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Saved From Destruction Joshua 2

Notes & Transcripts

Joshua 2:1-24

Stephen Caswell © 1999

Grace The Heart Of The Gospel.

What makes Christianity different from all the other religions of the world? Years ago that very question was discussed at a conference. Some of the participants argued that Christianity is unique in teaching that God became man. But someone objected, saying that other religions teach similar doctrines. What about the resurrection? No, it was argued, other faith's believe that the dead rise again. The discussion grew heated. C.S.Lewis, a strong defender of Christianity, came in late, sat down, and asked, " What's the rumpus about? " When he learned that it was a debate about the uniqueness of Christianity, he immediately commented, " Oh that's easy. It's grace. "  How right he was! The very heart of the gospel is the supreme truth that God accepts us with no conditions whatever when we put our trust in the atoning sacrifice of His incarnate Son. 

Introduction

Do you ever think that some people are beyond God's grace? Wicked people who have gone too far and could never be saved! Well that's not true. In fact that's a lie of the Devil.  Nobody is beyond God's grace. God is in the business of saving the most unlikely people. He loves all mankind and desires to save them. If you look at Christ's ministry on earth you discover he saved some of the most unlikely people. His followers comprised of tax collectors like Matthew and Zacchaeus, fisherman such as Peter and Andrew, James and John, society women like Joanna and Susanna who provided food for the Lord 's needs. Mary Magdalene had questionable moral character and so did the woman caught in adultery of John chapter 8. Paul said Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of who I am chief. People like Rahab are not beyond God's grace. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

Joshua 2:1 says this: And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

Joshua Sends Out Two Spies

In the conquest of Canaan Israel was immediately faced with the fortified city of Jericho. It was strategically placed and guarded the pass leading westward into the mountainous region. Joshua sent two spies into the land to gather information for the forthcoming military advance into Canaan. Their primary concern was the city of Jericho. But God had another mission for them, that they knew nothing of!

I. Rahab's Wickedness

The spies came to Jericho and sought to carry out their mission undetected. No doubt this was why they sought lodging with a harlot.  Rahab often had men stay under her roof at night. Certainly her wicked lifestyle fitted in well with the idolatry of the city. The Bible does not approve of Rahab's occupation, although it does commend her faith. You and I might think that such a person could never be interested in the things of God. But we will observe how wrong that type of thinking is! You and I need God's grace just as much as she, for all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. I believe that God providentially arranged for the spies to stay with her. It was a divine appointment.

The Spies Are Discovered

Joshua 2:2-3 says: And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, "Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country." So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country."

II. Rahab's Works

The spies had been discovered. What would Rahab do? The king knew that the spies had come to her house. He also knew their intention. It was at this point that Rahab demonstrated her desire to serve the Lord. Whether she knew the mission of the spies before this we cannot tell. But one thing is certain, she now acted on their behalf. She changed allegiance from the Canaanite God's to the Lord, and from her people to God's people, Israel.

 

a. Firstly she gave them Protection

 

Joshua 2:4-6 says: Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. "And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them." (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)

Rahab risked her life by hiding the spies in her own house. She also lied so that they would not be apprehended. All of this amounted to treason and she would have been put to death if caught. But that did not deter her from the right course of action. Although lying is wrong her motives were right. She had only started on her course of faith and was probably unaware that this was wrong. Lying is forbidden in the Bible and can be avoided when we ask the Lord to provide a way of escape [1 Cor 10:13].

b. Secondly she gave them Assistance

Joshua 2:8-10, 15-16 says: And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.

Not only did Rahab hide the spies, she also gave them valuable information concerning the morale of the people. This would be of great use to Joshua. What Rahab says is in line with the song Moses sung after crossing the Red Sea. Exodus 15:14-15 says:  The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.

Rahab also helped them escape by lowering them down from the wall on a scarlet cord. She told them where to hide from the men searching for them. This was practical advice since she knew the terrain well. Rahab's works demonstrated that she had given her allegiance to Israel and Israel's God. James 2:25 says this: Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

But why would Rahab act this way? What was her motivation? 

III. Rahab's Faith

As we look at these next verses we will see that Rahab was motivated by faith.

a. She Heard Of God's Mighty Works.

Joshua 2:8-11 : And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.  For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: 

1. She knew that God had given them the land. This was even before Israel had crossed the Jordan River. This showed  Rahab knew that God was sovereign. Able to give Israel the land.

2. She had heard how Lord had dried up the Red Sea so Israel could go across. She heard how they had utterly destroyed the two Amorite kings Sihon and Og. And as a result, the hearts of the people had melted and they had lost their courage. This is what Moses foretold.

Application

The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. That is why it is so important for us to testify what God has done for mankind through Jesus Christ. The gospel God's good news for mankind will do no good if we don't share it. We should avoid the side issues with non believers and share how God has saved us through Christ sacrifice.

b. She Knew That The Lord Was God.

 

Joshua 2:11b says: the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Rahab was declaring her faith in the one true God. She believed that the Lord was sovereign in heaven and on the earth. She came to this conclusion after hearing of God's mighty deeds. This was a remarkable declaration of faith for someone steeped in idolatry.

c. She Knew That Destruction Was Coming.

