Rahab And The Spies
Joshua 2:1 – And 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 an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
Hello readers, time for a new blog, and today we will be talking about Rahab and the spies. It’s a great story in the Bible, the salvation of Rahab, and we can learn many things from it today. The Bible through it’s stories, God telling us what happened, gives us many examples and pictures that we can help to learn truths taught in the Bible from. Today we want to see Rahab’s story as a picture of the gospel today. The spies in the story represent God’s word. I know I have blogged on Rahab before, but Joshua 2 is an amazing chapter in the Bible and if you’ve read my other blogs, hopefully this also is a blessing to you today.
Spy the land. That’s what God’s word does, it spies out the land. It’ll spy out your land. And that’s why you probably don’t want it. Why it’s not welcome. It was welcome in a harlot of Jericho’s house, but not in anyone elses. Israel were going to be vicarious here, but Joshua sent spies in first. Why would God send his word into your heart before destruction? Because God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. The spies coming into the land, is a picture of the gospel, just as Jesus Christ said of himself, come to seek and save the lost. To call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
If you read the parable of the sower that Jesus spoke of, in Rahab’s life we see a picture of that playing out. God’s word is seed, incorruptible seed, and when it finds good ground in someone’s heart, it brings forth salvation, just as Rahab receiving the spies was what would minister her salvation from Jericho even in the face of imminent destruction. You can be saved today, you might be on team Jericho, that great city, but that cursed city… it’s great walls seemingly a more than adequate defense… but the walls fell down without Israel even having to touch them. If you are unsaved, you have no walls for your life. You have no security, you have no hope, you have no defense, you will not endure.
It’s surprising where God’s word will find good ground. Of all the people in Jericho, it was Rahab’s house that the spies found lodging. You just never know who will believe the gospel, you just never know who God will save. It may not be who you think. She was a harlot, what she did for a living was incredibly sinful. But Rahab’s sin shows us a truth not just about her, but about us, because we are more like her than we think… because we are all sinners, and we are all undeserving, and we are all unworthy. We may not be prostitutes by profession, but in our hearts we are full of lust and pride and sin, and we have many things hidden away that we wouldn’t like people to know about us.
It was a secret when the spies came in… and it shows how just like Jesus said, the work of the Holy Spirit cannot be seen. And it cannot be stopped. How did they get in past all the defences, against the king of Jericho’s wishes? God knows how to reach a soul that is seeking truth. John 3:8 – The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Jericho was a place that was to be destroyed utterly, it’s inhabitants wiped out. But in come some spies to check out the land. We should all be thankful to God that he spies out our land to see if there is anything or anyone who will be receptive to his word. Where will the gospel find an attentive ear and believing heart? Rahab was receptive to the spies, she lodged them… while noone else did! I’m sure there were more reputable, smarter, greater people in Jericho than Rahab, but only her house was welcoming to the message of God.
Why would Joshua send spies to check it out anyway? It was earmarked to be destroyed. And rightfully show. The whole land had for hundreds of years been living in complete rebellion to God. The land was polluted and defiled by their sin, the land itself spewed them out. But God is gracious, and before destruction, there has always been warning, there has always been opportunity after opportunity to get saved, to get right with God. Here was yet another chance. But often God’s word finds no place in someone’s heart. How could the spies end up in a harlot’s house of all people? The Bible refers to these spies as messengers in the book of James, is not the gospel the message of God to mankind? The Bible says Rahab received the messengers with peace, and it actually came at a cost to her. Because no sooner had she received them, then there came opposition and persecution of the spies. You see, you housing the spies is what the world will hate. They hate you, because they hate me… that’s what Jesus said. Jesus said when the word comes, so does the devil come to snatch the word of God out of our hearts. He wants us to surrender God’s word. He doesn’t want you to believe it. He has always been after God’s word, he was after it in Genesis 3, and it is how he works. He doesn’t want you warned, he doesn’t want you to have truth, he doesn’t want you to be saved.
