Memphis Belle

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Rahab the Harlot

 

“Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’  So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.  And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, ‘Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.’  So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.’  Then the woman took the two men and hid them.  So she said, ‘Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.  And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out.  Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.’  (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)  Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords.  And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.  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.  Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the LORD, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.’  So the men answered her, ‘Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours.  And is shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.’  Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the wall; she dwelt on the wall.  And she said to them, ‘Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you.  Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned.  Afterward you may go your way.’  So the men said to her: ‘We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home.  So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless.  And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.  And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.’  Then she said, ‘According to your words, so be it.’  And she sent them away, and they departed.  And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.  They departed and went to the mountain, and stayed there three days until the pursuers returned.  The pursuers sought them all along the way, but did not find them.  So the two men returned, descended from the mountain, and crossed over; and they came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all that had befallen them.  And they said to Joshua, ‘Truly the LORD has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.’” 

 

opening prayer

 

“‘Lord, thank you for the privilege we have to come, to sing your praises, Lord, to lift our voices.  Years ago, Lord, for some of us, decades for some of us, Lord, we never thought, we never thought we’d get up and go to church Sunday morning, let alone Sunday night or Wednesday night, or any other time, Father.  We never thought there would be songs that we would love, Lord.  We never thought we’d be so in love with songs of praise that would actually be some we didn’t like…Lord, we never dreamt that we would actually know what Leviticus was about, or Obediah, Lord, or the Book of Revelation.  How you’ve changed us, you put your hand on our lives Lord.  You’ve redeemed us, Lord.  You have found, Father, in us, vessels, earthen vessels, imperfect, and placed your glory in us, Lord, this treasure of the Gospel of Christ, that the glory would not be of us, but of your Son Jesus Christ.  And Father, we will cast our crowns at his feet.  We have no ambition, Father, as we long for heaven, to have anyone glorified there but him, oh Lord of lords, the King of kings, the Lamb of God.  And as we are here on this pilgrimage Lord, remind us, Father, daily, of this journey, of our true citizenship, of our destiny, Lord.  And as we gather, Lord, in obedience to your Word, not neglecting the gathering together of ourselves, especially as we see the Day drawing near, Lord, as we do gather, Lord, give to us our portion, Lord.  We are hungry, Lord, for the truth, we are hungry Lord, for those personal things that you give to us, that we might walk away from a night of singing your praises and studying your Word, of fellowshipping, knowing that we’ve received something, Lord, from you, Lord, that was in your heart before the foundation of the world, that you bestow upon us this evening, as an individual, Lord, something for us, Lord of your own heart.  Grant that to us as we look through these passages, Father, as we study your Word, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, Lord.  And we pray that we might love you more, when we leave tonight, than when we came.  And we believe that’s according to your will, we pray Father, in Jesus name, and for his glory, amen.’  [Now that’s an opening prayer!] 

 

On the edge of the Promised Land

 

