A while back Meagan and I discovered a television show called Turn. The show is about spies in the Revolutionary War. I like the show because I love history, especially Revolutionary War history. I have read books and biographies on that time period. I remember reading a book about Alexander Hamilton and that book talked about what would have happened to our founding fathers if we lost the war. So, the show Turn always has me on the edge of my seat. I am always thinking, “Oh no, I hope he is not caught by the British!”
In real life, I have read and have knowledge of Christians meeting in secret because of fear of persecution. I have read and have shared with you stories, real stories of people being imprisoned for having a Bible in many countries today.
I want us to look at the narrative of how Rahab protected the spies. She was trusting the Lord, even though she was not Hebrew. I want to show you how the Hebrew spies trusted the Lord as well.
I hope you and I can think about where our trust is.
Let’s read Hebrews 11:31:
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
Now, turn back to Joshua 2 and I want to read verses 1-24:
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”
4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 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 Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”
14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”
15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”
17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”
21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”
So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them.23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
- Let me share a few words about this passage. We must know the passage before we can apply the passage:
- Joshua 2:1-7: The Intro: Spies sent out, Rahab hides the spies and tricks the king’s men
- This is not the first time they tried to spy out the land:
- Numbers 13:2: The Lord had told Moses that they would have the land of Canaan. The Lord keeps His promises.
- Joshua 2:1-7: The Intro: Spies sent out, Rahab hides the spies and tricks the king’s men
- In Numbers 13-14 Moses sent twelve spies out to look over the Canaanite land and look it over about its’ defenses, manpower, and fertility.
- Joshua was one of those spies. Now Joshua sends the spies out. (Numbers 13:8)
- Joshua’s name was then Hoshea. Moses changed his name to Joshua.
- Joshua and Caleb were the only spies of the 12 sent who came back with faith that they could take the land. (Numbers 14:30)
- The other ten said they were like grasshoppers in the sight of them.(13:33) Because of their lack of faith they had to wonder in the wilderness 40 years. Some of them died. (numbers 14:28-45)
- In Numbers 22-24 Balak was afraid of the Israelites although the Israelites were afraid of the Canaanites.
- Now, the men are sent, two of them to view the land.
- It says especially Jericho.
- They end up in the house of a prostitute.
- James 2:25: In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
- Verse 2: the king of Jericho finds out that spies are in town.
- Verse 3: the king of Jericho goes to Rahab and suspects her.
- Interesting that she responds and he leaves her alone.
- Verse 4-5: she admits they did come to her, but she did not know where they were from.
- She recommends to pursue them quickly.
- Verse 6: this verse explains how she had hid them under stalks of flax on the roof.
- Verse 7: the pursuers leave and they shut the gate.
- Joshua 2:8- 14: Rahab confesses the Lord is Lord and the beginning of the deal of two way protection
- Verse 8: before they lay down: this must mean that she slept there.
- Verse 9-11:
- She admits that the Lord has given them the land. She admits that there is fear because of the Lord.
- She speaks of different events that they have heard:
- They have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the sea of Reeds or Red Sea.
- The two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordon.
- To Sihon and Og who they utterly destroyed.
- Their hearts melted when they heard this.
- They had no courage.
- The confessions: The Lord their God is God in Heaven above and in earth beneath.
- Verses 12-14: She wants a pledge that her father’s household will be spared (mother, brothers, sisters and their families).
- She says that she has dealt good with them.
- The two men say that they will be spared.
- Joshua 2:15-21: The Promise to Rahab
- Verse 15: She lets them down a rope.
- Notes that she was living on the city wall.
- There is interesting information about her house on the wall:
- Translated literally, the Hebrew reads, “Her house was against the vertical surface of the city wall, and in the city wall she lived.” How was her house preserved when the wall fell? Remarkably, archaeology provides an answer. German excavations from 1907–1909 on the northern section of the site uncovered a portion of the lower city wall that did not fall as it did everywhere else. The still-standing section rose as high as 8 feet (nearly 2.5 m), with houses built against it still intact. A second wall at the crest of the embankment revealed that these particular houses were situated between the upper and lower city walls and were thus “in the city wall.” Since the lower wall also formed the back wall of the houses, an opening (window) in the wall would have provided a convenient escape route for the spies. From this northerly location it was only a short distance to the hills of the Judean wilderness, where the spies hid for three days (2:16, 22). See also “New Testament Jericho”.
- Verse 16: she recommends a route:
- the hill country
- three days of hiding, then go on your route
- Verse 17-19: the terms of the oath. They are free unless certain conditions are met:
- Scarlet thread hangs outside the window
- Gather in the house all the family
- Father’s household
- If they leave the house the Israelites are not responsible for them.
- The Israelites are responsible to protect anyone in her house.