The king of Jericho is a picture of Satan. But it wasn’t the king that came knocking on Rahab’s door, it was some men he sent to Rahab’s house looking for the spies. Satan uses people. Satan will come at angles for God’s word that you might not recognize to be him behind. You might be surprised who Satan sends into your life to the effect of getting you to give up the spies. They carried the command of the king of Jericho. Many people of this world are on team Jericho, not team God. That’s just a reality of life. Remember Nehemiah? There was a guy who told him to hide in the temple because people were going to kill him… but Nehemiah perceived he had not been sent by God. Someone not sent by God is someone who is going to try and steal God’s word out of your heart.
But you see, just like with salvation, when you get saved, you are no longer under the command of Satan. You have power to say no. Getting saved is a changing of kingdom. You go from being in and of the world, to being in the kingdom of God. Spiritually you are translated. It is a spiritual change. In the Bible, Jesus said that the kingdom of God is within you. When you get saved, within you is the Spirit of God, because his Spirit abides in you, there is a new creature born of God in you… and thus the kingdom of God is within you… but this world we live in is under Satan’s domain. So the kingdom of God is within believers today, he lives in the hearts of belivers… even in this wicked world… which is the kingdom of the devil, and it lies in wickedness. There are only two kingdoms, and where Rahab was once in Jericho, she was about to undergo a citizenship and identity change. She was switching sides. We ought to obey God rather than men. Rahab was right in not surrendering the spies just as you will be right in not letting Satan snatch the truth of the gospel from your heart.
The men did make an appeal to Rahab to make her want to give them up. Because they be come to search out all the country! Most people don’t want their country searched. When God’s word comes, it certainly does search us out. David prayed for God to search him out, but most people like in John 3 reject the light because their deeds are evil. People like the idea of forgiveness, but they don’t like the idea that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God. People like the idea of love and grace, but they refuse the authority and holiness of God. The point at which God’s word is too much for you is the point at which you will surrender the spies. Where you draw the line at obedience. God’s word is too exposing, too convicting, it may just check out somewhere in your life where God is not welcome. That’s the appeal Satan will make to you in order to get you to give up the word of God. Their appeal was also based on allegiance lines. All the country. You see, God’s word won’t just affect you, it’ll affect your relationships with others, maybe even family. All the country… many people do not get saved because of others. Getting saved might cost you some relationships in Jericho as you follow Jesus Christ. There are sacrifices in choosing God, there is a cost to a change of allegiance.
The Bible says Rahab took the spies and hid them. Psalm 119:11 – Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. You could not get a better and more accurate Biblical example than Rahab’s salvation being a pattern of our salvation could you? We are meant to hide God’s word in our heart. To store it in our hearts, to abide in it, and to keep it, and not surrender it. Remember Naboth who refused to sell his vineyard that Ahab was after? Ahab didn’t just want it for nothing, he offered an exchange, and Satan will offer an exchange, a deal that looks good. That many Christians have taken. And many unbelievers also prefer a garden of herbs to a vineyard.
Rahab sent the messengers on a wild goose chase. She kept the men in her house, in her roof, all the way along while they were searching elsewhere, persecuting the spies. She put them in her roof… and this is a picture of the authority of the word of God. The order is right when you come under the authority of the word of God, because she would then talk to these men and listen to and obey what they had to say. She would get truth from them and a wonderful promise to her based on their word. Their oath held true to her, and God’s word can be trusted… even if it’s all we’ve got… it is enough! Over time that promise did not get eroded. Many people do not believe in God’s ability to communicate and preserve his word. But our salvation depends on it. Those spies would leave, but they kept their word to the letter. Not one jot or tittle changed or wrong with it… no revising of the promise, no rewriting, no asterisks or caveats or small text. These spies carried the authority of Joshua, and God’s word carries the word of Christ, the Bible is his word, it is God speaking to us with God’s authority, with God’s seal. Rahab didn’t see Joshua, she didn’t see the leader of the army yet, and so we today have to live by faith, though now we see not.