Joshua, chapter 2.  Has anyone read ahead?  Several of you.  That’s good.  We have come to this interesting chapter in regards to spying out the land of Canaan.  It begins by saying, “Joshua, the son of Nun sent out of Shittim,” an area where there are acacia groves, “two men to spy secretly, saying,” notice, “‘Go and view the land, even Jericho’” (verse 1).  So Joshua now.  Isn’t it interesting?  On the edge of the Promised Land, Jericho is within view.  The Jordan river is at flood tide, overflowing its banks.  We’re not told what jeopardy these men were in, had to put themselves in to get across the Jordan river.  But he sends only two into the land.  Twelve’s a sore number with Joshua.  Because thirty-eight years before this he was one of twelve that went in to spy out the land, and one of only two that came back and said “Let’s go get ‘em.”  And because they were out-voted ten to two, they wandered for thirty-eight more years in the wilderness.  Joshua is very careful this time, he only picks out two, knowing he doesn’t want to do that again.  And it says “he sent them secretly.”  Now it doesn’t tell us specifically.  Is it meaning he sent them secretly in regards to the Canaanites, or secretly in regards to the nation of Israel, wanting them to come back and report to him first before the children of Israel hear their report?  But he sends two of them, and he tells them to go “to search out the land”, to go and see this land, that he had seen many years before this.  “Spy out the land”, and he says “even Jericho.”  Jericho was about the size of our property, somewhere nine to ten acres inside the walls.  The walls were thirty to forty foot high, there were two walls, an outer wall, they estimate around ten foot thick.  Then a fifteen foot space, then an inner wall about fifteen foot thick.  And it was a formidable fortress.  It was one of the oldest cities in the world.  It was in the middle of a trade route.  Those that would come all the way from Euphrates would come through the area of Damascus, and then down and meet up with the Via Mare and come south, traveling down this area from Tyre and Sidon.  Many of those trade routes went through Jericho and on down into Egypt.  So it was a city in a very important location.  It was undoubtedly a fortress.  It was the first battle they [the Israelites] would face, the whole nation could see it from where they were camped.  And Joshua sends over two spies and says to them, ‘I want you to go, I want you to search out the land, and I want you to particularly look at Jericho, and get a gander of what’s going on there.’  “And they went” it tells us, “and they came into a harlot’s house.”  I didn’t know if Joshua specifically gave them those directions.  [chuckles]  ‘Great plan guys.  [Actually much military intelligence of what’s going on in a city can be obtained from such establishments.]  “They came into a harlot’s house named Rahab, and they lodged there” (verse 1b).  Now some say, ‘Well she wasn’t a harlot, she was an innkeeper’, because sometimes in ancient cultures that was a dual role.  Well, we hear about her in three places in the New Testament, and it’s more specifically told in the Greek she’s a prostitute, there’s no confusion about it at all.  God doesn’t hide that, he doesn’t hide it in any of our lives.  What we were before we came to the Lord doesn’t shame him, it glorifies him, that he set us free, he’s taken us from the strands of broken lives that we lived and cleansed us, and called us his sons and his daughters.  And the Bible doesn’t hide anything.  This woman is a harlot.  Now, the place that she owned may also have been used like, you know, a Motel Six or something.  I don’t know that.  But they go there, which may have been a normal cultural situation.  Going into a strange city, many men would go into the home of a harlot, and they would take opportunity to be her patrons and also then to get room and board in that place.  So maybe incognito they think that this won’t really be noticed.  They come to her home, all the while behind the scenes God is guiding, there’s something very remarkable taking place here that I’m sure the two spies and Joshua back in the camp have no idea of at this point in time.  Neither does Rahab, I’m sure. 

 

Jericho, a city on high military alert

 

“And it was told the king of Jericho”, notice that, “saying, ‘Behold, there came men in hither tonight of the children of Israel to search out the country.’  And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, ‘Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thy house, for they be come to search out all the country.’”  This king is very well informed.  We’re going to find out that Rahab tells these spies ‘The entire nation is terrified of you.’  ‘The entire nation is melting before you, is afraid of you.’  In Exodus, after they crossed the Red Sea, in chapter 15 when they sang the song of victory, part of that song says “The people shall hear and be afraid.  Sorrow shall take hold of the inhabitants of Palestina.  Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed, and the mighty men of Moab trembling shall take hold upon them, and all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.”  That word “melt” is the same word we’re going to find here in Joshua chapter 2.  “Fear and dread shall fall upon them, by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone till thy people pass over”---and I wonder if they knew when they were saying “pass over” what that meant---“till thy people pass over, Oh Lord, which thou hast purchased.”  So, the king, the inhabitants of Jericho and Canaan are very paranoid at this point in time.  Before 12 spies came into the land and left, and it seemed nobody noticed.  This time only two come in, and the king of Jericho, evidently has cameras everywhere now, like if you go too fast through a light you get a notice, you get a ticket.  Everybody’s watching everywhere, and these two guys come in, they’re dressed differently, they know they’re not normal locals, and they go with a harlot, which is something they had taken notice of, somebody mentioned it to somebody.  And somehow the king even knows that they are in the house of Rahab.  Now look, you have to understand, the city is on high alert.  As they stand on the walls of Jericho looking over the river at the children of Israel, at night, there’s a pillar of fire on the other side of the river, going up into the sky.  And no doubt they’re on the walls of Jericho going ‘aghhh.’  They’re looking at this thing, thinking, ‘Man, our name is mud.’  They’re on alert.  So, the king sends to Rahab and says ‘Look, we’ve heard these guys have come in, we believe they’re Israelis, we believe they’re here to spy out the land, and they’re in your place, we want you to give them up, we want you to hand them over.’  Verse 4 says this, and I love this, what the Lord says, “And the woman”---not the harlot, because he knew, she was somebody’s little girl, she’d been a toddler.  He knew the world had just beat the tar out of her, left her broken and shattered.  I love the Lord, he says the woman took the two men and hid them, and said thus,---as word came from the king---‘Yah, it’s true, two men came to me, no great news, I’m a harlot, happens all the time [laughter]---“There came two men to me, but I wist [knew] not whence they were”---‘I didn’t know where they were from’, she says.  And it came to pass about the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that men went out, and wherever the men went I wot [know] not”---I don’t’ know where they went, but---“pursue after them quickly and you’ll probably overtake them.”  Now it seems honest enough, she says to the king, ‘Hey, I got guys coming and going, you know the drill, that’s why you sent to me, and these came in about the time it got dark, so their wives wouldn’t see them leaving, that’s when they went out.  I didn’t know where they were from, I don’t know where they’re going, but it hasn’t been that long, if you pursue them you’ll probably be able to catch up with them.’  It seems reasonable.  Verse 6 says this, “But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax,”  Now that tells us that it’s spring time, that’s when the flax was harvested.  “which she had laid in order upon the roof.”  Now I want to back up and look at that verse a little later on. 

