October 28, 2012

The Scarlet Hope – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

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. 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.” The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 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. (Joshua 2:15-18)

The walls of Jericho fell down around Rahab and her family but they were supernaturally protected. Everyone else in their city died but they remained unharmed.

Today, over 3,000 years later, those crumbled walls can be still seen. (I have one of the bricks from that wall in my museum.) There is one small portion of the north wall that still stands amid the ruins of Jericho. Yes, there is a house built into the top of that enduring section of wall.

I believe I know who lived there.

Rahab protected Joshua’s spies from discovery by the officials of Jericho and in return asked the spies to…

“deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of  truth,”

It is interesting that the word translated “household” can refer either to a building or to a family and that same word is used both ways in this text.

The spies instructed her to,

“…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.”

Rahab had seen evidence of Jehovah’s power and God’s provision for the people who now confronted her city.

“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,” (Joshua 2:9-10).

It was obvious that these people enjoyed God’s special blessings and would prevail, so she acted honestly to what she saw.

“by faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).

She acknowledged to the spies that “the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath,” (Joshua 2:11).

Even a lying harlot could see this and when she did, responded in acts of faith. I am sure that later she learned to live a Godly life, but now she responded with integrity to obvious evidence.

Rahab’s spiritual salvation came because of her faith in the true God; she soon entered into the covenant family of Israel and eventually even became a member of the family line leading to Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). Her physical deliverance, on the other hand, and that of her family depended on a “cord of scarlet thread” suspended from her window, identifying her home as different and under God’s special protection when Jericho fell and all its other inhabitants perished.

This thin, blood-red line constituted a very slender hope for Rahab in the midst of such a scene of judgment and total destruction, but it sufficed. It is fascinating to note that the Hebrew word for “line” (occurring here for the first time in the Bible) is everywhere else translated by the key word “hope.” Perhaps “line” soon came to mean “hope” because of this very experience, when a “scarlet hope” extended all the way from a heart of integrity to the very God of heaven!

Note the same thought with the same word: “For thou art my hope, O Lord God” (Psalm 71:5)


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