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“Return to Gilgal”
by Art Sadlier   
February 1st, 2012

When Israel passed over Jordan and began the campaign to conquer the Land of Promise, they encamped at Gilgal. Gilgal would be their base camp until the campaign was over. After each series of battles they would return to Gilgal. At Gilgal they would be refreshed.

Years later Samuel made it a practice to return to Gilgal and on occasion when the nation faced a crisis they would return to Gilgal for renewal and strength and assurance. “Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there” (1 Samuel 11:14).

In every generation the church faces a peculiar challenge unique to that hour. The body of Christ has faced some awesome trials, sometimes persecution unto death. Today the remnant of the church of Jesus Christ is facing an awesome test; it is the danger of deception which is leading many to become apostate.

We as the body of Christ are facing a crisis hour. All around us we see the slain of the Lord. We see those who have fallen prey to deception, worshipping in the flesh with the sensual music of the world and the people of the world.  The world has been brought into the church and Christ is outside the church. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.                                        Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:19-20).

Here we see Christ outside the Laodicean Church of this present hour, knocking to get in.

We have a new Christianity which is a counterfeit Christianity and it is all driven by the excitement of the flesh, leaving the worshippers with a false sense of spiritual satisfaction.

What ought we to do in this hour of trial that has befallen us? What are we to do as we see the church all around us dying. I believe we need return to our Gilgal.

I want you to see seven things Israel found at Gilgal.

First - They found the place of Sanctification

And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore, the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day” (Joshua 5:9).

Israel had been sanctified, saved, as they left Egypt 40 years earlier. They had been washed in the blood of the Passover lamb which was a type of the true Lamb of God which was yet, at that time, to come.

They had been sanctified in their position but as they entered into their wilderness journey they lost their practical sanctification. In the wilderness they had succumbed to unbelief and disobedience.

As they came to the Jordan and were about to enter the Canaan land of victorious living, they were circumcised. The reproach of the old life was rolled away, and they were sanctified. We see this illustrated in the life of Peter in John 13:8, where Jesus said to his disciple, “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” God only uses sanctified, clean vessels.

As they faced the battles that God was calling them to fight they had to turn their backs on the old life and be totally committed to their God. Sanctified and fit for the Master’s use.

We need to make a new commitment of our lives to Christ and vow afresh to enter the warfare, walking with Him in holiness and purity. This is essential if we are to escape defeat and walk in victory.

SecondThey heard afresh and claimed anew the Promises of God

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:3-5).

There they heard and claimed the promises of God. As we face the deception and flood of apostasy that is all around us, we only have one ground to stand upon, it is the solid ground of the promises of God. With them ringing in our ears and lodged firmly in our hearts and minds we will triumph over all the assaults launched against us. When I know and believe that God is for me, no one can stand against me, I will triumph.

We need to go back to the Gilgal of the promises of God. Let us be honest and admit that we have often forgotten the promises of our God and become discouraged and defeated. Believer, remember the promises of God. We can stand victoriously upon them.

ThirdThey made a place of Worship

“And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho” (Joshua 5:10).

Israel remembered what God had done for them in the past and they worshipped the Lord as they remembered. We are saved to be worshippers of God. That will be our eternal occupation and that is to be our preoccupation in the present hour and in all the days of our lives. Out of worship comes a renewed love for the Lord and a renewed devotion to Him.

Let us worship Him in the quiet place of solitude and then in the congregation of the saints. Out of that devotion will come a new sense of the love of God upon our lives. Then our services become rich and meaningful. Let us catch again the spirit of worship we had in days gone by.

Israel was not ready for the battle until they had worshipped God. Have we somehow forgotten how to worship God, not only in corporate fellowship but in our daily lives and personal experience? We never will be triumphant until and unless we learn to worship. We need to go back to the place of true worship.

Fourth They returned to the place of the New Life and the place of Separation

And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day” (Joshua 5:11).

They were called to feed upon the meat of the Word instead of the milk of the manna they had eaten in the wilderness wanderings. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Israel was called to a whole new life when they entered the Promised Land. They were called to a new diet, a new warfare, a new separation from the world around them. “And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt” (Exodus 13:16). They were called out of the world. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

They were to be a peculiar people, different from all the people around them. This is often a terrible sticking point for God`s people, they do not want to be different, but that is the essence of what we are called to be.

It is at precisely this point that New Evangelicalism was born. New Evangelicals reject separation, separation from apostasy and separation from the world. Because of that they are rejected of the Lord.  Are you a New Evangelical? Check your separation and you will have the answer.

We need to return to our Gilgal, to return to the new life and renew our separation if we are to escape the deception of this present hour.

Fifth - They returned to the place of the Divine Presence

And he said, nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:14-15).

Before Joshua could lead Israel in triumph he had to have an encounter with God. In that encounter he received new sense of the presence of God. He received a new sense of God’s greatness and a sense of the fear of God. The Lord is our precious Saviour nearer than hands or breathing. He is out intimate Friend; but we also need to have a sense of the fear of God, these two attitudes go hand in hand, but the fear of God and a sense of His holy presence are vital if we would know His work on our behalf. “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 66:2).

SixthWe need to return to the place of first Victory

So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city” (Joshua 6:20).

In the years that followed Israel would return to Gilgal and remember the tremendous victory God gave them over Jericho. They learned through that victory that nothing is impossible with God. With those memories fresh in their minds and hearts they would go on to new triumphs. Believer, think of the great victories God has given you in the past. Think of the amazing, incredible things God has done for you. Think of the victorious salvation He has obtained for you. With those memories fresh in your mind and heart go forth in faith to triumph again in His strength and power.

SeventhWe need to return to the Place of Power

And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them anymore, because of the children of Israel” (Joshua 5:1).

How we have lost power in our service and our lives! Christianity; in the New Testament, and in the lives of those who glorified God all down through the church age; is a demonstration of power. Only in the Apostolic age was the power demonstrated in signs and wonders, ever since it has been a demonstration of inner spiritual power that has impacted the lives of multitudes.

It is a contradiction of Christianity to live and serve and minister without the mighty power of God upon your life and on your ministry and on your church.

Neither dead orthodoxy, nor the zeal of the flesh can give what only God can give, and desires us to have.

We are living in an hour of crisis for the remnant that has not fallen into apostasy. We need to go back to our roots, back to our Gilgal.



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