Isn't there some other way you could make us feel special?
Ok, the greatest challenge that these nomadic Israelites would ever experience was coming close. If they were to stay in the Promised Land, they needed to drive the inhabitants out and if that were to happen, they had to go through Jericho.
God wanted to establish their identity right at the outset, before any achievements, any failures, and he chose an interesting way to do it. This had been done with Abraham and his children and then again with Moses, but this next generation had not gotten to experience this for themselves--they were to be circumcised, all the males. God, couldn't you just give us a hat?
This was a sign that they were special, unique, that they weren't like the nations around them. It was a perpetual reminder that their strength doesn't come from their physical clout, and their courage doesn't come from their collective masculinity. Rather, it comes from the God who made them, chose them, called them and sent them. The one who guides is the one who provides.
It is not lost on me that we, as church planters, are likely extending ourselves for a spiritual challenge that may be greater than any other spiritual challenge we take in our lifetime, at least up to this point. Before we move forward, do you know how special you are to God? Do you know you are chosen, called and sent?
The New Testament fulfillment of the sign of the covenant, circumcision, is baptism. It is available for all and it is a once in a lifetime moment, where each of us as followers of Christ can be reminded that we are united with Christ in His death...and his resurrection. Sin has lost its ultimate hold over us and death will not win. Have you taken this step? If so, can you look back on your life and see the progressive loosening of sin's grip on your life? As we step forward in launching our new church, be rooted in your calling to bear witness to all you have experienced. You are special, really.