Again we look at a woman who did not like herself and therefore used her body to get men, hoping that this would bring her some love and security.
This time it is different. We have a very exciting success story with an amazing end result, just the opposite to the story of Delilah. Rahab was an innkeeper in the city of Jericho. She earned her money by prostitution but when faced with the one True Living God she is overcome by faith in Him, wants to change her lifestyle, and is pleased for the opportunity to put her faith into action.
Rahab lived right on the edge of the city wall, as close as she could get to being an outcast. In her day it was normal for women, rather than men, to be the innkeepers and Rahab provided the ‘extra service’ for travellers. Being in the Inn would enable her to hear all the stories the travellers would tell of the amazing things that Jehovah had done for the Israelites. She learned how God had dried up the Red Sea to lead the people out of Egypt (Exodus 12:42) and how He had destroyed Sihon and Og who had not allowed the Israelites to travel through their land, Numbers 21:21-31. Instead of being full of fear because of these amazing stories, Rahab was thrilled to hear about a God who was real (Psalm 66:5-7) and cared (Psalm 68:19) enough about His people to deliver them (Psalm 35:1-3) when they were in trouble, Psalm 56:3-4. She learned that Jehovah is an all-powerful (Psalm 65:6-9) miracle-working God who cares for individuals and can save them from certain death, Psalm 91:14-16.
Her Inn was strategically placed for the spies to stay undercover, being positioned on the wall higher than those around her, and where others believed that they were her clients. The spies would be able to hear the local gossip and test out the situation within the city and find out that the men of Jericho were very fearful of Israel, because of God. God had gone before them and prepared the heart of Rahab to receive them. The timing was perfect as the season was harvest time for the flax and so this was all stacked up on the roof to dry out. Rahab hid them under the flax when the King of Jericho’s intelligence services told him that Israel had sent scouts into the city and he wanted them captured.
When faced with an opportunity to put her faith into action, Rahab made a split-second decision to join with the people of God, put her old lifestyle and her own nation behind her and obey the leading of God. She knew He was the only one who could save her. Imagine if Rahab had the same spirit as Delilah (Judges 16:1-21) she would have used her seductive ways to stop the spies, keep them occupied and they would have all died in the fall of Jericho! She knew faith was not just believing in her heart that the God of Israel could save her but she had to put the belief into action (James 2:24-26), so she did not delay. She hung the red cord in her window (Joshua 2:21) without understanding with her head what it was all about.
She also used the situation to benefit herself and her family, “Since I have saved your lives, will you in turn save mine and that of my family?” This also was a step of faith; she had to trust the men; believing that what she was expecting to happen would happen. She had to explain to her family, taking their negative attitude and she had to keep up the pretence to her neighbours. She didn’t know how long it would be till the siege would be over.
It was only one week later that Rahab knew there had been a repeat of the crossing of the Red Sea as the children of Israel walked with dry feet over the Jordan River at the season of flooding (Joshua 3). Sometime later she saw a swarm of Israelites walking round her city in silence. This continued for six more days. We can be sure that she checked her scarlet cord several times a day, ensuring that it was visible for all to see, so no mistakes could be made.
She must have constantly reassured her family, who up until this point had probably had very little to do with her, due to her loose moral lifestyle. On the seventh day the children of Israel again walked solemnly around the walls of Jericho seven times, (Joshua 6:15-21) with the tension on both sides of the wall becoming unbearable. Inside, all the people were terrified as they speculated as to what must eventually happen, but in Rahab’s house there was a sense of hope and excited expectation as she had a covenant with the people of God and so with God Himself, evidenced by the scarlet cord.
The Scarlet Cord
Rahab needed a sign from the men so they agreed that a scarlet cord tied round her window would be a sign to the Israelites that this house, and all the people in it, were not to be harmed. Watching from her vantage point she must have wondered and talked about exactly how the children of Israel would take the city. Nothing would have prepared her for what she was about to see. As the phenomenal shout went up, the trumpets sounded, and the earth began to tremble, the unbelievable began to happen, Joshua 6:20. Rahab needed all her new-found faith to believe for her and her family’s safe deliverance. As her eyes told her that her home was going to crumble like the rest of the wall that had protected the city for all these years, she had to keep her eyes fixed on the scarlet cord that was the only difference between her safety and her neighbour’s disaster.
