We are after all still a life group and as such must allow for the men to talk about life. We did that for 45 minutes; when the talk finally slowed down – if you let it, it will never end as several try to fix the others in the group. It is only my going into Recovery that has taught me that Doctor Phil is not reality. Reality is someone you paid an hour for, giving you 45 minutes, while looking at their watch, and asking you if you mind if they take this call, and then asking you, “how does that make you feel?” The problem is that I did not know how to feel, and nothing I had done was making me any better.
The result is you have to turn your life over to the only real higher power, and that is Jesus Christ.
Some might immediately get angry because I said that Jesus Christ is the only higher power, but hey, you are reading a blog about bible study, written by a follower of Christ that has been through a 12 step program and now leads an anger group. But should you wish to have a fire plug as your higher power go for it, just let me know that is working for you.
At the end of the 45+ minutes I said, well then, let me give you my 30 second synopsis on Rahab the Harlot. Somehow we took longer than we should have, and did probe into the first chapter too.
God gives Joshua the word that Moses is dead.
Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
Moses was not just a man, he was thee man, the man who withstood Pharaoh, led the Israelite nation out of Egypt, talks with God like he is standing right there, and now he is dead. Some would fall apart, but not Joshua. Pay attention to how God now speaks to Joshua. Note: This is not defined for us in The Story.
Joshua 1:3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
This is the same thing God had said to Moses. Is there any limitation to God? It would seem that the only thing that limits him is how we live out lives.
Joshua 1:5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
How many of us wish we had heard these words – “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life” Talk to any Marine and they will tell you that this is attitude that the Corps drills into you. You might take off the uniform but never the attitude.
The second aspect is, “I will not fail you, nor forsake you.” How similar is this to the saying, I’ve got your back. In war this is exactly what you want to know. Having seen Go Pro videos of several soldiers in Afghanistan that seem to have been left alone in gunfight. It’s moments like this that you might say to yourself, words are cheap, but God spent a tremendous amount of time establishing his character and trustworthiness.
Be strong and of a good courage
Even though it is easy see guys like Joshua as supermen that cannot be taken down, God knows differently and reminds him multiple times to be strong and courageous.
Joshua 1:6-7 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swore unto their fathers to give them. (7) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou may observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou may prosper wherever you go.
The word prosper used above means to act wisely, but can also mean to comprehend, consider, discern, gain insight, instruct, and to prosper. As applied to the ventures about to befall Israel, and specifically Joshua it leans itself more toward Joshua acting as a general and leader.
Notice something else about this verse – “that you may observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” I cannot even imagine the fortitude that it would take to do all the commands. It seems so overwhelming. It does not have the specific words if/then but the implication is there. You want to prosper? Then do all the law.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate there in day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shalt make thy way prosperous, and then you shalt have good success.
It is fairly clear, God wanted His laws deeply invested inside, not just Joshua but his people as well. While this does not say memorize them, that could be the outcome. What it does imply is that God wants us focused on Him, and not the circumstances around us.
Moses had written everything, and it comprised enough pages to be considered a book, or perhaps a scroll. By this time it may have been copied multiple times, but it is ridiculous to think that everyone had a copy sitting on the coffee table.
What was the command given by God this time? “but thou shalt meditate therein day and night,..” God specifically instructed Joshua, but is this directed at us as well? Yeah, I think so.
In Hebrew the word meditate means, to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, speak.
MED’ITATE, v.i. [L. meditor.] 1. To dwell on any thing in thought; to contemplate; to study; to turn or revolve any subject in the mind; appropriately but not exclusively used of pious contemplation, or a consideration of the great truths of religion.
And yet, moan, mutter and growl are also valid in some way. The implications of these mean something more than merely swirling an idea or concept around in your head. This is a form of rehearsal, almost as though you are restrengthening and reestablishing concepts in your mind. This could be important should you need to regain your backbone.
For God to tell us that doing this brings about good success should speak volumes. He knows what we are made of and how broken this human nature is.
Suddenly, I am aware of an idea. This is like some great invention, a technological piece of artwork, and yet some aspect impedes its proper function. Welcome to the human race. We operate in bodies that are technological genius, and due to no fault of the creator, they do not function at 100%. We like to call it sin. This made me think of the Apollo flight that had to get creative in order to fix the air scrubbers that remove the CO2 from the breathable air.
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space …. Houston, we’ve had a problem. …. Module’s square carbon dioxide scrubber cartridges to fit the Lunar Module, which took a round cartridge … CM canisters to the LM’s cylindrical canister-sockets by drawing air through them with a suit return hose.
Sort of like life, isn’t it?
Be strong and courageous!
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
This is the fourth time God said this directly to Joshua. Perhaps God wanted him to be strong and courageous.
Can you think of any others that God has spoken to like this? Gideon comes to mind. Take dip into Hebrews 11. Look at the hall of famers there, then go back and look at their lives. So many of them had to be encouraged, repeatedly, like this.
It is time to move out, so Joshua sent spies.
Joshua 2:1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.
I think the question is, could these people see each other? The distance from the encampment to Jericho was anywhere from 15 to 25 miles. If the land was flat they could have easily seen each other. Why am I concerned about them being able to see each other, because all the fear and dread that Rahab speaks about might have come through sight, and diminished the impact that God had made upon those in Jericho, especially Rahab.
