A soldier, a harlot, and a new generation

Why did God choose Joshua to succeed Moses?

(The short answer, of course, is that God works in mysterious ways)

We ended the first week of our study on the book of Joshua via Women Living Well with Joshua in the act of obedience to the commander of the Lord’s army (also known as the ‘captain of the hosts of the Lord’ in other Bible translations). We began the week at chapter 1, with the Lord Himself commanding Joshua: ‘Be strong and courageous.’

He was a soldier (ok, at this point, he was more likely Moses’ general). He had been a spy. He knew how to watch closely and observe. He knew to be strategic, when to be silent and listen. Most of all, he knew to follow orders, and not question his commander. After Moses died, he took his orders first hand from the Lord. At the end of chapter 5, he was face to face with the pre-incarnate Christ, the captain of the hosts of the Lord. He obeyed.

I am sure Joshua was as manly as they come, but he reminds me most of Lucy Pevensie, CS Lewis’ girl-heroine from The Chronicles of Narnia. She was the youngest one, and yet she was the one to whom Aslan appeared often. After their coronation as kings and queens of Narnia, she was called ‘Queen Lucy the Valiant’. It was to her that Aslan said: “Courage, dear heart”. Valiant is another word for courageous.

Lucy’s brother Edmund was known as a traitor before Aslan forgave and redeemed him; he became King Edmund the Just. He is the epitome of what Jesus said: “because [hermany sins have been forgiven, [s]he has loved much. (Luke 7:47)” And Rahab – former harlot turned matriarch of a great family (as her son Boaz became known for) and ancestor of Christ – reminds me of Edmund. To say that she had a tarnished reputation is putting it mildly; but she put her faith in the one, true God, and how He redeemed her!

And then there is the strange bit about circumcising the entire Israelite army after they crossed the Jordan and just before they besiege Jericho. Yes, this is to mark them as set apart for God – we know that. Why this could not have happened earlier is why this is strange, and at the same time why it is so beautiful. God wanted them to be vulnerable, to know that they could completely trust Him to keep them safe, to bring them through – and finally – to the Promised Land. And for this new generation (remember when Moses prayed, so frustrated because of his stiff-necked people, for God to just wipe them off the face of the earth and create a new people?), to be vulnerable in a strange, hostile land, they would have known this to heart:

I’m abandoned to the Captain
Of the mighty hosts of Heaven
And I pledge Him my allegiance
Till the earth beholds His kingdom


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