[Today we'll take a look at the next person in the (Gentile) Women of Scripture series, you can find Ruth here, and the woman at the well here.]
In the second chapter of Joshua two spies are sent to Jericho from the Israelite camp, upon coming to the city they hide in the home of a harlot named Rahab. I've always wondered, when she let them into her house did she immediately realize these men were not native to the city? Did their speech betray them? If she did know who these men were before the king sent for them, then she'd probably been ready to hide them from the very beginning. Another question I've had, how exactly did the king and his advisers know the spies were in her house? Did someone see them enter? Surely she wasn't the only woman of her...occupation, so perhaps someone saw them enter her house. Perhaps one of her competitors was trying to put her out of business. However it came about the king knew the men had been there and sent people to capture them.
Rahab sends them on a wild goose chase by telling them the spies have left. She knows the Lord has given them the land, she has heard about the Red Sea, the various battles, and she understands that the city will not be able to stand. In fact, she tells the spies how the men of Jericho have no courage because they have all heard of these things. This is why the king seeks them out, no doubt to prevent their return to the Israelites. She asks that since she protected them that they would protect her and her family. They tell her that they will, but she must hang a scarlet rope out her window.
This gentile woman heard of all that the Lord had done for the Israelites and when given the opportunity to serve or reject Him she embraces and protects what He has trusted her with. God sent these men to her, He gave her this opportunity and she responds faithfully.
This reminds me of our lives, how God has given us a most precious treasure, how He has entrusted us with His word, with His message. When we first hear the Gospel message, when we understand the value of it, when we begin to understand the strength of God, the holiness of God, the glory as it is displayed in the Gospel, when we embrace this message the enemy comes knocking. You see he knows how dangerous this message is, that this Word that has entered our hearts means the sure destruction of his plans, and so he seeks it out to destroy it. But we must guard our hearts and protect the message, we must not open the door and let the kings men take the spies away.
These men coming to her was a merciful act on the part of God, had they not gone and all this transpired Rahab would have died with the rest of the city. But God had a plan for her, He loved her and was calling her to the family, and it was His love for her that enabled her to love and serve Him.
The scarlet thread is an act of faith. She puts herself out there, marks herself as the harlot that hid these men and trusts the men (and by implication, God) will stay true to their word and save her. When we come to Christ, we must lay it all out in faith, trusting God is an honest God and will forgive our sins.
Can you imagine how frightening it must have been to stay in that house and trust she would be safe when the attack came? How difficult it must have been to not run away? The faith it took to stay in the midst of that terror astounds me. But she stayed, and God did save her.
And He will save us when we trust Him. When God tells us to stay we must. When God tells us to have peace we must. When God speaks a promise to us, you can be sure it shall come to pass exactly as He has said. We must rest in Him as Rahab did, and have confidence that He will bring us through.