18th Feb 2012
E100 Q&A The Land-Joshua
By Andy Jarvis
Why did Joshua succeed Moses instead of one of his sons?
Whereas Kings are succeeded by their sons, or daughters depending on the rules of succession, leaders of nations are chosen by election or by appointment. In this case, God chose Moses to lead Israel and now in Joshua 1:1-2 he appoints Joshua to continue the task of leading the people into the Promised Land. God’s instructions in this are plain in Numbers 27:12-23. God had given Joshua the gift of leadership.
In Ex 33:11 we find that Joshua never leaves the tent in which God appears to Moses. It is a mark of his devotion to God. In Numbers 14:6 Joshua is one of the spies sent to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Promised Land. He and Caleb demonstrate faith in God’s promises, while the other spies advise against entering it. Caleb and Joshua’s faith is identified as their possession of God’s Spirit. The fearful spies meet a swift end as punishment for their lack of faith.
Moses had a son, Gershom (Ex 2:22) and by the time we read Ex 18, he had a second son called Eliezer. Both sons had names of significant meaning. Gershom sounds like the Hebrew for ‘an alien there’ and Eliezer means ‘My God is helper’.
In Judges 18 Gershom’s son Jonathan becomes priest to the Danites (The tribe of Dan). In 1 Chronicles 23 Moses’ sons and their descendants are listed. They were part of the tribe of Levi, appointed by God to serve as priests.
Why were Levitical Priests chosen to carry the Ark?
The simple answer is that the tribe of Levi was chosen as the one who would be the priests. There were no priests of God, chosen from any other tribe. When the Israelites rebelled against God and worshipped the Golden Calf, Moses called for all those who remained faithful to God to put to death those who were unfaithful to Him. The Levites rallied to Moses (Ex 32:25-28) and were rewarded for their loyalty by being chosen to be the priests. Therefore, they were ‘worthy’ of the honour of carrying the presence of God, the Ark. We are truly blessed, aren’t we, to receive the Spirit of God dwelling in us?
Why did Joshua build a monument in the river (Josh 4:9) that no-one would see?
The text tells us that the 12 stones were set up where the Israelites camped on the river bank. The stones were chosen from the spot where the priests stood, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, in the middle of the river and put down where the Israelites camped Josh 4:8. Given that they crossed the river while it was already in flood, the bank on which they camped and where they put the stones, was certain to remain above ground when the river flooded again, meaning that it would be a lasting monument to God’s action to show His people the way into the land of their inheritance.
Who was the man in Joshua 5:13-15?
The obvious answer is that he was just who the text says he was, the commander of the army of the Lord (v14), but this ‘man’ accepts being addressed as ‘my Lord’ or ‘my lord’, whereas Gideon addresses the angel in Judges 6:13 as ‘sir’ before using the term ‘Lord’ in 6:15. Accepting such an address suggests that this ‘man’ accepts worship given only to God and that the ‘man’ may therefore be Jesus. Commentaries suggest that an angel, a created being, would not accept such worship.
This ‘angel’ was the same one who had appeared to Abraham at Mamre Gen 18:1 and with whom Jacob wrestled in Gen 32:24. The ‘word becoming flesh’ and dwelling among us.