God has always wanted an unbroken relationship with His children, just like He had in the Garden of Eden. That has always been His plan. In Eden, when Satan started to prevent that, as he still does today, God already had a plan to combat his evil intent……….. The Blood.
As soon as man sinned God made them garments of animal skins (Genesis 3:21) so the blood of animals was shed for the covering of sin. All through history God has made promises to man and confirmed His Word with shed blood. God made a covenant (unbreakable promise) with Abraham for amazing blessings (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) of health; prosperity in every area; and victory. God confirmed these blessings with a blood covenant (Genesis 15:9-18). Nothing short of a blood agreement would have convinced Abraham that God meant what He said. He was so convinced that God would keep His covenant promise that he could lay his precious son on an altar to burn him as a living sacrifice.
So it was in Moses day, that the only thing that protected the children of Israel from the angel of death when they were slaves in Egypt was the blood of a perfect lamb daubed on their doorposts Exodus 12:7-23. All through the Old Testament there are explanations of the Covenant that God cut with Abraham and his seed, in the form of the various offerings Hebrews 9:18-22.
Finally God Himself comes in human form. Jesus shed His own blood once and for all for the complete washing away of our sin. Sin is not just covered but completely removed. Jesus kept the covenant agreement He had with His Father in His life. He was then able to be our Perfect Lamb (1 Peter 1:18-20) sacrificed, instead of us, so we can be free, Galatians 3:13-14. Every diabolical plan and demonic attack from our whole life was laid on Jesus at the Cross. He totally stripped the devil of all the authority he had stolen, taking all the curses, so we could walk in all the blessings. His own blood was shed, so we could have a covenant with the Father sealed in blood, which can never be annulled.
The reason the blood covenant is cut is to show;
a) love and devotion.
b) protection and
So we see that blood has always been God’s plan all the way through the Bible for holding Him to His covenant promises in the Word. Every promise we have for our life in the Word is sealed by the Blood of Jesus. This is a guarantee that God will fulfil them. Today we have a better covenant than Rahab’s (Hebrews 10:9-10) as ours is written in the shed blood of Jesus by which we are made the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21. The old covenant was for the flesh but the New Covenant is for the inner person, Hebrews 9:8-14.
Rahab is the most amazing picture of the fulfillment of the promise made to her and her family, Joshua 2:14. Through her faith (Hebrews 11:30-31) she received safety from God when the walls came down all around her, but she was kept safe. Also she was brought out of her house by the spies and was established in a place of safety, Joshua 6:22-25. The sign of blood put over her building protected her and her whole household.
More than ever in our time we must daily apply the Blood of Jesus to our households and property by faith believing for complete protection wherever we go. If there is any form of physical problem, we must know how to trust the blood of Jesus and how to stand. When everyone else’s homes are falling round them, we can believe God to completely protect our belongings and whole family, Psalm 91; Revelation 12:11.
Rahab went on to marry a man called Salmon and they had a son named Boaz. He married Ruth and she became the great-great-grandmother of King David and they are all named in the lineage of Jesus, Matthew 1:5. What an amazing success story from the life of a woman who started as a prostitute. When faced with the ultimate choice she put her faith in the living God and ‘went and sinned no more’, John 8:11.
No.10 – Rahab the rescuer and the Rescued! Challenge Questions
- Read the notes ‘Rahab the rescuer and the Rescued’. What challenged you most about her faith?
- What did you understand about the ’Scarlet Cord’ and its relevance today? What promise in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 are you holding onto and does God give any condition attached to the promise?
- Do you have a personal testimony about God protecting you in a specific situation?
Read Ruth 1 and Ruth 2.
- Describe the situation that Ruth finds herself in after 10 years of marriage (Ruth 1:1-7).
- What was her relationship like with her mother-in-law? (Ruth 1:8-18).
- What time of year did Naomi and Ruth return to Israel? (Ruth 1:22).
- What does Ruth’s willingness to glean tell us about her character? (Ruth 2:2-3; Ruth 2:7).
- What were Ruth’s chances of marrying again and why? (Ruth 2:2; Ruth 2:10).
- How does Boaz provide for Ruth? How does he protect her? (Ruth 2:8-9; Ruth 2:14-15).
- How does Ruth see herself?
- What do you think caused Naomi to stop being bitter? (Ruth 2:20).
- a) Can you relate either to Ruth or to Naomi? b) What have you learnt from their story that you can apply to your own situation?
- Do you think loyalty is still relevant today? Why?
Learn “….under whose wings I have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2:12