This week we started a new teaching series on Joshua and his journey out of bondage in Egypt (The Exodus) and into the Promised Land 40 years later. Joshua was an Old Testament Hebrew warrior whose journey into the Promised Land held many lessons to be learned by us today.
This week we started with the story of Rahab the prostitute. Rahab had a brothel/inn built into the outer wall of the city Jerico. She, as well as the inhabitants of the city, Canaanites, worshiped many gods or deities including the storm god, Teshub, Baal Hamom the fertility god and Yam, god of the sea and rivers.
The Hebrews who were approaching the Promised Land of Canaan sent two spies into Jerico, specifically to Rahab’s house to gather information. She, as you would guess, took them in and when the king of Jerico got wind of their presence and sent soldiers to capture them, she hid them, protected them and helped them escape.
With a simple faith, she recognized truth in the Hebrew’s God and she made this startling statement:
Joshua 2:11 (ESV)
….for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.
Before the Hebrew spies escaped, they left her with this promise:
Joshua 2:18 (ESV)
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.
These spies found someone bound by a cycle of sin and shame, and they offered her a simple solution -– just one Scarlet Cord. Her future would be changed by Just One Scarlet Cord. They would be coming again with Joshua’s army to lay siege to the city of Jerico. And it was through her faith, her trust, and her obedience, that she would be spared.
Here is the key: when the spies handed Rahab that scarlet cord, I believe they remembered that Passover night in Egypt where they also marked their homes with scarlet – the blood of the Lamb. You see, the blood of Jesus is the simple solution of Salvation — “Our Scarlet Cord.” I want you to see that there is a scarlet cord, a cord of redemption, that runs throughout the whole of Scripture from beginning to end. From the Passover lamb in Exodus 12, the Scarlet cord here in Joshua and all the way through to the blood of Jesus on the cross! God’s plan of redemption, OUR REDEMPTION, runs throughout the Bible!
What can we learn from Rahab the prostitute?
Rahab proclaimed her faith in the ONE TRUE GOD, and she exhibited an exact obedience –- nothing questioned, nothing challenged. That scarlet cord spoke to her, and it speaks to us today. It represents the blood of Jesus, the simple promise of salvation.
Not only did Rahab the prostitute display a simple faith and an obedient faith, Rahab displayed a TRUSTING faith! The act of tying this Scarlet cord to her window was an act of TRUSTING it’s power over her life and her home. We must not only believe that Jesus can save, but we must trust in His words, His wisdom and His love! As you trust Jesus and take hold of all that Salvation offers you–Tie that scarlet cord to our life!
Little did Rahab the prostitute know that that scarlet cord would turn her life from a life of shame to a life of fame! In the book of Matthew, Rahab is listed in the early lineage of Jesus Himself! Oscar Wilde nailed it when he said, “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”
I have come to the conclusion through this story of Rahab that NOBODY should be judged by the worst moment in their lives. Rahab’s life was changed by that scarlet cord. I’m convinced that God sent those spies into enemy territory just for Rahab — just to save her. Through the years that scarlet cord has come to be a symbol of OUR salvation as well—- a symbol of the scarlet blood that Jesus shed on the cross for you and me. What the scarlet cord in the window was to Rahab, the blood of Jesus is to us.
The fact is, Rahab’s story is our story too! Rahab’s story can be YOUR STORY! Like her, we trust in the promises OF A MAN (for her it was God the Father and two Hebrew spies, for us it is Jesus) who came to our sinful world, left, and pledged to return. But he didn’t come just to look around. He came for you! Even if you were the only person on this entire planet who believed in him, he still would have come—- just for you.
God still demonstrates amazing love and this deep and abiding grace to anyone and everyone who puts their faith in him. What Joshua did for Rahab, Jesus does for us!
Salvation starts at the moment you accept Jesus as your Savior and believe– and it extends into an eternity with God the Father, Jesus the Son and The Holly Spirit. May you tie the Scarlet Cord of the blood of Jesus around your life and may today be the start of a new chapter or another leg in the journey that you will take toward the Promised Land!
~~By Jan Puterbaugh, associate pastor