- What is the big deal with Rahab?
- Jesus – “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.” (Matthew 1:5-6 NIV11)
- Faith hero held up to us as an example – “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” (James 2:24-26 NRSV)
- Today – the quality of her faith and how it blessed her family
- Her request – “The LORD your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the LORD that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2:12-13 NRSV)
- Faith obedience — “The men said to her, “We will be released from this oath that you have made us swear to you if we invade the land and you do not tie this crimson cord in the window through which you let us down, and you do not gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your family…She said, “According to your words, so be it.” She sent them away and they departed. Then she tied the crimson cord in the window.” (Joshua 2:17-21 NRSV)
- We cannot be certain as to the origin of the significance of the crimson cord, if there was one.
- In itself it is insignificant. A piece of cord is not an important object. Except, that it is — in this context.
- Can you imagine how carefully she tied it to the window? I’m sure it was the tightest knot she ever made.
- I wonder if she had some scarlet cord handy? Perhaps she had some blue or green cord. That was not good enough. She not only put the code in the window, but made sure it was the right colour.
- Did she risk people asking her why she had put the cord out of her window? How would she explain it?
- Her obedience was immediate, precise and courageous.
Her face was demonstrated in this obedience. What saved her was not the chord, but her faith in the God who revealed the significance of the cord for her salvation.
- The faith reward – “So the young men who had been spies went in and brought Rahab out, along with her father, her mother, her brothers, and all who belonged to her—they brought all her kindred out—and set them outside the camp of Israel.” (Joshua 6:23 NRSV)
- Rahab prioritises her family, not herself. She sees her opportunity for salvation as something she wants others to experience.
- Just about the highest value for a woman in ancient society was in terms of her relation to husband, father and children. So her concern for her family is, in this passage, presented as making her ‘righteous’ (see the Proverbs 31 woman, with parallels concerning family, industry, flax and crimson clothing).
- ‘The term for family is literally ‘house of the father’. This appears in the Bible as a description of an extended family governed by the eldest male. Members of a family often lived together in a cluster of dwellings… Rahab requests a sure sign (Heb. ʾôt ʾĕmet) that this deliverance will be accomplished. The sign is the oath that she wants the spies to swear for the protection of her family. It is important to see the solidarity of the family, a concept that in this case ensures blessing and salvation for many in addition to the believer. As an oath of fealty, this covenant would bring Rahab’s family into Israelite society…Rahab and her family here ceased to be Canaanite and became part of Israel’s family. Rahab is acting as spokeswoman and agent for the family. A female, rather than a male, leads this extended family and her faith delivers it.’ Tyndale
- Rahab could not control her family — it was up to them whether they joined her in her house at the time of Joshua’s attack on Jericho — but she gave them a chance.
- Why not take some time today to pray for your family? Include extended family, including any who live abroad, those you don’t see very often or others you find difficult. What could you do to give them a chance to share in your salvation?
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God bless, Malcolm