Joshua the Musical

West Side Moravian Church
July 11, 2010


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Introduction to the book

Joshua was a general. The Book of Joshua is the story of a ethnic group, the Hebrews, who end their life as nomadic herders by invading a land of farms and villages and adopting a settled life. The book tells the military, political, and sociological history of this period of invasion and settlement. This subject matter tends toward a militaristic and triumphalistic tone – which I've glossed over in this morning's music.

Joshua was the general, but God was the ultimate leader. The Book of Joshua celebrates a God who has already overcome all opposition and who is actively leading the people into a new life of hope and promise. This morning we join in that celebration.

Joshua's Charge



  1. Be strong and resolute,
    not frightened or dismayed.
    The Lord your God will go with you
    in everything you do.
  2. Be strong and resolute,
    and take up Moses' place,
    for where your feet step in this Land
    God gives to Israel's band.
  3. Be strong and resolute.
    God's words be in your mouth.
    Turn neither to the left or right
    and God will give you might.
  4. Be strong and resolute.
    This is God's weighty charge.
    God's promise of a homeland true
    will be fulfilled in you.

Narrator: Joshua 1:1-3

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' attendant: "My servant Moses is dead. Prepare to cross the Jordan, together with all this people, into the Land which I am giving to the Israelites. Every spot on which your foot treads I give to you, as I promised Moses."

Crossing the Jordan


JORDAN RIVER [Traditional]

  1. Jordan River is deep and wide. Alleluia.
    Milk and honey on the other side. Alleluia.
    You can cross it if you try. Alleluia.
    God will make the river dry. Alleluia.
  2. Seven lift the Covenant. Alleluia.
    Set their feet in the wet torrent. Alleluia.
    Each tribe take a stone away. Alleluia.
    Set twelve boulders to mark our way. Alleluia.
  3. Up at Adam the waters stay. Alleluia.
    Down below they drain away. Alleluia.
    In the dry we'll lift our load. Alleluia.
    Once a bound'ry, and now a road. Alleluia.
  4. Forty years we crossed the sand. Alleluia.
    Now we cross to our promised Land. Alleluia.
    Some day soon, your child will ask. Alleluia.
    Tell this story; fulfill your task. Alleluia.

Narrator: Joshua 2:1

Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim, saying, "Go, reconnoiter the region of Jericho." So they set out, and the came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there.

The Spies


CONFESSION (Herrnhut) [MBW675]

  1. To Jericho city we went out as spies.
    The army of Hebrews had need of our eyes.
    To see their defenses is why we were sent;
    to gauge their proud spirit, the reason we went.
  2. We came upon Rahab, a town prostitute.
    A room there we rented with breakfast to boot.
    She let us inside and she bolted the door.
    To conquer a king you must talk to the poor.
  3. The guards of that city were brave men and true.
    Before we had lodgings already they knew.
    The king of the city sent officers there.
    Of Rahab they asked that her knowledge she share.
  4. "It's true that they came here," she said with a smile.
    "But now they have gone and walked many a mile.
    Set after them quickly; you may overtake.
    Already it's evening so haste you must make."
  5. But Rahab had hidden us up on the roof.
    Her loyalty to us by this we have proof.
    She asked in return that her family we spare,
    a bargain which we deemed to only be fair.
  6. "I know that to you your God gives victory.
    We've already heard how God parted the sea.
    Our citizens quake in their houses with fear.
    They tasted defeat when you first appeared here."
  7. The city was shut up, for it was nightfall.
    The prostitute lowered us over the wall.
    We took to the hills and we slept in the dew
    and now we return to report all to you.

Narrator: Joshua 5:13

Once, when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him, drawn sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and asked him, "Are you one of us or of our enemies?"

