24th March 2023
Read - Joshua 2:8-11
Message Alan Burke
We’re focusing on Rahab before the fall of Jericho, a woman who we are told “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” (Heb 11:31). Why did Rahab welcome/hide the spies it is because she had faith, her faith was shown in her willingness to risk everything is because of her belief in the Lord God. In v9-11 she confesses her faith to the spies that she had saved shows a remarkable knowledge of what God had done and was going to do. Firstly she tells them v9, that she knows the LORD has given them this land. Here we are told what had happened, it is that the fear of the Lord had fallen upon the people. This isn’t the type of fear God’s people have before the Lord their God, which is a filial fear, as that of a child before their parent. Rather the fear that the people of Jericho and the Canaanites had experienced was the fear of finding themselves as the enemies of God, it is the fear of those who find themselves under the judgement of God. The Canaanites were fearful of the Israelites, they knew they were the people of the one true God Yahweh.
This is the reason why Rahab was willing to save the lives of the spies, to risk everything, for she had saved them so that they would go back to Joshua and that God would have the victory. This woman who was not an Israelite, who was a Canaanite, who was an outsider, had heard what God had done, how He had dried up the water of the Red Sea before his people, how they had defeated their enemies on the way to the promised land, devotion those who were the enemies of God to destruction. We don’t know when Rahab came to this realisation for herself, when that faith was worked in her by God but her confession shows her faith, she acted the way that she did because of faith, faith based in the knowledge of God. She responded rightly to the knowledge of God. The only way that any of us can respond rightly to the Lord is by the knowledge of who He is, while creation testifies to the existence of God, it is not in itself sufficient to give knowledge of God that is necessary for salvation. But faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of God (Rom 10:17). Rahab had heard and responded to the word of God.
The sadness about this is that even though the Canaanites had heard it is only Rahab and her family that in the end are saved from the coming Judgment of God. This event and faith of Rahab reminds us firstly of the necessity of hearing to the word of God but also respond to the word of God rightly. For the grace of God was not and is not limited to the people of Isreal, Rahab shows how the Canaanites could be saved, Rahab shows how any person who has ever lived can be saved, that is to trust in the one true God, to have faith in what he has done in Jesus Christ, for it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved (Rom 10:13). But only she and her family were saved for only Rahab responded rightly to the fear and sought refuge in the Lord. The response of Rahab to who the Lord is, is only appropriate response for all who hear the word of God is to seek refuge in Him, to trust in Him, to run to Him in faith. It is the only response that matters. The people of Canaan knew what was coming with the judgement of God but even though they knew it was only Rahab and her family that were saved because the rest of the Canaanites did not put their trust in God.
God saves sinners like us, sinners like Rahab, there is only one category of people outside faith in Christ and they are the wicked, for our sin makes us his enemies and the only way that we can become the righteous and be commended for is by faith. One last thing that confronts us with the wonderful grace of God. For we learn in Matthew's gospel that Rahab’s husband was called Salmon and their son was called Boaz, though God’s wonderful grace, Rahab was an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:5) even though for some they might find it surprising, but God uses fallen sinners for his glory, he doesn’t need us, but yet he chooses to use us. Let us marvel more and more at the wonderful grace of God and just how scandalous that grace is, HIs mercy towards us.
Q2 What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, (2 Tim. 3:16, Eph. 2:20) is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. (1 John 1:3–4)