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But back to our spy adventure. Joshua has some idea what to expect in the promised land. He was one of the twelve who’d been sent to spy out the land under Moses, 40 years before, but he needs the people to hear what these new spies have to say. So he sends them to see what’s going on just over the mountain range.
Well, just over the mountains is Jericho. A fortified city that stands at the entrance to the land, as a sentinel, a fortress designed to keep invaders out. But it’s more than that. It stands as a symbol of everything the land stands for. It’s a sin filled city just as the whole of Canaan is full of sin. And at the centre of our story is a person who may stand for all the wickedness of the city. Her name is Rahab and she’s a prostitute.
The two spies are sent secretly to spy out the land. Clearly they’re not up to James Bond’s standards, because no sooner have they arrived than they’re recognised as Israelites and the King is told. In the meantime they’ve found a convenient place to hide: in Rahab’s brothel. I guess if you’re a prostitute you don’t mind having a couple of paying guests even if they are clearly spies.
But then the story starts to get interesting. The king sends out his counterespionage squad to bring these spies in. And his intelligence is pretty good. He knows exactly where they are. At this stage you'd have to say they’re goners. But all is not lost. Rahab has a surprise for them, and for us. Here she is, a sinner as bad or worse than all the rest, yet something’s going on in her mind and heart. She’s heard about these Israelites and especially about their God and she’s become a believer. So she covers for them. She tells the kings men that they’ve gone already. They’d better pick up their feet and start chasing them. If they’re quick they just might catch them before they get back to the Jordan. So off they go and the city gates are locked after them.
So that’s one danger over but they’re still locked inside the city. Will they get away safely to tell Joshua what they’ve seen?
Our narrator isn’t going to answer that question straight away because he has something more important to tell us. And it comes out of the mouth of Rahab, the prostitute. In fact Rahab makes what amounts to an enormous statement of faith. She gives three striking confessions about God.
The Might of Yahweh
They’d heard what God had done to rescue his people. The crossing of the Red Sea, the destruction of the two Amorite Kings. She knows that Yahweh has given the whole land over to the Israelites. Listen to what she says: “I know
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