I was recently reading in Joshua how Jericho was the very first city conquered after crossing the Jordan River. Jericho was a well fortified, economically bustling city, but much like Sodom was destined for destruction. The houses were packed clear to the city wall for that is where we are first introduced to Rahab, the “harlot”. Two spies were sent to Jericho, “And they went, and came into a harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there”. (Joshua 2:1) This woman of ill-repute lived on the outskirts of town (on the wall) and yet she is the one that was chosen as God’s instrument. Nothing happens by coincidence and this was a divine appointment. It is not particularly remarkable that she allowed the spies to lodge at her home, because she was accustomed to men visitors, but it is remarkable that she knew the Lord of the spies (not Lord of the flies).
It didn’t take long for word to reach the King of Jericho that the spies were at Rahab’s house, but what is remarkable is Rahab’s response. As the story unfolds we discover that Rahab had been doing quite a bit of thinking about the God of Israel before the spies ever entered her hometown. After she hides the men on the roof under some flax, she returns to them and reveals her thoughts. Joshua 2:9-11 states, “And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt, and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man because of you: for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” It is clear here that the Lord’s reputation had already been broadcast to the inhabitants of Jericho.
It was the same when Jesus was here in the flesh. His reputation preceded Him wherever He went. The marvelous works of God can never be hid “under a bushel”, but were intended to be shouted from the rooftops. The will of the Lord is that all men should repent and fall on their knees in worship to the true King of heaven and earth. On the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was first poured out in Jerusalem, foreigners in the city heard them “speak in our tongues the marvelous works of God.” (Acts 2:11) The outpouring of the Holy Ghost was and is for all to receive. I have no doubt if Rahab had lived in that time of the initial outpouring of the Spirit, she would have been one of the first to receive the gift of Holy Ghost. I have been awed over seeing so many women at our jail services filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Many religious “folk” probably doubt the “sincerity” of these women, but Jesus told those that thought they were right with God, “Verily, I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” (Matthew 21:31) Even now, as I write this, I see the tears streaming down the faces of the women in repentance as they come to the realization that there is only One who can save and redeem them. Though their sins be as scarlet the Lord can make them white as snow.
Returning to the story of Rahab, we read how she pleads with the Hebrew spies to save her family when they return to destroy the city. The first thought on the minds of most of the women at the jail has been prayer requests for their families. Rahab’s decision to help the men of God sent to Jericho not only saved her but her entire family. The spies told her “Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.” (Joshua 2:18) The word for line in Hebrew is tik-vaw’ and literally means cord. According to Strong’s Concordance tik-vah’ figuratively means “expectancy, hope, the thing that I longed for, expectation.” This is the first use of this word in the Bible. It was a cord of hope and the color was scarlet. Scarlet is also translated crimson and can only figuratively represent the deep color of blood.
Right before the mighty deliverance of the Hebrews from the bondage of Egypt, they were given instructions by Moses to apply the blood of a lamb to their doorpost to be spared the death that was coming. Today the blood of Jesus Christ (the sinless Lamb of God) is the only means of deliverance and salvation.
Rahab did not just believe the Word of the Lord, she acted upon it. The spies even told her that if that scarlet cord was not at the window of her dwelling they would be free of the oath they had made to spare her and all of her loved ones. Rahab could not just “talk the talk” she had to “walk the walk”. More was required than just believing. She had to act in perfect obedience, for not only her own salvation, but the salvation of her entire household was at stake.