In Joshua 2, we read about a lady who loved her hometown, but came to love the God of the whole earth even more. She lived in Jericho–a fortress city on the edge of Canaan. Through some mysterious way, she believed the stories she heard about Moses, the warnings God gave the Egyptians, the Red Sea parting, and the fierce destruction about to come to her hometown. She believed God’s promise to give her town and lots of surrounding land to these slaves coming out of Egypt and the desert. She knew she needed a rescue plan!
(I love my hometown. Do you love yours? It would be hard for me to give it up, see it wiped out. It would be hard to trust two strangers to keep their promise to save me and all my family. But this story is mostly about faith in the God of the whole world so we don’t want to get side-tracked!)
“‘And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath….And she tied the scarlet cord in the window'” (Joshua 2:11; 21).
Rahab hid two spies, helped them escape, and tied a scarlet ribbon in her window to mark where she lived. Her faith that God would keep his promises caused her to do all these things. She was fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Abraham had this same kind of faith. Paul says that
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’ (Romans 4:21-22) .
Rahab’s faith was counted by God in the same way. Her faith was like Abraham’s.
The spies kept their promise and came back for her. Her family were the only ones from Jericho to live!
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Rehab is a reminder to us of what this grace is like. No one else in her hometown believed. No one else helped rescue two of God’s people. Why her? It was all about God. God stirred her heart to love him more than she loved her hometown! That grace was the mystery that caused her to believe God was God of the whole earth, and not only of the descendents of Abraham.
The Old Testament makes more sense when we know what the New Testament says. This mystery of the way God worked in Rehab’s heart is further explained in Ephesians where Paul tells us, “…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world,..” (Ephesians 1:4). Rehab was not from Abraham’s family. Her culture worshiped idols and even sacrificed their babies to them! She had nothing to do with the Jews. She probably had never met one before meeting the spies.
“This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:4).
Her faith and her actions help us remember there is a way of escape for all who believe in Christ Jesus, the Lord of the whole earth.
Why not ask God to give you a new heart like this and to give you full confidence that he will keep his promises? You, too, can have this experiential faith that God will keep His promises and rescue us.