Confidence in God because of the testimony of Rahab
Joshua 1-2 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
1 Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2 “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 5 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” …
2 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. 2 It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” 3 And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5 It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7 So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.
8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13 and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”
15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. 19 It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.” 21 She said, “According to your words, so be it.” So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 They departed and came to the hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had not found them. 23 Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “Surely the Lord has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.”
As I read this account, I couldn’t help but to think how ironic it was that the people were more confident based on the word and testimony of Rahab, than they were based on the testimony of God Himself. God said: Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Once before, forty years earlier, God promised to give the land to the people. He promised to fight for them and deliver the land to them and to give them victory over the inhabitants. At that time, the people’s confidence in God failed. They believed that the people of the land would be too powerful. They didn’t fully trust God or His promise. This time, Joshua, who had been one of the spies sent out last time by Moses, sent out two men. Joshua knew that the land was good and Joshua believed God was able. He knew it was vital that the people know and believe.
Look at what happens when they go to Jericho and meet up with Rahab, a prostitute. Rahab says: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” It was her testimony of the power of God, which gave them confidence and assurance. God’s word alone was not enough. They needed to hear the testimony of a person. The very things she said, were things that the people had been told from the time they were children. Yet they believed Rahab, even though they failed to believe what they had heard from their own people and from God Himself.
What can we learn from this account? Hopefully we learn that we can trust God at His word. In Numbers 23:19, He says: “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent (change His mind); Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” God will though send people into our lives to speak and confirm His word. He might use a preacher or a fellow believer. He might use a prophet or a teacher, someone called to the ministry. God might also speak to us through someone we would least expect, through an unbeliever, even through Rahab. God even used a donkey to speak to Balaam in Numbers 22. We need to know God’s word, what He said, what He has promised, so that if He sends someone to speak to us we will recognize that the promise is from God. We also need to recognize the importance of our own testimony. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” When we tell the stories of what God has done, when we testify of the power of the blood of Jesus, the cross and His resurrection, we give others confidence and faith to believe God’s word and His promises for them.
We need to listen for God’s voice everywhere we go and we need to be His voice everywhere we go.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit; for Your word, Your promises and Your power. I will listen for Your voice, to hear Your word and Your promises. I will testify of Your goodness and Your power, of Your love and of Your promises. I will walk in the land You have given and I will tell others that the promise is for them also. You have given us an inheritance in Christ and through Him we have all Your promises. Amen.