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Monday, March 13, 2006

The Spies and Rahab: Joshua 2

Joshua 2 tells us that Joshua sent two spies across the Jordan River to spy out the land, especially Jericho. I'd like to pass on a few musings about this story.

Joshua had been told, in Joshua 1:5, that "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you." (ESV) Why, then, did he need to send out spies? He had just been told, by God Himself, that he would not be defeated. One reason is that what God really meant was that Joshua would not be defeated, but he, and his army, would still have to do the work needed. Joshua had already prepared the people, in Joshua 1. God may call, and enable, but we need to work, and do our part.

Another possible reason is that God wanted to rescue Rahab, who was, by her own testimony, in Joshua 2, a believer, not only in the power of God, but in the possibility of deliverance. Hebrews 11:31 says that "by faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish" (ESV, emphasis added). God cared for individuals, and not just individuals from the chosen people. Rahab became one of the ancestors of King David, and, therefore, at least legally, of Christ Himself. (Matthew 1:5)

When Jericho fell, it fell, not because of the work of spies, but because of a miracle. The Israelites walked around it, for several days, as prescribed by God, then shouted, and it fell. It would seem that no spies were needed for that conquest, which strengthens my guess that the main reason the spies went into Jericho was to make a way of rescuing Rahab, who had become convinced that God was powerful, and wanted to be on His side. I don't know this, of course.

I also note Rahab's occupation. (I know that some have said that the translation is not correct, and that she was an innkeeper, but most Bible scholars seem to hold with the translation as quoted in the previous paragraph.) I do not condone prostitution, and, much more importantly, God doesn't, either, but sexual sin does not prevent God's redeeming grace from working.

I had the responsibility and privilege of teaching my Sunday School class yesterday, and Joshua 2 was the assigned material.

Thanks for reading.

2 comments:

Mufana said...

Rahab, Ruth, and Tamar being included in the lineage of King David and therefore Jesus Christ are all excellent examples of God's grace in the Old Testament. God was a gracious God even under the law. God in his grace worked through people that were not Isrealites, Rahab and Ruth. He also worked through people that were sinful Rahab and Tamar.

Martin LaBar said...

. . . and that's just the sinful women. Just kidding. They were all sinful, as am I.

Thanks.