The Story of Rahab Part 3
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
But because they feared God, they did not do what the king had commanded and when he called them into his presence to explain their actions, they lied.
They told him, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the Midwives arrive.” That was a lie.
And in Exodus 1:21, we are told that because they feared God and lied, God blessed them and even gave them children of their own because of it.
Does this mean that it is OK to tell a lie? No! Does it mean that we should never lie? No!
Notice some of the things that the Midwives and Rahab have in common when telling their lies.
First, each of them was in a life of death situation.
Secondly, in each situation, the ones who told the lies did so to protect the lives of others and not their own.
Thirdly, by telling these lies, each woman put themselves in greater danger than if they had simply told the truth.
In other words, in telling these lies, it did not benefit them personally in any way. In fact, it only put them at greater risk of losing everything, including their very lives.
Rahab lied, the Midwives lied, but, in neither one of these examples, are these lies told for the benefit of the one’s who told them nor were they told for their own protection.
If we are to conclude anything from this, it would be that the protection of human life justifies a lie, if we are willing to put our own lives on the line in order to protect the lives of others.
Perhaps a good illustration of this would be, the lies told by those hiding Jews during World War II, when the Nazis asked for their whereabouts.
And those who were hiding them lied, thus putting their own lives at greater risk than if they would have told the truth.
So, if the last lie that you told was not under these circumstances or for any of these reasons, you sinned and it was not pleasing to God.
Let us return to our story to find out what happened to those two spies after they left Rahab’s house.
According to verse 22, after they left her house, they hid in the hills for three days. Then, according to 3:1-2, after arriving back at camp, they stayed there for three days.
After those three days are over, the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground, as their fathers had when they crossed through the Red Sea.
Once they crossed the Jordan River, they stayed at least three more days resting and erecting a pillar of twelve stones as a memorial for their children to remind them of what great deeds God had done for them.
Then, Joshua, had all the men take upon themselves the sign of the covenant, circumcision, and so more time was required for healing.
Joshua then reinstituted the Passover, and the manna from heaven ceased for ever. Then in chapter six, the marching begins.
The entire Israelite army in full armored array is commanded to circle the city, one time around, and they are to do this for six consecutive days, without a word being said.
Each day, after the Israelites have circled the entire city in complete silence, the troops turn back and go back to camp for the night.
Can you imagine Rahab’s excitement on that first day when she saw the troops march around the city?
Surely, she must have thought that all her efforts in getting her mother, father, brothers, sisters, and their families to stay in her place of ill repute must have all made sense to them now.
But can you imagine her disappointment when all they did that day was march around the city in silence, and then leave?
As she sees this happening from her city wall window, she has only two things to rely on.
First, the promise of the spies, that they would spare her life and that of her family.
Second, the red cord that hung from her window which was not only a reminder of their escape but also of their promise to return.
And keep in mind that this red cord was visible to all. It was hanging from the city wall. And it was scarlet in color.
How many times do you think people, asked her what it meant? How many times did she have to bite her lip in order not to tell what was about to happen?
Remember, if she told, the deal would be off. But would they know it? No!
She must have believed that the God of heaven above and the earth below would.
Can you imagine what her family members must have said to her each day after the whole Israelite army would march around the city and then leave in silence?
They must have reminded her, “Rahab, you’re a prostitute. Don’t you know what men always tell prostitutes, that they’ll be back, but never do? They must have just said those things to keep you from talking. They may have wives and children of their own; they’re not going to save you.”
What must Rahab have been thinking of God, during her time of waiting? How did she explain his actions to her family?
While the crossing of the Jordan must have been impressive, what about the piling up of a bunch of rocks?
What about the UN-warlike actions of cutting off foreskins and lying around recovering for three days? And what about the Passover, that must have looked like one big barbecue?
And then to see them do nothing more than to march around and around and around the city without even a whimper from any of them.
The men never even gave her a deadline or a date for their return.
She had taken all the risks, she had kept up her part of the bargain, by hanging a red cord out of her window for everyone to see and question.
She had put the credibility of her family on the line by getting them to live with her. Just because she was a prostitute doesn’t mean that her father and mother, brothers and sisters were bad people.
Can you see why God would use her as an example of faith for all those who would come after her? Her faith was greater than those who had witnessed with their own eyes, the crossing of the Red Sea.
With all they’d experienced, they still didn’t have the faith in God that a pagan woman would have some forty years later.
Here was a woman who had risked everything to be on God’s side.
Now, here is the main point of this lesson, and I will pose it to you in the form of a question. Ready?
What tactical knowledge had the two spies come to Jericho to obtain?
Did they need to know how thick the walls were?
I don’t think so; because they didn’t even know themselves that God was intending to knock them down.
Did they go in order to determine what kind of weapons they were going to need, to defeat these people? I don’t think so.
None of these things were factors in conquering the city, were they?
God wasn’t going to need any of that stuff in order to bring down the walls of Jericho, was He?
I believe that those spies were sent to Jericho for one purpose and for one purpose only.
They were sent there to find Rahab and to assure her of salvation and to mark her home so that she would be protected when the fighting started.
I believe that God delayed the taking of the land for His people in order to rescue one solitary woman whom He knew had the heart to believe in him.
And He knew that she believed in him in spite of the fact that she never saw one single miracle of His. “The just shall live by faith and not by sight.”
And God gave her the conviction needed to persuade others to believe in Him also.
Of all the places to be on the seventh day, when the Israelite army marched around the city one last time, the most dangerous place to be was on the wall because that was going to come crashing down.
And yet, when the troops of Israel marched around the city six times, and on the seventh time blew their trumpets and shouted, the home of Rahab did not come crashing down.
That part of the wall remained standing. She and all who were in her home were saved.
What’s the lesson in that for us? We, too, live on the basis of promises by a Man, who came to our sinful world and then left, assuring us that He’d be back.
And like the spies in Rahab’s story, this Man didn’t give us a specific timetable either. Why did He come? It wasn’t just to look around.
It wasn’t because He needed to know if He was going to be able to accomplish what He wanted to do. He came for you. Just for you.
And if you were the only person on this planet who believed in Him, He still would have come, just for you.
But He is coming back for us, all of us, because He knows that we are as sinful as any prostitute, after all, to Him, one sin is as evil as the next.
They all separate us from the Father.
Many times it must look to us like His actions aren’t very productive.
Why does He do things like pile up rocks in our lives?
Why doesn’t He just remove the heavy burdens that we must bear?
Why does it seem sometimes as if God is just moving in circles in our lives?
Where is He? Where is His mighty hand? Doesn’t He even notice us?
And we too, have been given the responsibility to try with all our powers to persuade our families to stay in the only safe place, which is within His kingdom.
Sometimes we must convince our loved ones that His promise is worth risking everything for.
He left us with the Holy Spirit and the promise of His return.
And the scarlet cord of our lives must be the reality of the blood of Jesus Christ that streamed down the cross; it is our only hope for salvation.
But we must be brave enough to display it, talk about it, and to live by it.
Because He is coming back.