So she lied?
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 a harlot’s house…or a prostitute’s house…, her name was Rahab and they lodged there.
They found a place, a harlot’s house. We can safely assume they didn’t know they were in a house of prostitution. We can also safely say God wanted them there because there was a woman there who was a ready heart to receive the truth. And so they were led to this house not only because it was apparently an available place, not only because there was a ready heart there, but because the house was located with its backside on the city wall and there was a way of escape should they be found out.
Verse 2 says, “It was told the king of Jericho,” King Amelek, a very petty kind of king, a city king, more like a mayor although he controlled the city militarily.
Vs. 3 “Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.”
They weren’t very good at spying. This was their first attempt and they were seen immediately.
He was obviously terrified…frightened by the thought of invasion. He was very much aware that on the other side of the Jordan River was camped a massive multitude of people, the children of Israel, who were known. The history of how they escaped Egypt was somewhat common knowledge. And so here is a man who is trying to maintain his power in his city and he sees himself facing a massive threat.
Vs. 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5 And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.”
“By divine judgment she sinned, but by God’s grace on the basis of her faith He forgave her.”- J. MacArthur
Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
James 2:22-25 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
She demonstrated the reality of her saving faith when, at great personal risk she protected the messengers of God. James did not intend, however, for those words to be a commendation or justification of her occupation or her lying
But anyway, she lied about them. It wasn’t necessary to do that. God could have saved them without a lie but she lied and thus she and they and all of us miss at times what providential means or miraculous actions God might have used to save them.
Vs. 6 “But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof.”
Verse 8, “Before the men lay down [for the night], 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 fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.” Amazing!
The promise that had been made to them (Israelites) somehow had come into her knowledge. She believed, that she said, 11“And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” Here is a believing heart. I believe your God is God, she says. “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house and give me a true token and that you will save… my family.
She shows the terror and the fear of the Canaanites and she shows amazingly strong faith in the true God.
She was sure of Yahweh’s supremacy and she seeks a solemn pledge.
Verse 14, And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”
Vs. 18 “when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window”
This is the pledge, you keep quiet, we’ll do our part.
Turn to chapter 6 verse 20…chapter 6 verse 20. And here we come later to the scene at the seventh day, the seventh circuit around the city of Jericho. You remember the story the Lord said go seven days, march around the city seven times and on the seventh day when you’ve done that and the seventh time around, the walls will fall down and you can go in and capture the city.
“So the people, verse 20, shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city…”
The walls just went right down and they went right in.
Vs. 22 “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.”
Now here’s a marvelous story. God comes in to judge a wicked society. He comes in to destroy an entire city, BUT He spares a woman of faith even though she was equal to the worst sinner in the city, she was a prostitute. It was that kind of lifestyle, which brought about the judgment of God on the Canaanites and on the city of Jericho, yet this woman, escapes that judgment because she was a sinner who believed in the true God.
Heb 11:31 “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”
That’s the essence of the GOSPEL, isn’t it? All of us are equally worthy of the judgment of God, some of us by His grace exercise true SAVING faith and are and will be spared that deserved judgment.
“The message that we find here is that God judges sinners but spares those who believe in Him. That’s the simplicity of the gospel.”-J. MacArthur
- Have you trusted in the LORD Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin.
- Who do you turn to in your time of need? Is it Jesus?
- Do you fear man or Do you fear God?