Narrator: Joshua Walks In the Hills

choir (verses 2-4), people (6-8)


  1. (flutes)
  2. Why are you here, why would you be
    walking upon this hill?
    It is the eve of battle and
    the night is deathly still.
  3. Are you with us and fight with us?
    Are you our enemy?
    You stand with drawn sword in your hand;
    give me your loyalty.
  4. I am the leader Joshua;
    my father's name was Nun.
    We wandered up from Egypt's land
    in forty years of sun.
  5. (flutes)
  6. Great Moses was our general
    and I his captain true.
    But he is gone and I am left
    to see these people through.
  7. Our God has led us all these years.
    We are a mighty band.
    And honoring God's promises
    we'll occupy this Land!
  8. Are you with us and fight with us?
    Are you our enemy?
    The time has come for me to know
    and you must speak to me!

Narrator: Joshua 5:14

[The man] replied, "No, I am captain of the Lord's host. Now I have come!" Joshua threw himself face down to the ground and, prostrating himself, said to him, "What does my lord command his servant?"

The Lord's Captain

choir men (verse 1) and all men


  1. I am captain of the Lord's host,
    bear the power you honor most.
    God of Jacob, God of Abraham;
    in God alone you boast.

    (Refrain – all men)
    Oh, take your sandals from your feet.
    I have come with you to meet.
    Where I stand the land is holy.
    Mighty God you see and greet.

  2. At the Jordan I stopped its flow.
    By my acts God's power you know.
    Death and dying, birth, surviving,
    I wield God's pow'r below.


  3. On the ground before me you bow.
    You can strengthen your people now,
    if you follow where I take you
    and will obey my vow.


Narrator: Joshua 6:2

The Lord said to Joshua, "See, I will deliver Jericho and her king and her warriors into your hands."


men (verses 1 and 3), women (verses 2 and 4), all (5)


  1. The people of Jericho tremble with fear.
    The power of God very soon will be clear.
    The gates of the city are bolted up tight
    so no one can enter and none can come fight.

    (Refrain – all)
    We will fight for the Lord!
    With the Lord we will fight!
    We will fight for the Lord!
    We will trust in God's might!
    Let all of God's people depend on God's will
    for God was our leader and God leads us still.

  2. Let seven from Levi their priestly horns sound.
    Behind them the covenant box carry 'round.
    We'll circle the city and then we'll go back.
    In Jericho everyone's mood will turn black!


  3. Six days we'll repeat marching once 'round the wall.
    Six times we'll appear without making a call.
    Six days they will listen as rams' horns blare forth.
    Six times they will tremble for all they are worth.


  4. The seventh day we will continue to walk
    for seven full circuits and no one will talk.
    But after the last time we'll raise such a din
    that all of our army will simply walk in.


  5. Our God wins the battle; our God wins the war.
    We are only instruments and nothing more.
    The wall will collapse but it's not from our skill.
    The city is taken because of God's will.


Narrator: Joshua 8:1

The Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be frightened or dismayed. Take all the fighting troops with you, go march against Ai. See, I will deliver the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land into your hands."

Occupying the Land


BATTLE HYMN [MBW140 plus refrain]

  1. At the Ruin, Joshua's tactics
    brought the victory we lacked.
    As we drew them toward the desert
    they were suddenly attacked.
    When their ruined city was in flames,
    we turned and headed back
    into the promised Land.

    We are following God's promise.
    We are following God's promise.
    We are following God's promise
    into the promised Land!

  2. All the cities joined against us
    from the Jordan to the Sea.
    But in Gibeon the elders
    sought to live by treachery.
    With deceit against our chieftains
    they agreed our slaves to be
    within the promised Land.


  3. Those kings from near Jerusalem
    were taken by surprise.
    Oh, the hailstones fell from thunderclouds,
    the sun stopped in the skies.
    Now with Joshua our general,
    none snarl as we march by
    into the promised Land.


  4. All the hill country was taken
    and was put into the pot.
    All the forests and the farmland
    were divided up by lot.
    First to Judah, Joseph, Ephraim,
    Manasseh went prime spots
    within the promised Land.