The Bible often records some details that seem irrelevant. Like the flax that was laid in order on her roof. Why do we need to know that? Well there was some order to her life, you see the Holy Spirit prepares the way of Christ in our hearts… and if your heart isn’t ploughed up and ready for the truth, you’ll miss it. Rahab was already seeking truth before the spies came. She had heard about the God of the Israelites. Things were being ordered in her life, and Jesus said if someone seeks truth, they will find it. God is a God of order. He will put your life in order if you trust in him. You’ll get things straight, and no longer be crooked, deceived, confused. It’s wonderful when things start to make sense… because the Bible says the entrance of thy words giveth light. The Bible says in Proverbs 31:13 – She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. This verse is about the virtuous woman. She seeks wool and flax and makes clothing, she is productive, she builds her house. If Rahab’s house is a picture of her heart, we see a heart ready and receptive for the truth. She would end her life clothed in the righteousness of Christ. It’s why she’s accepted by God, not because of her, because she was a great sinner, but she trusted in God, and like when any of us are saved, we get Christ’s righteousness imputed to us… while he takes our sins which he did on the cross. Pretty good deal huh. When truth came, she didn’t let it go.
She didn’t put things off, the Bible says before they were laid down she came to them to speak to them. Why people don’t get saved is they hear God’s word, truth comes to them, but they put it off… there is no urgency, but the Bible says now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation! Putting off things to a later date means you’ll never get saved. How many people claim and plan to sort out their faith, to address it one day when they have time. Remember the king who said to Paul he’d see him again at a more convenient season? Or those in Acts who said we will hear you again on this matter. There’s no record of them ever getting saved!
Rahab acknowledged truth. She said… I know… and we have heard. The Bible says faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. What had she heard? She had heard how God had destroyed the nations that had come against Israel. She said the terror of the Lord had fallen upon her and her people. That’s how people get saved. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. What makes someone repent? Seeing they are a sinner who is going to hell if they do not believe in Jesus Christ. Seeing how the wrath of God abides on them. Seeing how holy God is. Before Rahab experienced the love of God (even though truth is love, so God loves us by not lying to us pretending things are ok when they’re not ), she knew that she was in trouble and doomed. For a common harlot of Jericho, a pagan city, she had an astounding grasp on truth. She knew things weren’t ok. She knew she had urgent business to do with these men. That’s why she came and spoke to them immediately.
Rahab admitted her heart had melted. Its interesting that the people of Jericho were thinking the same things Rahab was… yet only Rahab and her family was saved. You see, many people know the truth, they’ve heard, they know, but it didn’t lead them to salvation. How many people know they’re sinners. They know what the Bible says. They can even get afraid. Belshazzar got afraid. But it doesn’t result in them getting saved and born again. It’s so true. We can personally never actually place OUR faith, OUR trust in God for ourselves. We think about it, we know we should, we intellectually assent… but we never truly do anything about it. People’s hearts can be melted by the truth… that’s a strong word. Because before building… there is brokenness. Before being saved, there is being lost. Before Jesus Christ, there is the fiery law of God. Why did Jesus preach to repent? He made people’s hearts melt. Remember those on the road to Emmaus who said did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us in the way? Rahab’s admissions were startling… look at all she had heard! God knows how to communicate with his creation. There’s nothing about preachers being sent to Jericho, yet they seemed to know all about the God of Israel. Yet only one woman… a harlot… got saved. It’s not people don’t know… it’s not people can’t know… it’s just they know and then refuse. It’s why so many nations are the way they are, they have grown in unbelief, generation after generation willingly growing apart from God.