Joshua 2:12-13 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

Rahab recognised that God would enable Israel to destroy the people of Canaan. She knew that her life was in imminent danger. She did not try to ignore the situation and bury her head in the sand like the emu. Instead she acted quickly so she could escape the destruction that would overtake Jericho.

 

Application

The same is true today. Unless sinners acknowledge their lost condition they will not seek God's mercy and salvation! God cannot save people who don't believe that they need Him to.

d. She Pleaded For God's Mercy  -  Hessed

Joshua 2:12-13 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have showed you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

 

Rahab pleaded with the spies that they might show her kindness like she had shown kindness to them. The word kindness is hessed and is translated kindness, loving kindness or mercy throughout the Old Testament. This word is used to describe God's covenant love to His people. Rahab had risked her life to help them and now asked for them to do the same for her. She asked for them to swear to her in the Lord's name that they would spare the lives of her family as well. She believed that the Lord could save her and directed her plea to Him Rahab was concerned for her family and wanted to save them too.

 

How would her plea for kindness be received? Would God accept someone like Rahab?  Exodus 34:6-7 says: And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

IV. Rahab's Obedience

The men gave her some conditions for this covenant. She must obey them to be saved.

a. Firstly She Must Keep The Covenant Private

Joshua 2:14, 20 says: And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.    

The spies told Rahab she was not to divulge their agreement or the purpose of their mission. Rahab had given her allegiance to God  by protecting and assisting the spies. She had to continue in the same vain. She was not to confide with anyone about the mission of the spies since the inhabitants of Jericho were now her enemies.   Having placed her faith in God she needed to continue that way. She could not keep both sides happy.

b. Secondly She Must Come To The Covenant Place

 

Joshua 2:17-19  says: So the men said to her: "We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, "unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household to your own home. "So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.

This condition required Rahab to remain in her house when Israel destroyed the city. The spies guaranteed her safety only if she remained in this designated place. She was also required to tie a scarlet cord to the window of their house. Rahab's house was built on the city wall. This would identify her lodging to Israel's soldiers when they conquered the city. The same rules applied for Rahab's family. They had to come to the one designated place of salvation. There was only one place of salvation when destruction came to Jerciho. She did not have many alternatives, just one. There was only one way to be saved from destruction.

Rahab Obeys

Joshua 2:21 Says this: And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.  

Rahab received the message of salvation and obeyed it. As a result she and her family were saved from destruction. They came to the house protected by the scarlet cord. Rahab's faith was demonstrated through works. Rahab obeyed  the commands of the spies concerning the covenant. Because she placed her faith in God, her family was saved. Joshua gave this command when Israel conquered Jericho.

 

Joshua 6:22-25 Says: But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, "Go into the harlot's house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her." And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father's household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Jesus The Only Way

The same is true today. There are not many ways to heaven. There is only one way. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the Father but by Me. The Lord Jesus paid the price for our sin. He shed His blood on the cross for you and me. He is the only way to heaven. It is only when we go the way of the cross that we can find salvation. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. No one will escape destruction without being cleansed by the blood of Christ. The Apostle Peter addressed the Sanhedrin concerning the healing of a lame man at the temple gate. He used the opportunity to address the issue of  salvation also.

This is what he said in Acts 4:10-12: Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.   

As the spies told Rahab the only way to be saved we also must share the gospel message faithfully. God has provided only one way to be saved, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ How can I be saved? This is the question the Philippian jailer asked Paul in Acts 16:30 Paul and Silas gave this reply: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. But what do we need to believe. It is as simple as a, b, c.

1. Accept that we are lost sinners who cannot save themselves.

2. Believe that Jesus Christ, God's Son died for us and rose on the third day.

3. Confess our sin and in repentance live for God

Paul states this clearly in Romans. 10:8-13 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

V. Rahab's Reward

a. The Bible's Hall Of Faith

But that is not the end of the story. Rahab became a member of the Israelite nation. She is remembered for her courage and faith in God. Her past has been blotted out and she became a member of God's family. Rahab is listed in the Bible's hall of Faith. Hebrews 11:31 says this: By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

b. The Lineage of David and Jesus

But an even greater honour was given to this most unlikely woman. She married a man from the tribe of Judah named Salmon. Matthew 1:5-6 And Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; Their son was in the lineage of King David and ultimately Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

Is anyone beyond the grace of God? No, God's grace knows no bounds. He can take a person who is steeped in sin and make them a trophy of His grace. Have you experienced God's grace? God desires that none should perish! But you must come by the designated way.

The way of the cross is the only way. John 3:16-18 says this: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The unpardonable sin is unbelief. God will punish for all eternity those who reject the gospel. Those who reject the gospel are in fact saying that God is a liar. All other sin can be forgiven. The destruction of this world is certain. Only those forgiven from sin will escape. The only way to be cleansed is by the blood of Christ. Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb?  I urge you to come to Him today! He will not turn away anyone who comes to Him. If you would like to know more about the way of salvation please talk to myself after the service.

Benediction

Hebrews 13:20-21

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

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