  5. Both Benjamin and Simeon
    were the next among the bands.
    Then Zebulun and Issachar
    and Asher took their land.
    The Naphtalim received their lot;
    Dan took a second stand
    within the promised Land.


Narrator: Joshua 21:41-45

The Lord gave to Israel the whole country which He had sworn to their fathers that He would give them; they took possession of it and settled in it. The Lord gave them rest on all sides, just as He had promised to their fathers on oath. Not one man of all their enemies withstood them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hands. Not one of the good things which the Lord had promised to the House of Israel was lacking. Everything was fulfilled.



Song: "Now Thank We All Our God" [MBW533]

Narrator: Joshua 23:1-3

Much later, after the Lord had given Israel rest from all the enemies around them, and when Joshua was old and well advanced in years, Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders and commanders, their magistrates and officials, and said to them: "I have grown old and am advanced in years. You have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all those nations on your account, for it was the Lord your God who fought for you."

Common Prayer

women (lead) and men (respond)


  1. God, for your people here we pray.
    Help us and keep us in this day.

    Strength and wisdom you will give us.

    Forgive us each for all our sin.
    Help us the lost to reach and win.

    You are with us. Keep us with you.
    Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

  2. All those with bodies in decline,
    or who are sick in heart or mind:

    Strength and comfort you can give them.

    Where there is war or homelessness,
    where hunger lives or neediness:

    Let us serve there. Let us serve you.
    Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

  3. For all your people who have died:
    Welcome them, make them sanctified.

    Let them see you, live beside you.

    And for the ones they leave on earth:
    Remind us of your second birth.

    You are with us. You are with them.
    Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

  4. Lord, guide our nation's President
    and all our other Government.

    Strength and wisdom you can give them.

    For those who lead your church, we pray.
    Inspire their leadership today.

    Let them hear you. Give them wisdom.
    Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

  5. And keep us ever with you, Lord.
    Your confidence to us afford.

    Strength and courage you will give us.

    In every hour and every day,
    in business, school, or on our way,

    You are with us. We are with you.
    Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Narrator: Joshua 24:2-3

Thus said the Lord, the God of Israel: In olden times, your forefathers — Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor — lived beyond the Euphrates and worshipped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan and multiplied his offspring.

Covenant Commitment

choir (verses 1-3) and people


  1. In the olden days long ago
    God told Abraham, "Up and go!"
    He was led to this very Land.
    Here he fathered a faithful band.

    God of Abraham, in the promised Land
    we will follow you all our days!

  2. Hunger drove us into Egypt.
    There the Pharaoh our freedom clipped.
    Moses came and he led us out,
    all rejoicing with dance and shout.


  3. Through the desert we wandered lost,
    fed by God 'til the Jordan crossed.
    Mighty nations all fled away;
    God was fighting to clear the way.


  4. Jordan River is cold and wide
    but we walked across when we tried.
    At God's order we took our load;
    once a boundary, now a road.


  5. Make a choice about whom you'll serve.
    When you've chosen don't lose your nerve.
    God your loyalty will demand
    if you claim to be in God's band.


  6. Those around you will be a snare.
    Everything they do is unfair.
    Every good thing will come to you
    if what God wants is what you do.


Narrator: Joshua 24:27-28

And Joshua said to all the people, "See, this very stone will be a witness against us, for it heard all the words that the Lord spoke to us; it shall be a witness against you, lest you break faith with your God." Joshua then dismissed the people to their allotted portions.


Our lives are not exactly the same as the lives of the Hebrews in the time of Joshua: We are not nomadic herders becoming farmers. We are not invading a land of farmers and villagers. But there is one experience which we share: We are followers of a God who has swept aside all opposition and is personally leading us into a new life of hope and promise.
Our lamb has conquered.
Let us follow him.


Scripture quotations from The Prophets: A New Translation of The Holy Scriptures according to the traditional Hebrew text (The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1978)

MBW: Hymn tune references are to Moravian Book of Worship (Moravian Church in America, 1995).

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Original text (November, 2007)