to this day." Joshua 5:9
In an interesting use of wordplay, The Lord made it clear to Joshua that during this time he had removed the reproach of their former slavery to Egypt by rolling it away. The name Gilgal, means "a wheel, rolling". Then the Strong's dictionary refers to the word "reproach" as shame, rebuke, or disgrace. An essential part of their healing was in the removing or rolling away of their shame. Shame is unhealthy in every way causing us to feel worthless, depressed, and anxious. If we are believers in Christ, God has already taken our sin and shame upon Himself. We have received His cleansing and are now new creations through His death and resurrection.
Our enemy wants us to take on our old identity as slaves or orphans, and He wants to cause us to walk in shame, condemnation, and confusion once again. Our freedom is found as we walk in repentance, humility, consecration and embracing our identity in Christ. There is a necessary pause happening right now for many in the Body of Christ to deal with the assault to our souls that occurred the past two years or beyond. Though we have stepped into a new era, we have already seen that there are indeed giants in our land. As we receive His healing, only then are we prepared to take on the giants that are illegally inhabiting our land and then step fully into our promises.
"Father, thank you that you are once again removing the shame from your people that has occurred in this past season. Thank you that You orchestrate times of cleansing and healing for Your children as you wipe away the pain and trauma from their hearts. Now, release life, hope, and fresh vision to Your sons and daughters. Bring courage and strength to step into the promises You have spoken. Release a fresh baptism of Your Spirit to walk in grace, truth and power. For the glory of Your Son's name, amen."