Joshua 5:1-9

Talks for Growing Christians

The Rite of Circumcision

Joshua 5:1-9

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Lesson Number 7

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Spiritual circumcision should come after crossing the Jordan.
  2. Spiritual circumcision must come before conquering Jericho.

Practical Application

  1. Don't let the enemy scare you when you can scare him.


  1. What was circumcision a sign of?
  2. In Joshua 5:2, we read, "...circumcise the second time." Does this mean a re-circumcision of those already circumcised?
  3. Why was the act of circumcision an act of faith on the part of Israel?
  4. Recall the two sets of stones. What did they memorialize?
  5. What is the meaning of Romans 6:11?
  6. Refer to Colossians 2:11. Physical circumcision has to do with cutting off the flesh literally. What is the spiritual position and picture here?


  1. The Abrahamic Covenant. See Genesis 17:9-11.
  2. No. The new generation born in the wilderness was to be circumcised.
  3. You don't circumcise your men with the enemy nearby. But God protected them because they stepped out in faith and obeyed in this matter.
  4. That God's people identify with Him, both in death and in resurrection.
  5. Believers are to "reckon" (or count it true) that they are dead to sin and alive to Christ. This is their spiritual position in Christ.
  6. It is the cutting off of the flesh, or the sinful nature. It is done by Christ. When He died for our sins, He died for our sinful natures as well. The flesh has been judged.


  1. Circumcision is practiced by applying the knife of the word of God to our flesh, the sinful nature. It is the death-to-self principle; it is the judgment of self in light of God's word. It logically follows the Jordan River in the spiritual picture and in our experience. Elaborate, using your life as an example. See Colossians 3:1-3, 5.
  2. Circumcision is painful. Putting the word of God to the flesh can be painful, but it must be done. Only then can we move on to conquer the Jerichos. Have you identified and conquered the Jerichos in your life? Are you crucified with Christ so He can live His life through you? See Galatians 2:20.


  1. Review Joshua 5:1. The nation of Israel was scared before the enemy. Read Joshua 5:9. It was not of Israel's doing, but the Lord turned the heart of the enemy. Can the Lord do the same for you? Read James 4:7.

Key Verses

  • "When the Canaanites heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until they had crossed over, their heart melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer." (Joshua 5:1)
  • "Circumcise the sons of Israel...because they had not been circumcised on the way." (Joshua 5:2, 7)
  • "The Lord said to Joshua, 'This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." (Joshua 5:9)

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