Joshua sent two spies to check out Jericho. Just a quick peek at the area and especially the city they would face first. Not out of fear but out of preparation.
The last time we were together Joshua told the people to get ready because they were going over the Jordan in three days. I’m going to say that he sent the spies out from Shittim a little before that. We are told that they hid in the mountains for three days while the king’s men searched for them. Then they had to make their way back to Joshua on the other side of the Jordan. This doesn’t even take into account how long it took them to get to Jericho and the day that they hid out. I’m guessing a week tops for their scouting trip.
When Moses first approached the promised land with the original group of people he was persuaded to send out spies. They were in the land for 40 days. Moses didn’t come up with this plan himself. He was convinced to do it by the leaders of the tribes. They wanted to know what they were signing up to do. They were afraid and they were trying to assuage their fears.
When Joshua sent these two spies he did it in secret. He didn’t tell the leaders what he was planning to do. He wanted to take the measure of the land and the people at that current time. He wasn’t acting out of fear but of preparation. He KNEW God was going to be the one fighting for them. He wanted to know how they were reacting to Israel being right on their front door step. Were they quaking in fear or shoring up their defenses? What were the people saying about Israel?
Joshua was NOT expecting a bad report. Regardless of the report, Joshua was committed to going in. And when the report came it would come only to Joshua, NOT to the whole congregation. He wouldn’t let the people fall into the same trap as the last time. Joshua wanted the report so he would know how to pray or praise. NOT to choose between retreat or advancing.
This story itself is one of my favorites. It shows how God can use ANYONE no matter their past. I LOVE that Rahab actually becomes part of Jesus’ lineage. She could never be the one who gave Him His virgin birth but she was in His direct bloodline. Thirteen generations later Jesus enters the world after the prostitute’s son Boaz; the son born into the tribe of Judah by Rahab and Salmon. A GREAT redemption story.
I read a book about Rahab’s story that I fell in love with. It is The Crimson Cord by Eileen Smith. It takes you into Rahab’s back story along with what happens to her once she and her family are saved by Israel. I honestly couldn’t do a better job of providing a first person account if I had all the time in the world.
Something that occurred to me is the process it took to bring Rahab out. First of all she had to be fed up enough with her life that she wanted out. I don’t know about every woman but I would expect prostitution would be the LAST job one would want to do. Even a high priced prostitute still has to sell a bit of her own soul along the way. It may be lucrative but it is NOT something ANY woman is proud of. Even today, those who engage in this life hide it from those they love.
Next she had to find a way out. She didn’t have a way out on her own. This was her life. Even if she wanted to change “jobs” who would welcome her? She needed to get as far from her own people as she could to have any chance of a new life. Her life kept her trapped right where she was.
But God saw her. He knew her before she even opened her door to the spies. He saw her heart. Not only did the people in this region know they were facing a HUGE problem with Israel coming but SHE knew that Israel’s God was the God of Heaven and Earth. She had listened to the reports. She had seen how the men in her town were acting. She had probably heard “pillow talk” about what the army was planning to do. She heard their fear and knew its source.
She still had a problem though. Knowing Israel was coming didn’t give her a way out. Before the spies came she was in the same state as the rest of her town; hopeless and scared.
When the spies came, they could have gone anywhere else in this city. They could have shown up on any other doorstep but God brought them to Rahab’s door. He brought them to the desperate woman looking for a way out of her current life. Why they came to the home of a prostitute for shelter isn’t given to us in our reading. I believe it was God answering Rahab’s prayer.
Now she had to decide what to do in an instant. She didn’t have time to think over her options. Would she would hide the spies or turn them over to the soldiers? She had to listen to her heart. I have NO doubt that the God’s Spirit put this plan in her heart. Unless maybe she was in the habit of letting men down from her window. I seriously doubt it though or the soldiers would have been wise to this ruse.
She knew enough of the soldiers’ world to tell the spies how to avoid capture and she willingly shared that information with them. They were her ticket out. They were her ONLY hope. Their God would save them and fight for them and if she helped them, they would protect her.
She had to convince them of her sincerity and get their commitment to her plan. They could have refused. They could have lied to her about helping her. They each had to trust the other. Another God intervention spot. Both parties put their lives in the other’s hands.
Next she had to convince her family to come and stay with her. I doubt she told them the real reason why or they could have told the authorities about the plan. She had to get her family to come into the home of a prostitute and remain there, no matter how long it took.
She wasn’t given a specific day to be ready. She was only given a sign to exhibit showing she was ready. And she put up that sign as SOON as the spies left. She wasn’t taking any chances. And we will see later that that sign remained in her window until she was taken out of it to safety. I believe there was a significant amount of time between the spies departure and the battle that brought Jericho to the ground. I hope to figure that out in our later reading.
God prepared a way for Rahab’s salvation before she even knew His name. He did the same for me and you. He didn’t have to on any account. He CHOSE to. He loves us even when we are still wallowing in our own sin. I wonder if Rahab had to continue “business as usual” so as not to arouse suspicion. If so, I’m certain God did NOT hold that against her. There would certainly have been some changes because of her heart’s beginning change. SO much more awaited her! Just like it does for us when we first make the decision to follow Jesus.
Father God, thank You that You KNEW my name and my need before I even knew Your name. Thank You for planning for me to encounter You. Thank You for all the people You put in my path that led me to You, especially my parents. Thank You that You can reach out to me no matter how sinful I am. You won’t join me in my sin but You will call out to me to come out of it. “Come stand my Me little one. It is SO much safer and nicer over here. I will give you rest for your weary soul. I will bind up your broken pieces. I will heal your broken heart. I will love you like NO ONE else can. I made you. You are MY child and I LOVE you!”
“I’m coming Father!”