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.
Here we see in a prostitute far more fear of the Lord than is commonly observed in most who profess to be servants of the Almighty. The faith of one single unlikely soul who came to fear God more than men contributed greatly to the demise of this great enemy stronghold. Such are the fruits ready for harvest that can be found preceding those who walk boldly in faith towards God, and humbly in faith’s obedience to His yet unconquered land of promise. This shows us the wonderful provision of God if we will follow His desire to inherit the promised land: that in the most unexpected and perfect ways, He will clear the path which He sets before our feet; having ordained that even a few from among the enemy’s opposing walls should have the hard soil of their hearts already broken up for the receiving of He whose Spirit has gone before us. We ourselves should seek to walk in such a witness in the Spirit.
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.”
Her fear of the Lord was responded to in faith: which faith she worked by receiving the spies, whose appearance spelled a certain end to the life she had known among her people. Yet she even took them in as messengers of God’s mercy to her, which they indeed were. Here we see a sincere faith working in a lost one: receiving the gift unto salvation rather than turning those over to death whose very presence yielded the conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgement.
“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those disobeying, having received the spies with peace.” (Heb 11:31)
And her faith was of great magnitude even at the beginning! She approached this grace with such boldness even so as to request the same mercy for her entire house!
“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.”
By such faith the promises will be inherited, even equally for those who must yet be grafted into the vine as Rahab had need. So let those who have already been called out of Egypt as the true sons in Jesus Christ also come just as boldly before the throne of grace as Rahab did: not holding back like cowering dogs, fearing to eat even the crumbs under the table; but rather by faith becoming as rightful heirs in Him, partaking of the children’s bread! (Mt 15:22-28) And the children’s bread is not only that which we receive, but also that which we become for others to partake of, that through our witness they may taste and see that the Lord is good. And His table was feasted at here by two parties: first by Rahab, who, having heard of God’s work through His people, responded in faith by receiving mercy; and secondly by those sent, whose faith was inspired for the greater forthcoming works when they saw the table which the Lord had prepared before them in the presence of their enemies.
“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.”
Notice that the same window through which the spies were delivered from the enemy’s city was the same window in which was the sign of Rahab’s Passover. The means by which Rahab is passed over by wrath is the same merciful means by which the existing children of God are continually delivered from the hands of the enemy – it was the same means for both those of some experience with God and those with virtually none. The Way of deliverance does not change with maturity, it only becomes more clearly seen. Our relation to the blood of Christ is not meant to be made absent or change with maturity, but rather to deepen. The rest into which we are called is the dwelling place of the glory of the Father, into whose domain we were drawn near by the blood of Christ, by whose Spirit we now have access to dwell with the Father always. It is in this place where the enemy remains vanquished and liberty is known by the children of God.
…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.”
This is a glimpse of the possible fruit of walking in God’s rest: wherein we rest from our own labors and enter into the inner working of the finished labors of another – Jesus Christ – whose Spirit works in us to will and to do according to the good pleasure of God.
“I sent you to reap what you have not labored over. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”