- If she reports of this the Israelites are free from this oath.
- Verse 20-21: she agreed to the terms.
- They left.
- She tied the scarlet cord on the window.
- Joshua 2:22-24: The men escape
- They leave and the pursuers did not find them.
- Verse 23: They leave and return to Joshua son of Nun.
- They share what happened.
- Verse 24: they share the fear the people have.
- We must trust the Lord as the spies did.
- I notice in the first few verses that these spies went out into a dangerous city and trusted the Lord. I have read about how people back then would treat prisoners. They would make Jack Bauer look nice. That is a reference form the show I have read accounts of them cutting off a person’s thumbs and big toes and letting them go. They risked it all.
- Can we trust the Lord like the Hebrews spies did?
- Will we go into a hostile area for ministry?
- Will we go out and share Jesus with other people?
- It is my goal that we have a foreign mission trip in the next few years.
- We must trust the Lord as Rahab did.
- If the spies are foreign mission, I guess we could call Rahab local missions.
- Will we offer to pray with someone in public? These are little things but they are big for us aren’t they?
- Why not trust the Lord with your life, get involved in a new ministry.
- The food pantry is a possibility.
- Do you know that Men’s Challenge needs mentors.
- The Caring Committee is a great ministry of this church and they need more volunteers.
- I know that Keith and Tonya need helpers with certain youth activities.
- Maybe there is a ministry idea on your mind, what do you have to fear? Bring it up.
- Certainly many of you need commended for your work with Mission Encounter and many other ministries.
- However, even within these ministries, how do we lay it all on the line? How do we share Jesus?
- Sometimes it is the introduction which is the hard part and I think children can help with that. Mercedes and I will be running together and she will see people and say, “Who is that? Does she go to our church?” Occasionally, we are at the grocery store and the same thing happens. Mercedes will ask, “Who is that, does she go to our church?” Recently, Meagan was at Rite Aid in the drive through and the lady called Meagan by her name and Mercedes said, “Who is that? How does she know our name? Does she go to our church?” This led to a conversation.
- I was in an evangelism class in college and the professor shared a story about a student who had a problem stuttering. In class we always shared times when people received Christ. This student who stuttered had lots of opportunities to share Christ and victories. On one occasion he shared Christ with a motorcycle gang. Sounded scary. The professor asked the student’s partner how the student was doing with stuttering. The partner says, “When he is sharing the Gospel, he doesn’t stutter.”
- Do we trust the Lord in living the Christian life?
- Do we trust the Lord in standing up for TRUTH?
- The Lord is Sovereign, look at the big picture of Rahab and the Bible:
- The Lord knew what would happen.
- Nothing took God by surprise. Even though the first spies failed, the second did not. What did God do with Rahab?
- Rahab ended up being listed in the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11:31.
- Rahab was used as an example of good works in James 2:25.
- In Mathew 1:5 Rahab is mentioned as an ancestor of Jesus.
- In Mathew 1:4-5 it shows that Rahab ended up being the wife of Salmon whose son was Boaz.
- Boaz ended up being Ruth’s husband. (Ruth 4:13)
- Boaz was the grandfather of Jesse who was the father of David the second King of Israel.
- We never know what God is doing do we? But God is at work.
How can God use your faith today? How can God use your faith today for tomorrow?
Think about that. I can go out of this place and share Jesus with someone and this can change their life. Really.
Greg Stier, founder and leader of the youth convention Dare2Share, and widely sought after speaker writes about taking his son and his friends to share the Gospel with people at a mall. He then recounts a story of his own time sharing the Gospel:
I’ve seen God do some unbelievable miracles in the context of “stranger danger” evangelism. Almost 20 years ago I gave a drunk guy named Kevin a brand new More Than a Carpenter book after fruitlessly trying to share Jesus with him and his drinking buddies. Between the F-bombs, he promised to read it. Ten years later he walked into my office and threw that now marked up edition of Josh McDowell’s classic book on my desk. He said, “I read it. I trusted in Jesus. And now I carry 40 of those in the trunk of my car to hand out to the young people I meet.”
I would have totally missed that opportunity if I could only share the Gospel with him in the context of a relationship. The only reason I shared the message is because God put him and his two drunk friends on my heart as I walked past them at a shopping mall. I saw them there, obviously drunk, and God just moved in me to tell these complete strangers about Jesus.
It seemed like a complete bomb at the time. I remember thinking to myself that I just wasted that perfectly good book on a guy who will never read it. Boy was I wrong! Who knows how many will be in heaven as a result of us scattering seeds of hope wherever we go? God knows! And someday, on the other side of eternity, we will meet them and be shocked at the difference all those conversations made!
Another blessing, especially of taking teenagers out to share the good news with strangers, is that they are forced to rely on God.
How are we relying on God today?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)