(Joshua 2: 1-24; the destruction of Jericho: Joshua 6: 1-27, Matthew 1:5)
Let’s imagine Rahab’s life in Jericho.
She was a prostitute, who lived in a house that was built into the walls of the city. Jericho had very strong walls, so she should have felt safe. She lived in the same town as her father, mother, brothers and sisters. She had access to flax. She was a fairly young woman.
However, there was an atmosphere of fear. The fear was there because of 40-year old news. The fact that Israel had left Egypt and were no longer slaves had made the news in the ancient world. The fact that the Egyptians had wanted to capture the Israelites and return them to slavery, but instead had drowned in the Red Sea, made the news. Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years. But the nations of Canaan did not forget what happened to Egypt during those 40 years.
Rahab told two Israelite spies what the Canaanites knew. She said “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you had come out of Egypt and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below (Josh 2:8b – 11).
Read those verses again.
The entire land of Canaan was panicking because of the Israelites and their God.
Rahab lived in a atmosphere of fear most of her adult life.
Fear has been part of the world’s atmosphere at various times in its history: during times of war or natural disasters. Beginning in 2019, the world again started to have an atmosphere of fear. A virus is a threat. It is real. It may come to where I am, to where you are at a very personal level. How do we deal with that fear?
Rahab, along with everyone else in Jericho, knew there was a God of heaven and earth and that he fought for the Israelites. Rahab’s choice of action differed greatly from the king’s of Jericho.
Unlike the leadership of Jericho, she choose to act on that knowledge. Rahab choose, at the risk of her life, to align with the Israelites. She was a traitor to Jericho.
Joshua 6:1 says: “Now Jericho was strongly fortified because of the Israelites — no one leaving or entering.” Jericho was on lockdown. It was on lockdown because of an outside threat. The city should have been safe, as long as the threat was not allowed to enter.
There was no way into the city. God did not instruct the Israelites to enter the city — He instructed them to march around it. If the people had been afraid for 40 years, seeing an army march around their city would have been over the top terrifying.
The King of Jericho had six days to send a white flag to the Israelites and try to spare his people. That did not happen. It was time for God to judge Jericho, so the plan to submit to Israel’s God never entered the heads of the leadership of the city.
Yet, amidst a time of judgement, one woman saved herself and her family. She made the choice to fear the God of the Israelites, more than the king of Jericho. She joined herself to God’s people. Matthew 1:5 states that “Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab”. That same Boaz married Ruth, who was originally from Moab, and fathered Jesse, who then went on to father King David. Rahab’s choice to follow Israel’s God made her a fore-runner of Israel’s greatest king and a fore-runner of the world’s Messiah.
Amidst all the fear around us in society, amidst all of our own fears, let us choose to fear the Lord more. Let us chose to serve Him.
If you have never made the Lord Jesus Christ your Savior, please pray this prayer:
Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner (Romans 3:10). I have broken your holy laws. I cannot save myself. I know that you, Jesus, paid the price for my sin, for my rebellion against you, on the cross of Calvary. I know that you Jesus rose from the dead. Lord, I thank you for loving me enough to die for me. I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. Thank you God.
cc: K Carswell 2022
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.