I am meeting you this week in a real place. Worth the read, though!
Remember Rahab? Remember how brave she was to host Israelite spies in her home despite the danger to herself and her family? Two men came to scout out the fortified land of Jericho. They were spies of God’s people. They represented a powerful army that had a reputation for crushing it. This was obviously a threat to the people of Jericho, and Rahab knew it. The king himself knew it:
Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” (Joshua 2:3)
Now, this could have been a good way to be in with the king. It may have helped her with her… ahem… business. She was a prostitute. But don’t let that distract you. God uses unlikely people. God uses all of us for his good will if we answer his call. God honors the faithful. Not only was she faithful, this betch was brave.
But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said [to the king of Jericho], “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” (v. 4-5, words in bracket added)
Rahab lived immersed in a completely pagan culture. This wasn’t the Bible Belt or even a society with lax religious stringency. She was in the mire of a people that worshipped false idols, sacrificed children, and gave zero flips for the law of God Almighty. And yet.
She came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt 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 devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you. (v.8b-11a)
I know who you are. I know what your God can do. It’s terrifying, but I believe it all. She said:
For the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. (v.11b)
Rahab had faith in a God she had only heard of, and would make Him absolute King in her heart. Her faith gave her the courage to hide spies in her high class real estate with a desert view. Rahab helped the spies repel down the wall of Jericho to safety. (Joshua 2:15) Before she sent them on their merry way, she asked for favor in the eyes of God and asked that her family be spared. Rahab did not doubt that the people of God would be victorious; further, she believed that she could share in their victory.
Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death. (v. 12-13)
Rahab started living the minute she asked for God’s hand of deliverance. She crossed over from death to life, from godless insecurity to freedom and power. The spies made their promise, and gave her a concrete sign that they would remember and protect her.
Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. (v. 18-19)
So here’s the deal: you keep your family close, tie a cord in your window as a sign of your faith and you will live.
And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window. (v. 21)
God’s promise is life. We tie the very same cord when we hold on and believe. If you don’t know the rest of the story, go to Joshua 6. Rahab waited. And waited. And waited. How many days will they march? How many times will they circle the city? Will the promise to Rahab be kept?
My Aunt Pam reminded me of Rahab at a time I needed it. Our third miscarriage happened on Valentines Day 2016. I was so tired. So hopeless. So worried. My head spun with questions. Will we ever have a baby? Will I constantly bleed and hurt and be sick with grief? Can Adam and I keep having these same conversations and set backs? Is it my fault? Is this roller coaster of hormones and hopes going to define me?
If you’ve read this far, I want to tell you that I literally tied a red cord and hung it in my window. How many laps will I have to endure? How long will I have to wait? I would walk to my front window and stare outside at the babies and mommies jogging by. I would lean my forehead on the glass pane and pray for my turn. I prayed for hearts that once beat and were stilled. I envisioned the quiver full of children that Adam and I would know in heaven (four babies lost…the first two were twins). God started our family with four little souls that he wanted for himself.
Thank you, Aunt Pam for giving me your cord. You are a lifeline!
I waited. I learned a new patience. I learned a new prayer.
I wonder what prayers Rahab made in the days of the siege on Jericho. I wonder if she argued with her family. I wonder if she stood stoically by the window. I wonder if she crumpled to a heap with worry and exhaustion, then stood up with renewed hope because she remembered the promise God made to her. I bet she looked at that cord in the window and clenched her fists and stuck out her chin and prayed again.
So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. (Joshua 6:20)
God is the victor over loss. Death. Illness. Fear. Hopelessness. Confusion. Grief.
God knocks them all flat.
Friend, let me tell you: God did keep his promise to me and I am not talking about Emma Bean. God does not promise us an easy road and sometimes he keeps us waiting. The work God did in my life during the time of waiting is a testament to his goodness. If Emma Bean did not breathe a breath of this world’s air, God would still be good. His promise to me is not a baby, not a husband, not friends or finances or comfort. God’s promise to me is Himself. He is the God who gives hope to the hopeless. His character is my promise. And it is the same today as it was in Jericho.
But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. (Joshua 6:25)
By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. (Hebrews 11:31)
Hang your crimson cord. Wait. Hope. Learn to lean into the promise of God.
How is God calling you trust him today: taking away any plan or person you usually turn to for hope? Where is your heart putting hope?
Links to help you fall into the Word:
Against all hope, in hope believe! I would love to hear from you, specifically if I can pray for you or share in your story. You are not alone!!