Bible Readings for June 30th
When Joshua sends two spies into the city of Jericho, the men lodge in the house of Rahab, who was a prostitute (Josh. 2:1), likely in an attempt to stay under the radar of Jericho’s officials. The people of Jericho discover that Israelites have come into their city, but when the king sends a messenger to Rahab, asking her about the location of the spies, she lies to them, telling the king’s officials that they had recently left the city altogether (Josh. 2:3–5). In fact, Rahab had hidden them in stalks of flax on her roof (Josh. 2:6).
Why would this woman turn against her own people and protect the Israelite spies? The answer is simple: she has come to fear Yahweh. The people of Jericho have heard all that Yahweh has done for Israel and a great dread has fallen over them (Josh. 2:8–11). But while this dread could have caused Rahab to betray the spies, she instead chooses to throw her lot in with theirs. She begs, then, that the men would spare the lives of her and her family when the army of Israel comes against Jericho (Josh. 2:12–13).
The spies promise that they will do as she asked, but only on the condition that she hang a scarlet thread outside her window. Just as Yahweh had passed over the Israelite houses with the blood of a lamb smeared on the doorframe, so also Israel would pass over any in the woman’s house when they saw the scarlet thread in her window.
As we will see in Joshua 6, the men of Israel keep their promise to Rahab and her family and spare their lives on the basis of the scarlet thread hanging out of her window—a beautiful picture of how God redeems his people. This story proclaims in advance the fact that King Jesus will one day come again to destroy the wicked from the earth, a fact that should cause dread to fall on the inhabitants of this earth who have rebelled against him. And yet, Jesus provides his own scarlet thread—his shed blood at the cross—so that any who trust in him will be spared from the wrath to come.
But the story doesn’t end there. Because of her faith, Rahab’s story is included in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11:31. And even more than that, Rahab the prostitute married a man named Salmon, the father of Boaz. Boaz married another foreign woman named Ruth, who gave birth to Obed, the father of Jesse. And Jesse was the father of a boy named David, the ancestor (according to the flesh) of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5–6).
The sovereign grace of God can reach, redeem, and commission even the least deserving of sinners—not only Rahab, but also you and me.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.