Rahab and the Spies
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.
The king of Jericho was told, “Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 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.”
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. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 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.
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given this land to you 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. 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. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 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 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.”
“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.”
So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. Now she had 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.”
The men said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 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. If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him. But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”
“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.
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. 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. 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.”
Rahab was surprised by these men who just showed up. She was obviously aware as was all of Jericho of the power and might of Israel. She knew that God was with them and all of Jericho was filled with fear. She helped the spies. She hid them. She distracted the soldiers looking for the spies. She did everything. I would say that she did everything right. She did everything that was asked of her. And her window was part of the wall of Jericho. This means that it could have easily been notated by the soldier. They could have said, it is the 11th window on the east wall moving from right to left. We read later in Joshua 6 that Joshua sent the spies to go and rescue her and her family. And I have to ask myself, “Did they really need the scarlet cord. They knew where they went. They knew her face. Yet, they assured her that if the scarlet cord was not there, their agreement was not binding. Even though she had done everything asked of her, the scarlet cord was made essential to the agreement.
We are seeing a rise of churches, denominations, and false teachers who are teaching salvation by good works; salvation by obedience. To be Christlike has become the standard for salvation in these churches, but this is an absolute lie from the pits of Hell. The problem with this doctrine is that it does not deal with sin. It never addresses the fact that sin has made us ineligible for salvation. No matter how many good deeds we do, it does not erase the fact that we have sinned. Even if I were to become absolutely perfect today (which is not going to happenJ), it would still not expunge the sins of my past. Obedience does not wipe out sin. It never will. You may never tell a lie. You may never cheat, steal, or lust. You might do everything right, but even then, there must be a scarlet cord in your window.
The blood of Jesus Christ must be draped over our heart. It is His blood that represents His life given for ours. We accept His sacrifice as that thing that punishes our sin and the Lord who is a just God will not punish our sin twice. He will not punish Christ on the cross for our sin and then also punish us. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, the punishment for our sin is poured out on Christ and we are set free. Only Christ could make this sacrifice because He never sinned. His perfection made him the only one eligible to set us free from sin. Had Jesus sinned, his death would have been his punishment for His own sin and our sin would still be upon us. But His innocence allowed Him to die for my sin and yours. This is the only way. There must be a scarlet cord.
Do you give praise and glory to Christ as if He were the only One who could have set you free? I only ask this because without His death, there would be no escape from our sin.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!