Israel sent out spies. This has to make Joshua nervous considering what happened last time. This might be part of the reason that God told him to be strong and courageous so many times. I left out some stuff God commanded him before they moved out. If anyone gives Joshua trouble God has given him the green light to kill them. God does not seem the least bit interested in going through that again.
How did the spies know she was a harlot?
What language do they speak in Jericho? Are the spies able to read the signs pointing out where the prostitute lives? We will quickly see that it is a safe assumption for us that Rahab speaks Hebrew.
Why does God make such a big deal of Rahab being a harlot? There are a multitude of reasons; initially it draws our curiosity and attention. I believe that the main goal of this mission, although Israel may not know it, is to secure Rahab. She is after all a significant person in the lineage of Jesus Christ. The secondary answer is that God does not primarily choose the elite. No doubt, just like the disciples, they rise to the occasion, and attain great honor, but God definitely seeks out the broken and lost.
Brought to the Israelite encampment it makes sense that she was questioned, but who would brag about such a job? A response I got, when I brought up this subject, was that this shows that God can use anyone. We have a tendency to make things acceptable, but do we give acceptability to everyone? If you are honest, the answer is no.
This was a righteous lie!
The spies thought they had made it in unnoticed; not so, and Rahab had to hide them.
Joshua 2:2-7 It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” (3) And the king of Jericho sent word 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 land.” (4) But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. (5) “It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” (6) But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. (7) So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.
If we have a commandment to not lie, why is this acceptable? Again, I asked this question and the answer was, “this was a righteous lie.” What is that suppose to mean?
“The falsehood by which Rahab sought not only to avert all suspicion from herself of any conspiracy with the Israelitish men who had entered her house, but to prevent any further search for them in her house, and to frustrate the attempt to arrest them, is not to be justified as a lie of necessity told for a good purpose, nor, as Grotius maintains, by the unfounded assertion that, “before the preaching of the gospel, a salutary lie was not regarded as a fault even by good men.” Nor can it be shown that it was thought “allowable,” or even “praiseworthy,” simply because the writer mentions the fact without expressing any subjective opinion, or because, as we learn from what follows (Jos_2:9.), Rahab was convinced of the truth of the miracles which God had wrought for His people, and acted in firm faith that the true God would give the land of Canaan to the Israelites, and that all opposition made to them would be vain, and would be, in fact, rebellion against the Almighty God himself. For a lie is always a sin.” [Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament]
Keep in mind the possibility that God’s intent was to rescue this woman, and what she said came entirely of the Holy Spirit.
I was asked the question, when did Rahab become a Christian, here or later at the Israeli encampment? Although I did not try to embarrass the man who asked, the term Christian was not attributed to followers of Christ until almost a century after his ascension. At this point you were either a follower of Yahweh, an Israelite, or a part of the nations, and a gentile. But there is something here that should open our eyes.
Joshua 2:8-13 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, (9) and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. (10) “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. (11) “When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. (12) “Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, (13) and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”
I want to show you something from scripture that may challenge you. When the man asked his question, my immediate response was, that is ridiculous, and I think my response was right for a believers entitlement to that name comes out of our acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as Lord, but Jesus Christ was not known to them and particularly not those of Jericho (this is really an unfair statement because I am putting limits on God by saying it.)
Look at what Paul said in Romans.
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 are preaching, (9) that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; (10) for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (11) For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” (12) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; (13) for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
There are two key thing in this that we should pay attention to as we consider Rahab, and what her soul looked like.
Paul bases his statement on an old testament passage. Now Rahab would not have known that, but God did. Deuteronomy 30:14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that you may do it. We are such sticklers for context and even Paul took it out of context and applied to our salvation.
Romans 10:10 says, “for with the heart a person believes,..and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” What did Rahab say that would have filled those requirements?
I know that the LORD has given you the land
for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath
So, what was the end result of not only Rahab, but anyone that would listen to her and get themselves under the roof of her house? Salvation. This idea of her becoming a follower of the most high God is not that far-fetched.
She knew what she was doing.
These men she was hiding were men of war. You do not send press secretaries out to do your spying, and they appreciated her kindness, but cross us and your dead. She got that, but she also understood that they were of a righteous breed (now how did that happen) and could be trusted. She followed their instructions and trusted.
Joshua 2:12-24 “Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, (13) and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” (14) So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” (15) Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall. (16) She said to them, “Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way.” (17) The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, (18) unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. (19) “It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. (20) “But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.” (21) She said, “According to your words, so be it.” So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window. (22) They departed and came to the hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had not found them. (23) Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. (24) They said to Joshua, “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.”
This woman’s actions got her into the hall of fame.
Hebrews 11:30-31 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. (31) By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
One of the guys reminded me how symbolic Rahab’s actions were. That scarlet represented the blood of Jesus, the lambs blood upon the door post, you remember, so when the death angel came all that were in the house were protected. Mind blowing isn’t it.
God is offering you this same opportunity. Trouble is coming hard and fast, and it may show up almost simultaneously as the disappearance of the followers Christ happens. I, like those spies, am offering you hope. You can accept Jesus Christ as your life, symbolically hanging the red sash out your window and come with us to meet him in the air. Or find Him after we are gone. They will come for your head, scripture tells us that very clearly. Oh sure, some will endure to the end. If you must endure then watch the two prophets that show up in Jerusalem, and follow their lead.
Jesus is God