March 9: Renewed covenants
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God certainly provides for us in many situations. The Israelites are one of the best examples of God’s provision in the Bible. Although they had been wandering in the desert for many years without a home, God gave them manna to eat and hope for the future. This passage in Joshua begins with the statement that Israel has been reconciled to God – that the “disgrace of Egypt” has been rolled away. At Gilgal, the Israelites celebrate the Passover, a reminder that God has protected them from death and despair and has made God’s love and grace known to them.
After the Passover is celebrated, once again reminding the Israelites of God’s faithfulness, the manna disappears, marking the end of wandering for the Israelites. Even though the Israelites began to eat the produce from the land and manna stopped coming, it did not mean that God ceased to provide for the Israelites. God’s provision instead came from the routine work of the land. The Israelites ate from the bounty of the earth, a part of God’s perfect creation. So while they had to let go of the miraculous food provision of manna that God had provided through the years of wandering uncertainty, they held on to God’s continued protection.
This passage speaks of new times and a chance for new beginnings. God has taken away our disgrace! The time of Lent reminds us that God provides in many different circumstances, and God’s provision can be found not only through miracles and the mundane, but also through renewed covenants with God, creation and each other.
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 5:9-12 (NRSV)
The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.’ And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.
While the Israelites were encamped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.