It's amazing that as Israel circumcised themselves in the shadow of Jericho, the men of Jericho didn't seem to think of this as an opportunity to rush out and overpower their enemies in a weakened state. Rather, they stayed in their walled city, eyes open from their watchtowers, and waited to see what would happen next in Israel's camp.
Now, it's possible that the men of Jericho thought it might be a trap, that Israel might be somehow faking their own incapacitation in order to lure the men of Jericho away from their fortifications and level the playing field a bit. But you'd think by day five or six, it would become apparent that this was no mere performance. The men of Israel were really hurting. They were really laid up. They weren't even doing work around camp. On the edge of battle, they were letting their women tend to them. Certainly, Jericho had to know this was no farce.
Why, then, wait? Why not come out and take advantage of the situation? Why not strike while the opportunity is there? These men are waiting in their walled city for their destruction to come. Isn't it at least worth the chance to die fighting, especially when the odds seem ever in your favor?
The answer is simple: the men of Jericho weren't watching the men of Israel.
They were watching the God of Israel.
It was the God of Israel that they had heard stories about. It was the God of Israel that they knew had promised their land to His people. It was the God of Israel who was terrifying. These men of Israel, particularly as they laid in open fields bleeding from their wounds, were not intimidating. But their God....
Their God was the One whose reputation preceded them. Their God was the one who had Jericho trembling in fear. Their God was the One who had the hearts of these men defeated before a single sword was ever raised. The question was not, Who could ever fight against these men of Israel? but rather, Who stands a chance against the Lord God?
So when the men of Israel stopped in the shadow of Jericho, the men of the city watched and waited to see what their God was up to. When the men incapacitated themselves on the exposed side of the Jordan, the men of Jericho were waiting to see what would happen next. Not what the men would do, but what their God would do.
This is why our righteousness (or at least, our pursuit of it to the best of our ability) never leaves us as vulnerable as we think that it does. Because when we have declared the goodness of our God with our lives and commit to following Him, our enemies aren't watching us. They aren't watching to see what we're doing. They aren't looking for chinks in our armor. They aren't waiting to see what our next move is.
They're waiting to see what His next move is.
When we dedicate our lives to pursuing His life for us, the people hear rumors from their walled cities, and the rumors they hear are not about us; they're about Him. The whispers in the corners are about the coming God, not the coming men. The eyes in the watchtowers are not on the men crossing through the Jordan; they're on the waters of the Jordan piled up so high that nothing is left but dry ground.
The world is watching us, hoping to get a glimpse of God. Waiting to see what He's doing next. Longing to comprehend what He's doing now.
That's why we circumcise ourselves on this side of the Jordan. So that the watching world can get a good look - not at our vulnerability, but at the goodness, and glory, of our God.