 

She sends “the pursuers” on a snipe-hunt

 

Let’s go down a few verses.  “And the men of the city pursued after them.”  So she sends them on a “snipe hunt”.  Any of you guys know what that is?  I was in the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, got all the way to Life, I was two merit badges from Eagle and I got involved with the wrong crowd, and ah, I don’t think my Scout Master ever forgave me.  [I love this guy!]  I bailed out.  But snipe hunt, you guys know what a snipe hunt is, when you send people out hunting snipe, there’s no such thing.  But that’s what she did, she sent these guys on a snipe hunt.  So it says here that ‘the men of Jericho pursued after these two guys, and they went the way of Jordan, so they went eastward, as they’re assuming they’re going to cross over the Jordan and go back to the camp of Israel on the other side, “unto the fords on the Jordan river.  And as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out of the city, then the people in Jericho closed the gates and locked them.’ 

 

“The LORD your God, he is God, in heaven above and earth beneath”

 

“And before they were laid down”---back to the two spies now---“she came up”---she comes up---“unto them upon the roof.”  So her house is on the wall of the city.  It would be typical, inner and outer wall, fifteen foot apart, to actually lay big beams across and to build the house right there spanning both walls (tremendous foundation in the natural mind), and these two men are not only on the wall, but then above that they’re up on the roof of the house [probably a big flat roof].  Imagine the view they have, from where they are.  Imagine what it was like for them to look down into Jericho, the city itself.  Imagine what is was for them to look over into the camp where their God was, and to see that pillar of fire at night, imagine the view these two men had as they looked.  We’re going to find out these are remarkable men.  Joshua has picked his spies carefully.  But she came up onto the roof to these two men, and let’s listen to her here.  “She said unto the men, ‘I know---not “I suppose, I guess”---“I know---notice this---“that the LORD---if you have the King James, that’s capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D, that’s JEHOVAL, YAHWEH, the God of the Jews [Israelites].  She says “I know”, she knows his name, “ I know that the LORD---notice, passed tense---“hath given you the land.”  ‘We’re sitting ducks.  This is a foregone conclusion.’  She says, ‘I know what the story is.  I know what’s happening here.  I know that the LORD, he’s given you the land, “and that your terror has fallen upon us,”  Notice, “and that all the inhabitants”---even giants---“all of the inhabitants of the land”---the Hebrew word is---melt because of you.”  That’s exactly what they were told on the other side of the Red Sea [in Exodus 15].  “They melt because of you.”  Notice this in verse 10, “For we have heard”---we’re going to here it down in verse 11 again.  “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”  “We have heard”, not ‘we watched the video.’  “We have heard how the LORD---please notice this---“dried up the water of the Red Sea.”  She didn’t say ‘We heard how you got through the Reed Sea, we heard you guys made it through the swamp, we heard you guys were all muddy and mucky trying to get through there.  She says “We heard how God dried up the waters of the Red Sea.”---forty years before this.  And it was a great and notable wonder.  She takes issue with it.  ‘We heard about the parting of the Red Sea.’  I don’t know how old she is.  Maybe she remembers hearing the story as she was a young girl.  She’s grown up, somewhere now, who knows, thirty, forty, fifty, she’s a harlot.  She says ‘We have heard, we’re melting before you, we know what’s going on.’  She may have heard from patrons, she’s a prostitute, we don’t know who she heard from.  She said, ‘We’ve heard how that the LORD, Jehovah dried up the water of the Red Sea for you.’   ‘And when you came out of Egypt, and what he did to the two kings of the Amorites that were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og.’  Now that’s a current event, that just happened within a year of this.  