I would like to use the remarkable story of Rahab the prostitute who lived in the wall of the great city of Jericho occupied and ruled by the Canaanites in about 1400 B.C. This was the time that the people of Israel were about to come into the promised land led by Joshua. Jericho and the Canaanites stood in their way. The true story of Rahab is remarkable as one who found enough faith and courage to decisively act in the moment in a way that defines saving the saved. She lived safely in the walls of the safest city in the land and region of Canaan, yet she knew in her heart that her life was crumbling around her and destined for disaster. She was waiting for her salvation moment and it came.
And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, "Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land." 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." But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, "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." But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.
Before the men lay down, 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, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. 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. And the men said to her, "Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you."
Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, "Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way." The men said to her, "We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 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. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear." 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.
They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. And they said to Joshua, "Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us."
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
After 40 years of struggle wandering the desert, Israel was finally in position to enter the Promised Land. But they would enter without Moses - he was dead. There was a lot of work and risk that remained. Though the new land of God's promise was fertile and beautiful it was also dangerous. There were numerous Canaanite city-states that randomly occupied the landscape. Each of them were well-fortified, built as a walled fortress with a battle-tested and defensively trained army. To conquer these fortress cities would be a difficult and dangerous task. The city of Jericho was one of these great walled cities - in fact, the greatest of its kind.
But, God who had given and promised this land to Abraham and his descendants remained faithful to His people. He raised and equipped a new leader, Joshua, who had been trained under Moses’ leadership for 40 years for this time. Joshua knew that the 2.5 million Israelites plus their flocks and herds needed to cross a flooded river and begin their conquest of the land. The people of God could see the promise of God before them and would not be denied the land of promise. So, Joshua sent two spies to secretly scout the area of imminent war, particularly Jericho—the strategic point to reach the three passes through the wilderness to the rest of Canaan. God took care of the river crossing for the Israelites, miraculously providing dry ground for them to move through and onto Jericho—a walled city on 10-acres. To walk once around would have taken just over 30 minutes. History tells us that Jericho was one of the architectural and design wonders of its time with primitive forms of indoor plumbing built within its walls and apartment type homes. Surrounding Jericho was a great earthen rampart, or embankment, with a stone retaining wall at its base 12–15 feet high. Above that stood a mud brick wall 6 feet thick, 20 feet high. At the crest of the embankment was a similar 20-foot high mud brick wall reaching to 46 ft. above the ground level below. Humanly speaking, it was impossible for a marching army to penetrate the impregnable fortress of Jericho. Archaeological evidence reveals that the mud brick city wall collapsed at the time the city met its end (1400 B.C.) except for a short stretch of the north city wall that did not fall as everywhere else. Also, there were apartment style houses built against and inside the wall as in Joshua 2:15. Excavations showed that the bricks from the collapsed walls formed a ramp against the retaining wall so that the Israelites could climb up over the top as is described in Joshua 6:20. Strategically built closely between two rivers not far from Sea of Galilee the fortress was as formidable as anything of its time. Inside the walls of Jericho there were three different natural well-springs with an endless supply of fresh water. Outside the city walls because of the rivers and rich soil, agriculture flourished. When harvested, it was said that the inhabitants of Jericho at that time could comfortably survive a siege for a year and a half.
Rahab literally lived on the upper-leveled floors of one of those one-room apartments inside the wall of the great city of Jericho. As she looked at her life options, opportunities, and inevitable outcomes, she made conclusions that not only would save herself, but her entire family. She was ready for something bigger and better for her life, and when Joshua's spies came to her she saw her salvation moment. What did she need to do in that moment? She had to decisively and quickly act in faith in order to receive the faith she needed to be saved from her circumstances and consequences. Because of the greatness and momentum of God and His people Rahab could see she had no future in Jericho. Even though it was a fortress, she could knew the walls of her life were crumbling down around her - crumbling and bringing destruction to herself and everyone she loved. In her salvation moment she acted in faith and hope not in fear and failure. In the God of Joshua and Israel she found something bigger and more meaningful than herself and her life living in the wall as an object of pleasure for Jericho. Could anyone else in Jericho have come to the same conclusion? Of course - but they didn't - Rahab did.
Solution Plan - Saving the Saved
· Make a Pact with God to Be Better and Do Better than You are Being and Doing Today
· Seek to be an Active Part of Something Bigger and More Meaningful than Yourself
· Seek and Desire Kingdom Outcomes For You and the Ones You Love