Jesse Tree: Day 13 Rahab (Josh.2:1-21)
The brightest jewels of grace are often found in the deepest shadows of judgement. Under the advance of Joshua’s army it seems that all hope is eclipsed. The sin of the Canaanites has reached its full limit (Gen.15:16, see Jdgs.11:23 / II Kings 21:11 for the identification of the Amorites with Canaan). There is something terrifying about the idea that a society has reached its capacity for sin, and that the fullest potential for human sinfulness has found expression. Our hearts faint at the prospect of God’s visiting such a culture (Dt.9:4).
And yet even here, even as the sword of God’s judgement hangs over a society saturated in sin, His grace finds its mark. Just stepping back into the book of Exodus for a moment, take a look at e.g. Ex.15:14-16. The Exodus was not a quiet thing affecting the life of only Egypt or Israel. It was a public, global spectacle. The nations of the world watched. They saw and understood that the Living God was doing something unprecedented. They understood better than we realise that this was the declaration of the Gospel of God’s deliverance. Many streamed to join the ancient Church, even as they left Egypt.
The Good News was proclaimed even to Canaan. As ever, the Gospel finds voice before the Lord speaks in judgement. After all, ‘how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?’ (Rom.10:14). It is hard to be sure what the two spies might have expected to hear from the lips of a prostitute called Rahab. It is perhaps unlikely that they anticipated a recital of the good news of the Exodus (Josh.2:8-13). But Rahab demonstrates that the citizens of Canaan were fully aware of what was happening and why; that they had the opportunity to respond in faith and to be counted amongst those whom God declares His own people. Her profession of faith might be a little unusual, but it was no less genuine because of that. And God does what He always does when He meets with faith in response to the Gospel. He saved. There is a wonderful ambiguity in the sentence, ‘Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her’ (Josh.6:23-25). Which Joshua? Both…
And in a way that perhaps shouldn’t surprise us, He goes beyond mere salvation. Maybe it was because of the extreme situation from which he saved Rahab, that she found such an honoured place in the heart of her new-found God. We have to wait until the dawn of the New Testament to discover just how far the grace of God reaches into the life of this woman (Matt.1:5). She is grafted into the family tree of another Joshua. She marries Salmon, and becomes the mother of Boaz. As we’ll see tomorrow, Boaz grew up a victim of the same deep, disturbing grace of his parents.
Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her … and she lives among the Israelites to this day (Joshua 6:25)
Ideas for Family Devotions:
Use red wool to make a friendship bracelet. There are instructional videos on line (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YujvDp5BJ78) or step by step tutorials (e.g https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Friendship-Bracelet). Or perhaps a simpler bracelet, but with letter-beads strung in spelling ‘Faithful’ or ‘Grace’?
Or maybe a bookmark for your Bible. This could be a simple a braiding 3 strands of red wool together, or perhaps draw / copy a picture of the spies climbing down the wall on a bookmark shaped piece of card, and tie red wool to the bookmark using a hole-punch?