There’s a forty year span between those two events, and she’s got the whole thing tracked out.  She says “We’ve heard what he did to Sihon and Og, whom you’ve utterly destroyed”, ‘and the whole land was terrified of Sihon and Og.’  You know, as a harlot, she’s kind of like a bartender, like a psychologist in that day, she not only had patrons, but I’m sure they’d pour out their hearts to her.  She had merchants, this was a city where there were merchants and traders, they would come and she would hear, as she plied her business or harlotry, from some of her customers, ‘Yes, my father’s business was destroyed in Egypt with the plagues that came on the land, and the frogs and the lice, the whole land eaten up, and all the first-born died, and the Egyptian army, businesses, terrible…you should have heard, this God of the Jews, what he did...’, she must have heard, over and over, from different reports.  Then she’s hearing what happened---there’s no radio, she didn’t see it on Fox News…’We’ve heard’, she says again, ‘what he did to Sihon and Og.’  These things had come to her, and they had not only come to her, they had ministered to her heart in a very particular way.  Look in verse 11, “As soon as we heard---there it is again---“these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man because of you.  For the LORD your God”---listen to her---“he is God…”  I mean, I wish every harlot in America was saying that, don’t you?  (Wish every politician in America were saying that, as a matter of fact.)  The LORD your God, he is God, in heaven above and in earth beneath.”  Just listen to what’s happening in her.  We’re going to find out that what she’s heard about this God has touched her life.  She’s going to say, “Now there” verse 12, “I pray you swear unto me”---she wants part and parcel with this.  Because not only has she heard of his power, and his might---you see, the unrepentant heart, the others in Jericho and many in Canaan were terrified, and they were fearful, and they melted away.  But as she listened, she heard something else.  ‘This is a great and terrible and awesome God, but he is a merciful God.  He is a God of slaves.’  And she thought ‘I’m a slave, I’ve been a slave too long.’  And as people were being whipped in Egypt, making bricks for the Pharaoh, she thought, ‘I’m so tired of plying my trade.’  And he delivered his people, he’s a God whose the God of slaves, and he’s the God who delivers them.’  Aren’t you glad?  Because I was a slave, to drugs, to immorality.  You know, I watch the news now, and I see so many things being put in front of our nation, and nobody anymore saying “This is good” or “This is bad”, “This is right” or “This is wrong.”  But I can look back in my own life and look at those things when I lived in them, and say, “That was wrong” and what’s happening right now in my life is “Right.”  “That was bondage, and what’s happening in my life now is freedom.”  And when I lived by those standards, I was a slave to the Devil, and Jesus Christ has set me free, and I’m completely clear on the issues of right and wrong, there is a higher kingdom, and a higher politic, there’s someone else to look to, and he sets slaves free, and wants to do it for everyone in this nation.  He sets them free, and he set me free, and he set you free.  And she heard that, and somehow it has resonated with her.  While the rest of the land was terrified, this harlot on the wall has opened her heart to this Living God, a God of slaves, a deliverer, a merciful God.  And she’s thought, maybe I have a place.  It tells us in the book of Hebrews, it says “By faith, the harlot, the prostitute Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”  James, talking about our works proving our faith, said “Likewise also, was not Rahab the harlot justified by works when she had received the messengers and had sent them out another way.”  At the stake of her own life, at the stake of lying to the king of Jericho, there was something higher in her heart, in her mind, in her own earthly prosperity at that particular time.  She had embraced something higher, and James said she demonstrated her faith by the way she treated these two men the entire city was after.  She sent them out another way. 

