Joshua, just as Moses did, sent out spies (only two this time) to check out the promised land, especially the area around Jericho. While in the City, they find refuge in a very unlikely place…we aren’t told the details of how this came about, but they ended up in the home of a harlot named Rahab.
The King of Jericho was informed that the Israelites were spying out the land and a search party was sent out to look for them. Rahab hides the spies and lies to her own countrymen as to their whereabouts. Why does she help them? The answer is found in these verses:
“Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath’.” – Joshua 2:8-12
I find it remarkable that an unbeliever, a foreigner, and a harlot at that, exhibited this kind of faith. She displayed more faith in God’s power based on hearing about His mighty deeds, than the children of Israel led by Moses who saw the Red Sea depart with their own eyes. She stated right up front “I know God has given you this land” How did she know? Because God’s reputation for protecting and blessing His children had proceeded them. The whole City of Jericho was fainthearted because they were afraid of the Israelites. It makes me think, what if the 10 spies Moses sent out would of believed like Joshua and Caleb??? Instead of saying:
“…We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” – Numbers 13:31
“…and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” – Numbers 13:33
They would of saved themselves a lot of wandering in the desert if they would have believed God when He said “I’ve given you this land”. If they could of only known, their enemies on the other side of the Jordan were afraid of them. This is often the way the enemy deceives us – he makes things seem bigger and impossible. But if we trust what God has promised, we’ll see that the enemy is actually afraid of those who step out in faith and obey God’s commands. Those who dare to believe against what it looks like in the natural are a dangerous threat to the devil. I love how Rahab described the people of Jericho as having “no remaining courage”because of the people of Israel. This seemed significant to me since God went out of His way several times to tell Joshua “to be strong and courageous”. We can be courageous even when the courage of others fails because the Lord is with us.
Now Rahab decided to reach out to God’s people and strike a deal. She would help them in exchange for her, and her family’s life being spared when they took over the City. She makes them swear to the Lord (make an oath or promise before God) that they will save her. The spies agree on the condition that she hang a “scarlet chord” out her window and she and her family must stay inside. This sounds very similar to the passover – as well as a foreshadow of Christians being saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. The fact that Rahab was part of this story in history to help the Children of Israel shows us two things: •God loves everyone – no one is beyond His reach to be saved. We can’t put people and sin in categories and think that some are just too far gone to ever be reached. . •God can use anyone and anything to help His children obtain their promised land. He can cause all kinds of “unlikely alliances” in your life to accomplish His plans for you. We shouldn’t even try to figure out how God is going to work because His ways are NOT our ways! What happened to this unlikely alliance? Rahab’s one act in helping the spies forever changed the course of her life. She went on to marry and is recorded as being the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth and is listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ!