A Literal Scarlet Thread
Read Joshua 2:18-19, 21 (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. Then if anyone goes out the doors of your house and 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… 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.”
How does the saving of Rahab and her family by placing a scarlet cord in her window point towards God’s plan for salvation through Jesus Christ?
As we journey through the books of the Bible together, we have reached a point of transition. Moses, the great deliverer and leader of the Israelites and the author of the Pentateuch is now dead. Joshua, the son of Nun, takes over as his successor and the twelve books of history in the Bible begin.
In Numbers, we read that Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies out of twelve, who believed that God would help them conquer the people in the land. Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). Joshua and Caleb also said, “...if the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into the land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD…” (Numbers 14:8-9). They understood that it was God who had fought for them in the past and it was God who would fight for them again.
Remember the principle that we discussed from Deuteronomy yesterday? Obedience leads to blessing and disobedience leads to discipline. This was true for Joshua, Caleb, and Moses. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones from the old generation that were allowed to enter the promised land. Caleb was promised land as a blessing for his obedience and in Joshua, he took possession of it (Joshua 15:13-19).
Joshua was given the honor of succeeding Moses who was not allowed to enter because of his disobedience (Deuteronomy 32:51-52). What set Joshua up for success as the leader of Israel who would take the people into the Promised Land and conquer it? He had already proven that he understood that their victory would depend on the Lord and on the Israelite’s obedience to Him. He also knew that the Lord was faithful and worthy of their trust.
In fact, obedience to the word of God and total confidence in the Lord for victory is a theme throughout the book of Joshua. In the first half of Joshua (Joshua 1-13), we read about the seven year military conquest of the Promised Land (ca. 1405 BC). It recounts several battles as the Israelites took possession of God’s promise to them and in the process, executed God’s judgment on the evil pagan nations that inhabited the land before them. The second half of Joshua (chapters 14 - 24), explains how the land was divided among the tribes and settled by the people.
The book of Joshua is filled with many epic moments. But one of my favorites is the story of Rahab found in Joshua 2 and 6. Before the Israelites headed into battle to take the city of Jericho, Joshua sent in two spies. They hid themselves in the home of Rahab who lived in the city wall. She was also a prostitute. But she had heard of the Lord God. She knew that her people were going to be destroyed. She also trusted that if she found favor in God’s eyes, He would spare her and her family. So, in exchange for a promise of protection during the siege of Jericho, Rahab hid the spies on the roof when the king’s men were searching for them. Then, she lowered the men out her window and down the wall so they could return to camp. As the men left, they promised that if she tied a scarlet cord in her window and gathered her family into her home, everyone in her home would be spared. Remind you of anything? It reminds me of the Passover!
But the story of Rahab is part of the Scarlet Thread of redemption in another way as well. She was a foreign, sinful woman. But, helping the spies and placing that scarlet cord in her window was an act of faith in the Lord God for her salvation (Hebrews 11:31). And because of that, not only was her life spared, but she was brought into the family of God. Her name is even listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5)! Friends, all of us are sinners and none of us are worthy. But God’s plan of redemption has always been that we are saved by His grace through faith.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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