 

A Proverbs 31 woman

 

Verse 6 told us this when we looked at it, very interesting.  It says “But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax…”  Notice this, “which she had laid”---please notice---“in order upon the roof.”  Gathering flax was an extremely laborious trade.  It was dirty, hard work.  And to take those stalks of flax, and take them all the way up on the wall and onto the roof, I don’t like to go to the 2nd floor sometimes, and I live in a split-level.  Imagine taking them all the way up there, the labour that was involved in that.  And she took them up there, and then they would soak them.  So she had to carry water up there.  And then when they soaked them for about two to three weeks, then they would lay them out in order, and the sun would dry them, and they would split open.  And the strands of fiber in there, they wove clothing from that, some of the fine linen clothing made from this flax that they wore in that culture.  And they would dye it.  And we’re told here, that she was not only someone who was gathering flax and working with her hands, but she had some of this dye, which was very expensive.  There was stone, mineral in the area, that was taken and put into these iron pots, and they would crush it and boil it in water, and then they would boil it down until the color was extremely intense.  And then they would take, because you didn’t have a way to just store dye then, they would take a rope and coil it around the inside of that pot, and then boil it all the rest of the way down till all the water went out, and the dye then would be housed in the rope.  And pieces of that rope where then sold, if you bought clothes and wanted to dye clothes, you would take a piece of that rope and put it in the pot with linen clothes or cotton clothes, whatever you had, and it would dye them.  And you only needed six to eight inches of a piece of that rope to dye garments.  So the fact that she has a rope that goes from her window to the ground, at least thirty foot long, tells us she us running quite a business there on her roof.  She’s running quite a business.  It tells us this in the book of Proverbs [31], about the virtuous woman.  It says “She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”  God describing the virtuous woman.  I think this woman is already demonstrating before these two men get there, that she has a genuine faith in the Living God.  Gathering flax, making dye, is not the work of a harlot.  It is a laborious task.  And there is some demonstration in this woman’s life that the God of Israel has already touched her heart, and already had a tremendous effect on her.  She must have been praying, ‘How do I get to be part of this, God I know what I’m doing is wrong, I know you are the God of gods, you are the God, you are the LORD, and you’re a God of slaves.  How do I get to be a part of this?’  She’s walking in the city, and she’s praying, and she bumps into two Israelis.  Now what are the chances of that?  Joshua said to the spies, “Go over into the land and spy out the land.”  They’re going to come back, and he’s going to say “Tell me about the land?”, and they’re going to say, ‘Ah, well we didn’t really see much of the land’…‘But what did you see over there?’, ‘Ah, prostitute’s house…’ [laughter]  ‘Guys!  Are you kidding me?!?’  ‘What kind of war plans are we gonna make?...’  They’re going to say, ‘Wait a minute, she’s a sister, she’s a daughter of Abraham, she’s a believer, and she gave us the report that the entire land is terrified of us, they’re melting away.  What God told us is completely true.’  In Deuteronomy chapter 2 and verse 25 he says the same thing, “The report of you will terrorize those that are in the land.”  This is not a military espionage journey, this ends up to be a trip for the benefit of one woman, as it were, that lives on the wall, and it ends up to be one trip to enhance their faith.  This report is so different than the  report of the spies that had come back in Kedesh Barnea [38 years before], these two guys are gonna come back and their gonna say “The whole land is trembling before us, the whole land is trembling before us.” 

 

“Hey Mom, hey Dad, you gotta listen to this…”

 

Look at verse 12, she says to the spies, “Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that you will also show kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token, and that you will save alive my father”---now she’s assuming the victory is “yours”---“that you will save alive my father, my mother, my brethren, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.’  And the men answered her, ‘Our lives for yours,”---‘even up, if this is what you want, this is what we’ll do, our lives for yours---“if you utter not our business”---‘If you keep this secret, and you don’t tell anyone, then your life will be spared.’---“And it shall be when the LORD hath given us the land”---notice it doesn’t say “And if the Lord gives us the land.”  Joshua picked these two spies very carefully.  He was listening to what was coming out of their mouths before he sent them in.  They probably were saying, ‘Spy?  Just let us in there, we’ll get ‘em, just let us go in there!  We talked to Caleb every night, just let us in there, we’ll stab those giants in the knees, when they bend over we’ll poke ‘em in the eyes, just let us in there!’  He picked these guys very carefully.  Because they say to this harlot, “and when God”, not “If God, “when God gives us the land, we will deal kindly and truly with thee” (verse 14).  Now, imagine what this “harlot” is going to have to do.  I’m not sure, you know, it is a strange culture, but the truth is, in every culture, harlotry has been looked down upon.  It was certainly not something that a Mom and a Dad wanted to hear their daughter announce, ‘Hey honey, what do you want to be when you grow up?’  ‘Eh, I want to be a harlot on the wall.’  That’s not the kind of thing that any parents want to hear from their daughter.  And, you know, this is a solitary faith.  Maybe you feel like you’re the only one in your family, and you’re alone [yup, that applies].  Listen to her.  She’s going to have to go to her father’s house, to her mother, to her brothers who might despise her.  She’s going to have to say to them, ‘Israeli spies came to my place.’  ‘What?!’   ‘The God of Israel, that big pillar of fire over there, that God who slaughtered the Egyptians, who killed Sihon and Og, he’s given a token to me, a token of kindness.  And they promised me that if you come to my house, when the children of Israel come in and destroy the city, we’re going be spared.’  Did her brother’s say ‘I’m fighting in the army with Jericho’?  ‘What are you talking about, when they defeat us?’  And did she say, ‘No, no you don’t understand, I’m going to hang down a scarlet rope from my window, and all of the other families are going to be slaughtered, but we’re going to be spared because of this scarlet thread hanging in my window.’  What was it like for her to try to explain that to them?  What’s it like for you to try to explain to your family, ‘Yea, everybody is destroyed except for somebody that has the scarlet thread.’  ‘Everybody dies except for those who have the blood of Jesus.’  The scarlet thread goes from Cain and Abel and the sacrifice in the Garden of Aden all the way to Jesus Christ on the cross.  It goes all the way through the Old Testament, and winds its way through our culture today.  And it’s still as simple as that, this scarlet thread, the blood of Jesus Christ.  What a picture it is for us.  And think of how difficult if was for her. 

 

Every wall is going to fall

 

If you’re in a difficult time with your family, don’t be afraid, because every wall is going to fall to the ground, the Bible tells us, not just Jericho.  The wall that’s called America is going to crumble.  We have sown to the wind, we’re going to reap the whirlwind.  God owes it to the rest of the world to let this experiment fail.  We don’t guard our borders to keep people in, we guard our borders to keep people out.  Did you ever notice that?  And people are thinking this is the last great hope.  And I am a patriot, and I love this nation, and I think it’s the greatest experiment in democracy that’s going.  But it will also fail, the Bible tells us that.  And in this scene, a trumpet will blow, and everything will begin to fall down.  And in our culture, the day is coming when a spiritual force and a great leader named Joshua [Hebrew: Yeshua, Greek: Jesus] will have his way, descend with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and the walls of man’s culture and civilization are going to go down [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_2.htm] .  And the ones that are going to be spared are the ones that have genuine faith.  It’s interesting, when we get to chapter 6, it says they blew the trumpet, and they all went up.  I just like the way that sounds, I just like the way that sounds. 

 

“Go west, young men”, then she witnesses to her parents

 

What an interesting woman, what a solitary faith she has.  One that goes to witness to her Mom and Dad, we’ve all done that, we’ve all had that burden.  Very interesting picture.  Then it says in verse 15, after they said, ‘OK, you keep our business secret, you work with us, you’re going to be spared, it says “Then she let them down by a cord”---the Hebrew is “a rope”---“through the window, for her house was upon the city wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.  And she said unto them, ‘Get you into the mountain,”---Now she’s telling them to go west.  Where Jericho is, those of you who go, we go and you’ll see, the Jordan is eastward, and Jericho is built in the plain, and you have to go west to go up into the mountains.  She’s saying, ‘Don’t go east towards the river, that’s where they’re going to be looking for you, go west, go up into the hills,’ she’s saying to them.  She says, “Get you into the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you, and hide yourself there three days.’---Isn’t that interesting?---“until the pursuers be returned.   And afterwards then you can go your way.’”  After three days they’re going to be tired of looking for you, they’re going to figure you’re back over on the other side, then it will be safe for you.’  “And the men said unto her, ‘We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear, unless behold, consider, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread”---now it wasn’t a scarlet thread, because they just let themselves down with it, it’d really have to be strong thread---“thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window, which thou didst let us down by”---so this rope---“and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s house home with thee.”  And we long to do that, don’t we?---with our Moms and Dads and our families, so see them saved.  You guys that are witnessing to your parents, don’t give up, don’t grow weary.  My Mom, I witnessed to her for nineteen years before she got saved.  And she’s a believer now.  Nineteen years, and for the first ten at least, they thought I was a raving lunatic.  Because before that, I had been the Bagavavita, the Upanishad, you know, vegetarian for a number of years, Hathi-yoga, Ragi-yoga, Kundalini-yoga, I mean, I was in outer-space, and then all of a sudden I was talking about Jesus, and they thought “Oh no, after Jesus, there’s going to be flying saucers, that’s all that’s left after this, you know.”  But then, they watched the change, they saw something consistent.  It says that “we’re living Epistles, known and read of all men”, and they couldn’t deny.  Then they’d start coming to church once in a while, thinking ‘All these poor people here, they’re listening to him.’  And then, wonderfully, wonderfully, my Mom and my Dad, and my Dad’s home with the Lord now, both gave their lives to Jesus Christ.   Don’t grow weary, continue to share the truth, and love them.  God’s Word doesn’t return void.  “Gather with you your father, your mother, your brethren, your father’s household, bring them all home with you, and it shall be that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless.  And whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head”---it’ll be our responsibility to preserve his life---“if any hand be upon them”  (verses 18b-19).---it’ll be our responsibility.’  [This almost sounds like the Passover instructions for the Israelites 40 years prior to this, found in Exodus 12---and it’s quite similar, along with the salvation it brings her family.]  Now, you have to understand they never read the chapter before.  Because there is an interesting problem they’re going to have here.  They’re going to go back, get across the river, and convince Joshua that their spying campaign was successful, and I’m sure as he listens he’s going to understand what God was doing.  And then they’re going to say, ‘But we made a covenant with her because she helped us, she’s a believer.’  ‘Well, what kind of a covenant?’  ‘Well we just told her, look, hang the red rope out your window’…they didn’t know about marching around, but as the children of Israel marched around they’re going to see it every time they go around, they’re going to see that rope.  But Joshua is going to come along and he’s going to say, ‘Hey guys, I know what you told this woman, but the Lord told me you’re going to walk around seven days, on the seventh day we’re going to walk around seven times, we’re going to shout and blow the trumpet, and all the walls are going to fall down.  And you made her promise her whole family should be in the house on top of the wall???  I don’t know what’s going to happen here guys.’  Now of course when we get to chapter 6, what we find out is, all the walls fell down, except one portion of wall that stood there with a house on top of it with a red cord hanging from the window, that I’m sure Rahab and her family used to get down.  Ah, there were no more stairs, the rest of the city was gone.  But these guys don’t know, imagine, they’re going to come back and report to Joshua, and then hear what the plan of conquest is going to look like.  And they had said to Rahab, “And if thou utter this our business, then we will quit thine oath”---‘we’ll be through with it, we won’t be bound to it’---“that thou hast made us swear.’  And she said then, ‘According unto your words, so be it.’ And she sent them away, and they departed.  And she bound the scarlet cord in her window” (verses 20-21).  Now look, believing God’s Word, how preposterous does this sound?  Hanging the scarlet thread out of your window, everybody’s going to be destroyed, but you’re going to survive.  She’s changed her citizenship, brought her family in, she’s gone through all of this, and she’s going to convince them all, like you’re trying to convince your friends and relatives, ‘It’s that simple, it’s just that scarlet thread, just that simple, it’s not because we do good, I was a harlot, it’s because of who this God is, because of how merciful he is, and all we have to have on our behalf is this scarlet thread, and we’re going to be preserved.’  That’s the same story you’re trying to convince some of your friends and relatives who grew up ‘religious’, and you can appreciate things about that, but they’re not born-again, they don’t know Jesus Christ, and you’re trying to convince them of the simplicity of God’s covenant and all of this, as this harlot had to undertake with her life.  [Another thing to consider.  If any one of her family she revealed this to went to the king or anyone else in Jericho, she was dead.  She had to take that chance.  She could have been selfish and kept her mouth shut.  She didn’t.  She risked her life to save her family.  She didn’t come first in her own eyes.]

