Hasn't this been an awesome study, these two weeks? I have learned so much from the story of Rahab! We're finishing up today . . . let's dig in!
The spies had promised Rahab and her family, that if she hung the scarlet cord in the window of her home, and if everyone stayed indoors during the attack, they'd be saved.
Now the men had said to her, "This oath you made us swear will
not be binding on us 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. 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.
Now, Rahab had heard all about the Israelites; I'm just betting that she had heard about the exodus from Egypt, and about the Passover celebration. She'd heard, too, about the children of Israel before they left Egypt -- putting the blood from the basin on the lintel and the door posts, sheltered beneath the shed blood of the lamb while the Angel of Death went through the streets in judgement. I bet she knew about that!
And so here she is, carefully checking each day to make sure that the scarlet cord, just as scarlet as her sins, hangs in the window. With each gust of wind, it stirs, and she glances there. Each day she walks to the window, and moving the scarlet cord aside, gazes out across the wilderness . . . maybe today. Maybe today.
Then one day she sees in the distance a dark sea of men, and a cloud of dust behind them as they move toward the city of Jericho. It's the Israelites! She can almost see the fierceness of their faces. Will they remember their promise? Will their general, Joshua honor the covenant she made with them? Will their God honor their promise to spare her?
I think she ran into the house again, and then if they lived in another house, she ran to get her mother and father, her brothers and sisters, and their children. She told them to stay inside the house, not to step outside; breathlessly she told them of the covenant she had made, and as they watched out her window, they held each other tightly and were quiet. That day they watch as the seven priests carry an ark, the Ark of the Covenant, around the city. They're followed by thousands and thousands of soldiers. As the dust rises outside the city, the people of Jericho jeer and hurl insults, safe behind their walls. All except Rahab and her family. Silently they watch, and sometimes reach out to touch that scarlet cord.
The next day the priests and Israelite soldiers repeat their march, and again the third day. It continues for days until the seventh day. At sunrise, the men march again, but this time they encircle the city seven times. Suddenly there is a blowing of a rams horn, and a mighty, thunderous shout from the people outside the city -- and the city walls are shattered! The Israelites rush in and destroy the city, and when the dust and smoke clears over the ruins of Jericho, only one house is till standing . . . and you know whose house it is.
Since the Bible tells us that her house was built on the wall, we must believe that there was one small section of the wall that did not fall. Before they burned the city, the two spies must have gone in and escorted Rahab and her family to safety. The promise was that their house would be saved, and they in it. And that is exactly what happened.
Does this remind you of the words of Jesus?
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts
them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on
the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds
blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it
had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25)
The Israelites' salvation had been secured by the scarlet blood on the door posts in Egypt; Rahab's salvation had been secured by the scarlet cord. All of this was pointing to the shedding of Christ's blood in which we put our faith. Christ was the Passover Lamb, and was sacrificed for us. "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin."
I bet that when the people of Jericho noticed the scarlet cord in her window, they may have laughed. And people today mock and scorn Christianity; they laugh at it because they don't understand it. The cross is "foolishness" to them, but it's the only way to be saved. This story also shows us that just like the Philippian jailer who asked Paul and Silas "what must I do to be saved?" and then his whole household was saved, salvation was good enough for Rahab's whole household, too.
So many things to learn from Rahab's story! One is the importance of women in the redemption story. Along with Sarah, Rahab is the only woman mentioned by name in the "hall of fame" of faith in Hebrews chapter eleven. Her story tells us that God's grace knows no limits! It tells us that salvation is through faith alone, and that our faith brings us into the family of God and His Son Jesus. Rahab lived in Israel, and married an Israelite man, Salmon. Some folks say that he was one of the spies, but we don't know that for sure. We know for sure that Rahab was the mother of Boaz, so she was the mother-in-law of Ruth, who was the great-grandmother of David, and eventually came in the line of our sinless Savior.
And the scarlet thread continues, as He shed His blood to save us all.
Wow! What an awesome story we have considered for the past two weeks! Is the story of Rahab your story, too? Have you been saved by the grace of God? Is your faith placed strongly in His hands? If you have not yet made that decision and want to know more about it, please click on the tab called "What is salvation" on this blog, or get in touch! Don't let another day go by before you make certain of your relationship with Jesus.