Show me Your glory, I pray.
The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. Those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal, saying to the Israelites, “When your children ask their parents in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, “Israel crossed over the Jordan here on dry ground”… While the Israelites were encamped in Gilgal they kept the Passover in the evening of the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho.
Joshua 4:19-22, 5:10
Mark this day on your calendar! A new day in history has been turned. Note the exactness of today’s scripture: “The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month.” That’s right, it happens on the “tenth day of the first month.” This means that this is exactly 40 years to the day since the Exodus began. It was on the “tenth day of the first month” God commanded Israelites living in Egypt to obtain a lamb for the Passover (Exodus 12:2-3), and take four days to determine that it was a lamb “without blemish” (Exodus 12:5). Then on “the fourteenth day of the month” they were to slay the lamb, paint its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their homes, and eat the Passover Lamb.
It is fitting, then, on the Israelites’ very first day in the Promised Land, “the tenth day of the month”, that they prepare to celebrate Passover. Four days later, their journey is complete! For, on “the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land…The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land” (Joshua 5:11-12). This marks for them a new beginning, the beginning of life in the Promised Land! God has kept His promise: “I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD” (Exodus 6:8).
It is doubly fitting that the Israelites begin their new lives at what Scripture calls “Gilgal”. Place names are important in the Biblical narrative and important here at their new beginning: “Gilgal” means “disgrace has been rolled away.” This is seen in Joshua 5:9 where the Lord tells the Israelites: “’Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.’ And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.” For us today this means that God has rolled away all our disgrace and brought us into new life!
Notice that the Exodus story begins and ends with the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. It is on the tenth day of the first month that the Exodus began with preparation for Passover in Egypt, and on the tenth day of the first month that the Exodus ends with preparation for Passover in the Promised Land.
So too, our Exodus stories begin and end with our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ! The apostle Paul writes: “For our Passover lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed” (I Corinthians 5:7). Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, the beginning and ending of all our stories (Hebrews 12:2). We keep our eyes on Him as He leads the way!
- What does “Gilgal” mean to you: (“Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of your past”)?
- What does it mean for you that Christ is your Passover Lamb?