Summary: The point of this whole Bible miniseries is to have the opportunity to see how even the ancient major stories in the Bible are relevant to us and reveal God's intentions toward all of us.
Many of us have stories of our ancestors don't we. Maybe it's the Grandpa that came to Canada with $5 in his pocket. Or a family member who fought in a famous war. And of course the parent who walked to and from school uphill everyday in 6 feet of snow. I never could figure out how it's uphill both ways.
The point of this whole Bible miniseries is to have the opportunity to see how even the ancient major stories in the Bible are relevant to us and reveal God's intentions toward all of us. This week is no different, in fact it's such a good picture of what God has done for all of us. It is about a prostitute, and my friends, that is what all of us are to God since the original sin. I know that may sound distasteful, but it is a term that God used for his people throughout history.
The reason being that God considers us His bride and we have consistently through the ages chosen to have affairs with the world and the lusts of our flesh rather than be true to our creator and redeemer.
Our story today takes place during the Exodus, the delivery of God's people from slavery in Egypt. If you watched the episode on Sunday night you saw how this began. This Exodus, and the Passover associated with it, are to this day central in shaping the story of our Jewish friends.
It's also our story, because it depicts the reality of salvation in vivid terms, of a God who delivers us from slavery and death, and blesses us with freedom and life. God's people had been delivered from slavery by several miraculous plagues that all missed them, then the great miracle of parting the Red Sea. Yet in spite of all this they still had trouble staying true to God through their 40 years in the wilderness and beyond.
They were free nomads and had received the Law of God, but their deliverance was not complete. There was still a promise to be fulfilled, the Promised Land. We as Christians are also on an Exodus to the Promised Land, we are told that we are aliens in this world. Ours is an eternal spiritual Promised Land that Jesus himself is preparing for us. But like Israel, we too have to be passed over from death to life by the blood of Christ.
Let's watch what happens when the Israelite spies enter Jericho and meet Rahab…
The last line in that clip is wonderful; it's a reference to that great event years earlier, which God's people, including Jesus, had since celebrated every year in the Passover. It's a reference that something like that is happening for Rahab and her family as recorded in the first chapters of the book of Joshua. And again it's not just Rahab's story but it includes all of us because:
I. My story starts out sad too (2:1-4)
You see Rahab was a sinner and in that day, one of the worse kinds. She was a prostitute. But as we know, Jesus has a special place in his heart for prostitutes, and I think I understand why. These are people that often don't know what else to do. They are for the most part slaves that have to sell themselves to survive in a world that is more than happy to take advantage of them. I don't think anyone sets out with their life goal to be a prostitute.
We too are all sinners, and the world that the Bible says Satan rules, has taken advantage of us, luring us into a relationship with it and making us slaves to the idols that bombard us with empty promises every day.
God is coming to completely destroy Jericho, destroy sin, and ultimately sinners. He did it in the flood, he did it in Egypt, and he plans to do it here. The only escape is radical obedience and loyalty to Him, desiring His mercy.
Jericho was a brilliant choice to begin the conquest of the Promised Land. It was the world's oldest and at the time best fortified city. If they conquered it, everyone else would hear about it and be terrified.
God was going to break down the walls and he instructed Joshua not to let anyone or anything in the city survive, and also not to take any of the loot, it was all for God. Only Rahab and her family would be spared.
Sometimes people ask, why does this loving God have to destroy everybody including the children, when they took over the Promised Land. To me it's very simple. These people were despicable idol worshippers that wanted nothing to do with the true God, and anywhere God wants to be has to be completely Holy. He knows that if any trace of idolatry exists it will spread amoung his people like gangrene. Everyone of us knows that. It will be the same in our promised land, nothing unholy will ever enter it. It sounds harsh, but it's the only way, and it's the way we are to treat sin and our old natures.