In the beginning of chapter 4, the Israelites complete their trek across the dry Jordan River Bed. When they have reached the other side, Joshua commands the leaders of the tribes to make twelve men, one from every tribe, and take twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan and take them to the place they would lodge that night. They would then leave them there as a memorial of what God had done. When children would ask, “What do these stones mean to you?” the people would answer with the story of miraculous deliverance. They took the stones with them, and Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan where the priests stood with the ark. All the people crossed over, and then Joshua commanded the priests to come up out of the Jordan. Then the River returned to its place and overflowed its banks as before. Joshua set up the twelve stones in Gilgal as a memorial.
After all the nations (Amorites and Canaanites heard what God had done at the Jordan, their hearts melted and their spirits left them. The Lord told Joshua to circumcise all the men of Israel, because those born in the wilderness had not been circumcised. They were circumcised to fulfill the sign of the covenant. The men stayed in the camp until they were all healed. The children then celebrated Passover, and ate the produce of the land. The day after, the manna ceased.
A few things come to mind. First, do not forget the goodness of God. This has been a recurring theme in the Pentateuch, and now continues over into the book of Joshua. Remembering the miracles and the blessings of God provides teachable moments and faith-building testimonies that must not be forgotten. Second, we need to sometimes go back and do our first works over. Whether it is a prayer of repentance or a recommitment to prayer and Bible reading, or a commitment to avoid sinful behavior, sometimes we need to make sure our hearts are circumcised. Finally, the cessation of the provision of manna is a great lesson for those who are still looking for their Promised Land. God will provide what you need, even when walking in the Wilderness. However, once you get to the Promised Land, once you enter the place of His perfect will and abide there, the need for manna to save the day and just get you by is over. Instead, you live on the bounty of the land. Don’t settle for manna! Get to the Promised Land and live on the Lord’s bounty.