"By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."
"So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall...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..."
Joshua 2:15, 17-18
It's amazing, isn't it, how we can read a chapter or just a few verses of God's Word over and over and each time it can be fresh and new? Something can stand out to me one day and then the same verse can speak to another corner of my heart just days (or hours) later! When the Lord illuminates truth in our lives, the light sometimes blinds.
Today as I read about Rahab, what shines from her story most of all is her courage. The drama unfolding in this scene in the Scriptures and the tension crackling in the air makes my heart pound.
How would you feel if you were given the opportunity to house spies? Yet Rahab let these men from Israel into her house in the city wall without seeming to flinch (though her knees may have very well been quaking). The verse in Hebrews assuring her position in God's "Hall of Faith" says she welcomed them.
Her courage didn't falter. Even when word got out about her visitors, she remained calm and answered the king of Jericho with a diplomacy that defied any fear she may have been experiencing (She also told an untruth, but she hadn't accepted the Israelite's God as her own just yet, as evidenced by her saying in vs. 11 "...the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.")
I like to imagine this chapter in Joshua streaming like an action movie. In fact, we could apply that mindset to many of the chapters in this book of the Bible (and others). It's got everything: Espionage, treason, danger, intrigue, a daring escape plan, and a stunning victory!
I admire Rahab's courage throughout the harrowing ordeal. What she must have gone through! What did she feel when her King sent her a message, demanding she divulge the location of the Isrealite spies? What went through her mind when she watched the two men whose lives she had saved disappear into the desert night? Did she ever doubt that they would keep their promise and save her and her family from the coming destruction? What if they let her down?
Tonight as I read the verses chronicling this life-changing series of events in Rahab's story, one thing occurs to me:
She could have changed her mind.
She could have reneged on the oath she made the two spies swear and "remembered" which way they went, allowing the King of Jericho to find them.
But Rahab didn't change her mind.
"...And she tied the scarlet cord in the window." Joshua 2:21b
She kept her promise and upheld her end of the deal. She tied the scarlet cord in the window, trusting two perfect strangers with an even stranger God. She threw in her lot with the people whose God she didn't yet know, her only hope for salvation from the utter annihilation which her people would soon suffer.
I hope to command that same courage some day and to exercise the bravery of Rahab, who gave her all in the face of such cataclysmic danger.
So I tie a scarlet cord around my heart, declaring I have given my allegiance to a different King than the one who wears the crown in the land, just like Rahab.
"Jesus, You are my only Hope. Your blood saves me and redeems me. I wait for the Glorious Day that You come to claim Your Kingdom. Until then, I will welcome any and all into my life who need to know Your saving grace."