Table of Contents
Watch & Listen
Our lesson this week is a continued thought on courage, having faith – trusting in the Lord – and how our obedience leads to success. In our lesson this week, we follow two spies that have been sent by Joshua to scout out Jericho.
Upon entering Jericho, they were led to Rahab, a harlot, and somehow it became known that two men from the children of Israel had come to Jericho (Josh. 1:1-2).
Our lesson opens with the king sending a command to Rahab to bring out the strangers that had entered into her house (v.3). Again, in the opening verses, the two spies had been spotted by someone. As we will see later in our lesson, word of Israel’s movements had already reached the king of Jericho.
At that point in time, before they even entered the Promised Land (Canaan/Palestine), Israel had already enjoyed victories over those that stood in their way and had shown themselves to be a real threat to those in Canaan. So with these things in mind, we will see that Jericho was on guard for Israel because they posed a major threat. As I mentioned in last week’s lesson, Joshua was essentially leading an invasion of Canaan where the children of Israel were to remove the inhabitants of the land (Deut. 7:1-2).
Again, I feel I need to be clear about this ‘invasion’ so that we have a complete understanding rather than think in error. The land of Canaan was the land promised to Israel by the Lord. God commanded Israel to destroy the inhabitants, their altars, their sacred pillars, and to cut down and burn their carved images.
The reason for all of this is because the Lord did not want the people of Canaan to influence Israel to turn away from the Lord and sin. Many will question and second guess this reasoning but we should understand, according to scripture and God’s word, Joshua was being obedient to the Lord. You and I must keep these things in mind as we go over lessons like this one and last week.
A Gentile Woman’s Faith
Now, as we move deeper into our lesson for this week, something that becomes quite clear is that Rahab, a gentile woman, was a woman that believed in the Lord. Now, some will find this notion to be quite interesting for several different reasons. Why do I say this?
Anyone can believe in the Lord
Well, let’s start off with the fact that Rahab was a harlot. There are many people who would have likely looked down on Rahab because she was a harlot. In fact, there are many people today who would suggest that a harlot can’t be “saved”; they even think to themselves that God would never use her because she was a harlot. However, scripture most definitely proves such thought wrong.
For example, Tamar, a woman in the lineage of Jesus, did something that many people would frown at today. In fact, through her action, Tamar played the role of a harlot which well down the line led to the birth of Christ (Gen. 38).
Rahab, in fact, was a harlot and I tell you that it was not a coincidence that the two spies ended up with her. Logically speaking, it would make sense for the spies to go to hangout locations to watch people in secret, so, the spies being near that area makes sense. On that note, this is probably how someone noticed the two spies – strangers – at her house and reported it to the king.
However, when we see what Rahab says and does in this passage of scripture, we will see that the spies were also led to Rahab by the Lord. When word comes to Rahab, demanding her to turn over the spies, she hides them (v.4). Rahab understood full well what she was doing as we see her admit that the spies were with her at one point but then lied and said they left (vss.5-6).
Some of us would say that Rahab told a lie for a good reason. In fact, many of us try to justify telling “little white lies” but I would tell you all that there is no such thing as a little white lie. Did she need to lie? Rahab felt that she did. That said, we must understand that a lie is a lie, and we should certainly pray forgiveness for our lies and even admit to others when we lie. Whether we realize it or not, lies are harmful.
Rahab’s profession of faith
Rahab’s faith is displayed for us when she speaks with the two spies as they’re hiding on her roof. Rahab said to the spies, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you (vss.8-9).”
How would Rahab know this and believe it? This, to me, is a very interesting question because it was not like Rahab had been walking with Israel. Again, she was a gentile living in Jericho, but again, scripture shows us that she had heard of the Lord, what Israel was accomplishing, and she believed in the Lord (Josh. 2:10-11)! Let’s also not overlook the fact that Rahab addressed God as the Lord; she did not say to the spies, “your God” or “the God of your people” as others would have done.
Though this verse is skipped over in our Sunday School books, I want to include in Rahab’s profession of faith that she begged to find favor and be spared when Israel came to Jericho (Josh. 2:12-13). I would suggest to you that Rahab was fully confident that Jericho would fall to Israel and the Lord – there was no doubt in her heart.
Rahab was really good to the spies. She provided them with valuable insight into the mindset of the people of Jericho. As I mentioned earlier, we’ll see that she spoke of how the people were “fainthearted” because of Israel. This would be valuable information for the spies to carry with them as they returned back to Joshua.
After telling the spies how to get away from Jericho, with her house being on the city wall, Rahab would patiently wait for Israel to attack Jericho. Rahab would go on to be saved along with her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had during Israel’s conquering of Jericho (Josh. 6:22-24).
Rahab dwelt in Israel to the day of the recording of that scripture (Josh. 6:25). Rahab, like Tamar, was also part of Jesus’ lineage as recorded in Matthew’s gospel. Scripture found in the book of Hebrews and in James’ letter also speaks very highly of her because she truly was a woman of faith (Heb. 11:31; Jas. 2:25).
Report of the Spies
So, our lesson comes to a close with the spies doing as Rahab told them by hiding for three days in the mountain and then reporting back to Joshua (vss.22-23). We will see in their reporting back to Joshua, who was still across the Jordan, that their report was drastically different than the ten spies that disagreed with Caleb and Joshua when Moses sent them to spy in Canaan (Num. 13:31-33).
The two spies said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us (v.24).” You see, these two spies were of the same mindset that Joshua and Caleb had about being able to possess the land. The ten spies were fearful to possess the land because of the fortified cities, large populations, and even giants.
Why were these spies so different from the ten that over forty years earlier had given such a negative report? It boiled down to what was in their hearts. The ten spies were of a generation of Israel that truly lacked faith. Whereas, these two spies had come up within a generation that learned to depend on the Lord.
Not only did these spies lean on the Lord, but Rahab had also given them a bit of courage as well. Again, Rahab’s faith in that they would take and conquer the land also inspired them in their hearts. As I said all of August, your faith has the power to motivate and encourage all of those around you should their heart be open to being uplifted by such.