Rahab sought out a promise from these men. She wanted to be saved. You know salvation is based on the promises of God. God has made many exceeding and precious promises the Bible says. God’s word makes promises to us. It is a promise of God that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with your heart you will be saved. It is a promise of God that you will be forgiven if you confess your sins to him and ask for forgiveness. The failure doesn’t come from God’s side of things, as he does not and CANNOT lie. Rahab didn’t just get promises, she got a true token. What is the token of our salvation? The blood of Jesus Christ. Shed on the cross for our sins. It is that scarlet thread.
Rahab let them down by a scarlet cord. And in it we see a truth, that when God’s word comes to your heart it leaves a scarlet thread connecting us to the promises of God. God’s word doesn’t return to him void. Those messengers went back to Joshua. But they had changed Rahab’s life, they’d left her bound by a promise, a covenant between the two parties. God’s word, and the work of the Holy Spirit, produces unmistakable results in the life of someone that believes. It is impossible to go past the blood of Jesus Christ. To go past the cross of Christ. True salvation like Rahab had is based on the blood of Christ which was shed for the sins of the world. The Bible says though our sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. God’s word never leaves us without addressing our sin. Without point us to truth, without working salvation in our lives. The work of the Holy Spirit is the convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement. He points us to the word of God, to Jesus Christ. Many people become Christians yet without the most basic fundamental truths in place. There’s no scarlet thread hangin’ in windows today. Rahab, a harlot of Jericho, had more truth in order than we who have the Bible delivered to us today. She knew of the coming judgement, the terror of God, the authority of God, the need for salvation, the need for kindness, the need for a promise from a word that could be trusted… a word already proven time and time again. Why could she trust their word so simply, and we can’t and do not?
It was the scarlet thread hanging in her window that signified her salvation. If it wasn’t there she wouldn’t be saved. If you don’t have a scarlet thread in your window, you are in trouble. The requirement was she abide in the house, and those that were saved with her… her family… would be killed if they weren’t in the house with the scarlet thread. There is only one way to be saved. Through Jesus Christ. If you want to wander to another belief you won’t make it. If you want to wander away from truth, to stray and follow human philosophy, or man made religions or whatever it may be, even just go it your own way… well… Rahab’s house was the only house left standing at the end of it. Noone else made it.
Rahab’s faith produced works. The book of James says that. A true salvation produces works. What she did showed what had happened in her heart. You can’t be born again and yet unchanged. Being born again is a change, it is a new creature born of God in you. How can God’s Holy Spirit not produce something different? Maybe you’re more like those men on a wild goose hunt. You see those men chasing the spies in futility is what most of us are like. A life rejecting Jesus Christ, doing the devil’s bidding, is a wasted effort and a futile journey. If you are chasing salvation and fulfillment and purpose and relevance outside the word of God, you are chasing nothing. And you will end up persecuting the truth, because you are against God, as they were. People today are either for Jesus Christ, or against him, there are only two sides. Rejecting the word of God, the message of God, results in a life of futility and wasted effort. Think of the vanity and pointlessness of their pursuit of messengers who weren’t even there!
There are so many more truths to be gleaned like Ruth gleaned from the field of Boaz. But the essence today is that the spies are a picture of God’s word. They are come to town today, but will God’s word find a place in your heart today? The gospel has the power to save you. Just like the word of the messengers bound in a promise is what saved Rahab. God wants to save you, but maybe you don’t like being spied out by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. There’s plenty in your home already, you don’t need them. You don’t want to be causing problems with citizens of Jericho, you’re scared of what others think, you’re scared of how it will impact your relationships to others, you’re scared of what it will cost you. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Rahab and Jericho for that matter had heard. But just like the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, the seed finds stony places, or shallow ground, or the seed is snatched away. Satan is after the seed. There is a very real persecution of God’s word today, but just like they couldn’t find the messengers before they’d completed their task, God’s word triumphs today. This world is like Jericho today, a great city, full of pleasures and delights… and also sin… and judgement is coming… but God wants to save you and anyone that will believe him… that will receive the spies with peace!
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Joseph View All →
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
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