 

report of a completely different kind of fruit

 

“And they went, and they came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned.  And the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not.  So the two men returned and descended from the mountain, and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him”---notice---“all things that befell them” (verses 22-23).   But Joshua’s going to hear, you know, 38 years before this, in the Book of Numbers, it says there “And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, they cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between the two of them on a staff, and they brought of the pomegranate and the figs.  The place was called the Brook of Eschol because of the cluster of grapes, which the children of Israel cut down from there.  And they returned from searching out the land for forty days, and they went and they came to Moses, to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel unto the wilderness of Paran to Kadesh, and they brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation.  And they showed them the fruit of the land.  And they told them and said, ‘We came unto the land wither thou sentest us, and surely it flows with milk and honey, and this is the fruit of it.’”  And then of course, “‘Nevertheless, the people are strong’” and they’re terrible and so forth.’  These two guys come back with a report of a completely different kind of fruit.  ‘We have seen, Joshua, fruit in the land, unimaginable, we found a harlot, living on the wall.  Just the word of our God has transformed her life.  Joshua, the fruit is wonderful.  And the rest of the nation that would be rebellious are in terror.  They’re melting in front of us.”  Much different kind of fruit they come back and report to Joshua.  “And they said unto Joshua, ‘Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all of the land, even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.’”  Listen, several things, as we look at this.  Part of this, God loves one harlot.  Back in Genesis chapter 15, verse 16, God there said to Abraham he was going to take his descendants down into Egypt for 400 years, because he said “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet come to a full.”  God is so patient with a nation, he waits, and he waits, and he waits, and he waits to bring judgment.  He waited in regards to Canaan four hundred years.  And there were those in the land of Canaan that knew of Abraham, that knew of Jacob, that knew what happened when Joseph sent up a great envoy from Egypt to gather Jacob and his brothers.  There were those in the land of Canaan that knew of the great deliverance that took place.  In fact, some historians feel that one of the pharaohs, after Hatshepsut (who was “the daughter of pharaoh” mentioned in Exodus 2:15), was so angered that he came up into Canaan  with his whole rebuilt army and chariot force because he thought that’s where the children of Israel had escaped to, they came up and slaughtered thousands in the land of Canaan, just taking vengeance in Canaan.  [This pharaoh didn’t realize Israel was wandering in the wilderness for forty years, and hadn’t gotten to the land of Canaan yet.  But during this forty year sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness, their arch-enemy, Amenhotep II had died.  But just three years after the crossing at the Red Sea, Amenhotep II did send his recently rebuilt army and chariot force into Canaan, and slaughtered many, as well as taking 101,000 slaves of the Canaanites to replace his lost slave-base in Egypt.  To see some pretty astounding research on this, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html .]  The Canaanites must be now thinking, ‘We didn’t stand a chance against them (the Egyptians under Amenhotep II), and if the God of Israel destroyed them [the Egyptians], well how are we ever going to stand before the God of Israel?’  Clear testimony had come to them.

