Today we have started the book of Joshua. Let’s first talk about his name. When Joshua was growing up, his name was Hoshea which meant salvation. Moses later changed his name to Joshua which meant “the Lord saves.” His Jewish name is same for Jesus in the Greek.
Here is a quick review. Remember in Deuteronomy that the tribes of Israel are waiting to cross the Jordan to get to the promised land. Joshua had been Moses’ aid, but Moses has died and Joshua is leading the Israelites as God commanded.
In Joshua 1-10 we see the Israelites cross the Jordon miraculously similar to the parting of the Red Sea. I will let you look this up to see the similarities and differences. Also, in this book we see a lot of fighting. There were times of winning and times of losing.
Once they Israelites cross the Jordan, Joshua sends 2 spies into the land of Jericho. The discussion for this week is based on Joshua 2:1-24.
Here is the text:
“2 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”
4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b] 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”
14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”
15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”
17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”
21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”
So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
We are going to talk about Rahab. As you see from the text, she was a Gentile prostitute. In some of the commentaries, the spies stopped by her house thinking they would not be noticed. Other commentaries say that God sent the spies to Rahab’s house because God was pursuing Rahab, and He had a special plan for her. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” I think it was for both of these reasons.
The King of Jericho heard there were spies at her house and he sent word to Rahab to tell him where the spies were going. Rahab lied about the spies. She risked her life and hid them, and told the king she did not know where the spies were going.
In Joshua 2:9-11 we find out the truth about Rahab. She said, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b] 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
Even while she was sinning (a prostitute), she was saved. Why? Because she had faith. She had more faith than the Israelites who crossed through the Red Sea and saw all of God’s miracles. She said, “the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” She had heard about God and believed in His power and promises. She believed that the Israelites would get the land they were promised by God. Her faith changed her life.
She told the spies to go hide out in the hills for 3 days, and when the search party comes back, you can go home. She wanted assurance they would save her and her family. They agreed to this and made a covenant with Rahab that they would spare their lives. She was to tie a scarlet-colored cord in the window so all the Israelites would know to protect the home.
Why is the scarlet rope so important? It represented a blood covenant. Remember the first Passover. God had made a covenant with the Israelites that he would Passover their homes if they had the blood of a sacrificial lamb over their door. In all the other homes, the first born died. God saved the first-born boys in the homes with the blood over the door. This scarlet-colored cord is a similar representation.
Afterward, completely through God’s power, the Israelites conquered Jericho. Joshua 6:25 says, “But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho and she lives among the Israelites to this day.”
Rahab became someone great. She was mentioned in Hebrews in the section of people with great faith. Hebrews 11:1-2 says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:31 says, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.”
James 2:25 says, “In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” Thus, Rahab had a faith, that she acted upon and she was, therefore, considered righteous.
Rahab was also the Great Great Grandmother of King David and in the lineage of Jesus. We see this in the genealogy Mathew writes about in Chapter one. This is what is amazing to me. Rahab was a prostitute and the Lord redeemed her. She married Salmon, and had a son Boaz, who married Ruth. Through them came King David, and through this lineage, came King Jesus.
Rahab was rewarded for her faith. She was allowed to live, she was in the family of Jesus, she was in the great Hall of Faith in Hebrews, and she was considered righteous in James.
What about you?
Is there something in your past that is holding you back because you do not feel worthy? God is a God who forgives. He used Rahab, and He can use you.
Is God seeking after you? I pray that you will open your eyes and your heart to His truth.
Next week we will read Joshua 11-20. Have a blessed week.