Roll away the stone

An experience of powerlessness can have a lasting effect. The years the Israelites spent as slaves in Egypt left them with a sense of reproach or disgrace. The Hebrew word translated reproach in Joshua 5:9, cherpâh (kher – paw′) is derived from the word châraph (khaw – raf′) which means “to pull off, to expose (as by stripping)” (2778).

There are several aspects of being raped that can leave the victim with a sense of shame or disgrace, but the one thing that makes the victim feel powerless more than anything else is being forced to take her clothes off. A sense of reproach or shame is being forced upon her so that the perpetrator can feel in control and dominant in the situation.

I think it’s interesting that when God addresses the Israelites’ reproach, he says, “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you” (Joshua 5:9). It almost sounds like the reproach is a large stone that has been attached to the Israelites’ backs. The mental image of rolling something off of them definitely gives the impression of a weight or burden being removed and freedom of movement being restored.

One of Jesus’ well know miracles is raising Lazarus from the dead. In the account recorded in John chapter 11, Jesus says to Martha, Lazarus’ sister, ” I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). Before he restores Lazarus’ life, Jesus commands that the stone covering the tomb be moved out of the way. Since Jesus was able to raise Lazarus from the dead, he could have brought his body out of the grave without the stone being moved, but the point I think Jesus was trying to make was that the grave would have to be spoiled for Lazarus to be truly free from the power the grave had over his body.

The desire I had that caused me to attempt suicide did not go away because I survived. A few weeks later when I was examined by a psychologist, I was asked if I thought I would try again. I answered yes. Many years later I was put on suicide watch by my doctor after finding out that my husband was having an affair. It wasn’t until I made a conscious decision a few years ago to abstain from all sexual activity that I was finally set free from the reproach that I had been carrying with me since I was raped at the age of 14.

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