 

Rahab takes away our excuses

 

And Rahab is always a testimony of the fact that in any culture, God is gracious and is willing to stoop down, even to the harlot, the crack addict, the pusher on the street.  He’s willing to gather to himself anyone in any condition that’s going to believe in him.  And we have the story of this one harlot that lives on a wall.  This is an exhortation for us.  Rahab takes away all of our excuses, and she demands faith from us.  There isn’t anybody sitting here this evening that can say “I was too bad, God can’t love me.  I was too immoral, I’ve ruined my family wasting all our money at Atlantic City, I’ve done too many things, I’ve stepped over too many lines, God can’t love me.”  Rahab takes away our excuses, and she demands genuine faith.  If you look at these spies, the challenge for you is to spy out what they have spied out.  Do you really want to enter into the promises of God and all of the things he has for you?  Then you need to realize it’s not by works, it’s not by anything you do on your own.  The God of heaven has sent his Son to die in your place, to shed his blood, and that scarlet thread is the lesson that hangs in front of us in regards to receiving the promises of God by faith.  Oh it doesn’t give us an excuse to live however we would, that’s not what I’m saying at all.  But you and I should spy out what these spied out.  Listen, God loves this woman.  God loves this woman more than you can imagine.  And she turned to him in simple faith.  She’s going to marry an Israelite [Salmon, who may have actually been one of the two spies], this prostitute is going to marry an Israelite.  She’s going to have children.  Her son’s name is Boaz.  And when others would turn their back on Ruth because she’s a Moabite, Boaz has no problems because his mother had been a Canaanite prostitute who had come to genuine faith in the Living God, and had taught him his whole life about the love and the power of God.  And Boaz her son will take Ruth, who will have a son named Obed, who will have a son named Jesse, who will have a son named David [the shepherd King of Israel].  This is the great-grandma of the King of Israel, David.  And she is the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandma of David’s King.  It says in Matthew chapter 1, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, Jacob begot Judas---I know all these begots will put you to sleep---Judas [Judah] begot Pharez of Tamar, who had posed as a prostitute, and Pharez begot Ezrom, and Ezrom begot Aram, and Aram begot Aminadab, and Aminadab begot Naasson, Naasson begot Salmon.  And Salmon begot Boaz of Rahab.”  Salmon’s going to marry a woman, Rahab.  And Boaz begot Obed of Ruth, and Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the King of Israel, and we follow it all the way down to Jesus Christ.  [See http://www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew1-1-17.htm  for more coverage on Jesus’ genealogy.]  The King of Israel (Jesus, Yeshua) chose Rahab, the prostitute on the wall, to be in his family photo.  You know, we send those out at Christmas time, family pictures.  And in the Lord’s picture is Rahab, a harlot standing there, ‘my’ great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandma, Rahab the prostitute.  She takes away all of our excuses.  There isn’t anyone here tonight that has an excuse to turn away from Jesus Christ.  You can make them up, but they are not substantiated in God’s Word.  You can make mistakes, and think that you’re not perfect.  You ain’t.  That’s not news.  Ain’t gonna be on TV.  ‘The whole country is shocked, they just discovered so and so is not perfect.’  We all know that.  Revelation chapter 5 says ‘that John wept bitterly because no man was found worthy in heaven, on the earth, or under the earth.’  I don’t know, when I finally saw that, that was a tremendous relief for me, because I thought for sure I had to be the one worthy.  No man, no man, no woman has ever been found worthy.  But the Lamb, behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he hath been found worthy to open the scroll, to loose the seals thereof, and I turned, lo, in the midst of the throne, and in the midst of the elders, and in the midst of the cherubim was a Lamb with the marks of slaughter upon him, having seven horns and seven eyes that go out into all of the earth’, an omnipotent, omniscient Lamb with the marks of slaughter on him, the scarlet thread, the scarlet thread.  He loves you, he’s paid the price in full for you.  If you don’t know him, you can come to him this evening and make him your Lord and Saviour.  Those of you who are believers, that are learning and growing in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, and spying out the promises of God, spy this one out.  Make sure you see her clearly.  Make sure you understand the grace of God demonstrated, before you try to take anything in and of your own merit.  May you understand…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Joshua 2:1-24, by Joe Focht Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, © 1996, used by permission.]

 

Dedicated to Steffanie Jo         

 See:    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/september/24.71.html?start=1

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