God promised Joshua and the Hebrews success based on His presence, His promises, and His Word. When the Hebrews crossed the Jordan River, they encountered a major difficulty—the walled city of Jericho. Jericho was the lowest inhabitable city on the earth and even perhaps the oldest city in human history. The city guarded the valley from the Jordan River into the land of promise. When God’s people commit to obedience, a formidable challenge often presents itself in opposition. The people of God faced a greater battle than a military one. They faced the battle between fear and faith, between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, between God’s best and God’s judgment.
The Scripture today highlights the faith of a Gentile woman, an outcast even in her day. Her faith resulted in her salvation and her inclusion within the people of God. What principles of faith does a believer learn from the passage?
First, daring faith expresses itself through obedience. The daring faith of the Hebrew spies put them in contact with an unbeliever (Josh. 2:1). The former spy Joshua sent two spies into the land to discern information about the enemy. Why did the spies encounter a prostitute inside Jericho? The only possible answer is the providence of God. If the generation following Joshua’s leadership had turned away from the fearsome task of invasion like the previous generation, then the spies would never have encountered this Gentile woman. The Scriptural scenario caused me to ponder the question: Has my lack of faithful obedience caused me to miss opportunities to witness to a person separated from God?
Second, daring faith expresses itself in a confession of faith. Rahab expressed her daring faith by words (Josh. 2:8-13). Rahab’s confession of faith is one of the earliest in the Bible. Rahab expressed faith in the victory of God.
Exodus 15:15-16 predicted that the inhabitants of Canaan would experience demoralization as a result of God’s power leading the people through the Red Sea.
Rahab reported the fear and terror in the hearts of the Canaanites as a result of God’s miracle. Even though the army of Israel had not crossed the Red Sea, she knew the outcome. Second, she professed faith in the character of God. Rahab acknowledged the power of God and the greatness of God—a God “in heaven above and earth beneath”—not a localized divinity. Third, Rahab trusted in God’s mercy by asking for undeserved deliverance.
Third, daring faith expresses itself through actions (Josh. 2:6,14-15). According to the New Testament, the faith of Rahab led her to receive the spies (Heb. 11:31; James 2:25). She did not receive salvation because of her actions. Her actions gave evidence to her faith. She exhibited her faith by protecting and releasing the spies. If she had been caught, her actions would have led to her death by reason of treason.
Rahab rejected her culture, her people, and her identity. She turned from her gods to the God of Israel.
Fourth, daring faith receives a reward (Josh. 6:22-23). God blessed the faith of the people of God by delivering the city of Jericho unto them without a battle. The people could not claim victory.
God blessed the faith of Rahab by delivering her. God destroyed the city but preserved the life of Rahab. Rahab and her family were placed “outside the camp” temporarily because of ritual uncleanness. The New Testament records the fullness of Rahab’s reward.
First, Rahab, the pagan, immoral woman was included in the genealogy of Jesus. By grace, she not only received salvation but she also received inclusion within the people of God.
Second, the author of Hebrews included her with the famous “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11.
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