Summary: Rahab lived in a doomed city, but she reached out in faith to the enemy, to become one of them, and find salvation.
As we continue our study of Joshua, and how to have a victorious Christian life-the first obstacle a person comes to is the world. Some have suggested that Jericho, the first city across the Jordan in Israel, represents the world; the king of Jericho Satan, the god of this world. When it comes to have victory over the world, its not as easy as just strolling up to it, and to its king and saying: "give up!" The world is not going away that easily - its tentacles can reach quite deep into our lives, and Satan will not go away that easily either. He loves to stick around and tempt us or taunt us.
To begin to have victory over the world you have to give up; give up on your own strength and ability to win without God; give up on figuring the world or the enemy out. Instead we trust in the Lord, find allies where we are going and discern the attitude of our enemy, rather than all his defenses.
Today we learn about two people: the spies sent in to check out Jericho, and the woman they meet-the unlikely hero of the Jericho campaign: a prostitute named Rahab.
Rahab means "proud" or "roomy"
Question 1: Why go to a prostitute’s house? Perhaps Jericho was so sinful that prostitutes were pretty common. Or perhaps it was as far as they dared to go in Jericho, since her house was right on the edge of town, but the gate. It’s also possible that going to a prostitute’s house would not arouse as much suspicion. There is some suggestion that they met Rahab outside of Jericho and hatched this plan. I am not sure the text supports this, but it is possible.
Verses 2 - 7
The flatroofed houses were perfect for drying grain like flax. She is apparently a pretty good liar, and though lying is not condoned, in the case of the life or death of God’s people, it is allowed. This reminds me of those who hid the Jews during Nazi Germany.
Verses 8 - 9
I like how this is a story of salvation and God’s grace. Here Rahab represents us. We are "proud" of ourselves and don’t realize how retched we are. She 1) hears about who God is (righteous), what it means to her (peril) and then confesses her faith in God and asks for God’s mercy. She knew she was a sinner and was doomed to destruction and needed salvation.
It reminds me of the Passover, and of the original spies who went into the land and came back with quite a different report. They made their assessment based on physical appearance, not heart reality. Physically the people of the land were like giants, but in their hearts they quaked with fear of the Lord. How often do we see problems that appear like giants but do not realize the power of our God to overcome?
We see salvation-faith and works together:
Hebrews 11:31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. ESV
Rahab showed her faith by confessing the truth about herself and God.
James 2:25-26 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. ESV
Rahab proved her faith in God was real by hiding the spies.
Rabab was a sinner. But she was saved, even as we are saved, not because we are perfect, but because God extended His grace to us as sinners.
Sihon and Og - Numbers 21:21-26. They stood between Israel and the Promised Land at the northern end of the Dead Sea. Because of this victory the people of Jericho quaked with fear, but also because of this Balak, the Moabite, called forth Balaam to curse Israel (Numbers 22). In the end of that story, of course, it was the Israelites susceptibly to temptation (sexual) that led to their downfall. When we have victory in God, the enemy will be fearful, but he will not stop. If he cannot win with face to face battle against Jesus, he will try to tempt God’s people to sin and thus become ineffective in their ministry for the Lord.
Why was it actually perfect that they went to Rahab’s house? Most likely the leaders in Jericho wouldn’t publicly show their fear of Israel. But privately, in the chambers of a hooker, they might reveal their inner fears.
Verses 18 - 21
We discussed the scarlet cord on Wednesday and its significance in the Bible. But notice the similarities to the Passover. Blood on the doorposts, don’t go out, and you will spared. Here it is a scarlet cord on the window, don’t go out, and you will be spared.