Joshua 5:9-12 (NRSV)
Read Joshua 5:9-12 on biblegateway.com
Verse 9The 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.
Verse 10While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. Verse 11On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. Verse 12The 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.
Much is happening in and around these few verses. The Israelites are at the end of their 40 years of wilderness wandering. God dries up the Jordan River so they can cross and floods it again after they arrive on the other side. Now God commands that 12 stones be taken from the Jordan and erected as a monument to tell generations to come of Israel's journey and God's power. Joshua sets up those stones at Gilgal, the Israelites' first encampment in the promised land.
"Gilgal" is a play on the Hebrew verb that translates roughly as "roll." As the Israelites roll the 12 stones into formation, God rolls away the shame of their past. Their immediate observance of Passover is the most tangible way they can remember. Just as God was with the Israelites during their disobedience and the ensuing decades of roaming, God is with them in their flourishing. The Israelites literally wander into forgiveness.
God, thank you for all of the rolling that you do—in the desert, on new frontiers, and everywhere in between. Help me remember your love and forgiveness today, like you helped Joshua and the Israelites remember at Gilgal. Amen.