Summary: God’s love is a risky business

The Scarlet Risk

Joshua 2:1-24

You have probably heard of the expression: "You could go out on a limb."

To put yourself in a risky position in order to help another person is to go "out on a limb" for them. Example: "You know I’m always here to help you and would go out on a limb if you asked me to." As you climb "out" farther "on a limb" of a tree, there is a greater chance that the limb might break and you would be hurt. To go "out on a limb" is to put yourself in a dangerous position in order to get something done.

(Definition comes from

To go out on a limb for someone else means to take a risk.

Have you ever gone out on a limb? Have you ever taken a risk?

What strikes me most about this passage is the fact that the Bible casually mentions the fact that the spies went the house of a prostitute. My first question when I read this passage was: “Why did they go there?” What were these spies thinking? I know what you may be thinking, and it may have crossed their minds as well. But clearly God had much more in mind here.

Did the spies know what God had in mind here? I don’t know. Tradition says that prostitutes in the present day light up their rooms red because of this story. You know the “red light districts” in various places. Well, the red lights come from the red cord that was thrown down the wall. Was that red cord there when the spies came? Did they know what that meant when they saw that cord?

It is possible that the red cord was a symbol to tell others: “My door is open.”

Apparently, God used that invitation.

That was risky for Rahab. She would be exposed as a prostitute. Would she be condemned? Probably. She had three things going against her:

1. She was a Canaanite, not a Jew

2. She was a woman

3. She was a prostitute

Yet, Rahab and her family would be saved. Her name would be in the family line of Jesus Christ. She would be listed in the list of names that were honored for their faith in Hebrews 11.

Let’s first talk about Rahab. Rahab went out on a limb and took a risk.


She recognized the promise of God. She knew that God was working through His people and she wanted herself and her entire family to be part of it. She didn’t want to miss out. As a result, she took a risk. She decided to risk her family and her life to follow God.

Rahab teaches us that God can use anybody for His purposes. God is more gracious than some other people. God showed compassion for a woman who was scorned by society.

The spies also went out on a limb and took a risk.


They shared the message. They thought that the message was so important, that they decided to take the risk of staying in her home. Knowing that Rahab could betray them, or that they could get caught did not matter. They were willing to share the message of salvation with the people that God had showed them.

Sharing this message is a risk. That is where the scarlet thread comes in.


Salvation comes in scarlet. (See Leviticus 14:4, Numbers 4:8, 19:6; Hebrews 9:19.) The blood on the doorpost was the way in which God would save His people during the Exodus of the previous generation. Here, God showed that He would also save other people that would voluntarily come to Him, not just Israelites. He will save everyone who comes to Him.

The thread is a bridge of escape. (See Joshua 2:21, Joshua 6:17, 25). The thread reminds us of God’s provision. It reminds us of how God risked His Son to save us from hell.

For whom are you going to risk your life?

VISUAL: The Scarlet Ribbon

I am going to pass out this red ribbon. I want you to unwrap it so that you can write a name on it. I want you to write the name of someone on it who you are willing to risk telling them about Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus, then I want you to use this to remind yourself this week of the risk that Jesus took to save you.

In both cases, I want us all to remind ourselves of the risk. I want us to remember what God has done for us. I challenge us to share that message of hope with others – even when it seems risky to you.

You see, God’s love is a risky business. We are in a risky business. But God means for salvation to come to everyone. The scarlet thread is a thread of hope, not humiliation. It is a thread that shows that God loves us and that He has made a way for us to come to Him through Jesus Christ His Son.

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