This post is published as a companion to Unit 8, Session 1 of The Gospel Project for Adults Vol. 3 (Spring 2022): From Conquest to a Kingdom.
Scripture: Joshua 2, Joshua 6:22-25
Rahab, a prostitute, a sinner, a stranger, a foreigner, saved the spies of Israel at Jericho because she trusted the Lord God of Israel, knowing He had rescued the Israelites from Egypt (Joshua 2:10). In response, the spies promised to save her and everyone in her house from destruction if she tied the scarlet cord, that let them leave to safety, to her window (Joshua 2:18). She did what was instructed and her and her household were saved (Joshua 6:17,25).
The Pass Over
A scarlet cord on a window, blood painted on the doorposts and lintel. This story reminds us too well of the Passover story, how the angel of the Lord passed over the homes in Egypt that followed the Lord’s command so that they would be rescued from the final plague in Egypt, the death of the firstborn son. Here, Joshua and the Israelites showed mercy to Rahab’s family and passed over her house while destroying Jericho because of her faithfulness to them and their God. The scarlet cord, the blood of the lamb, all were signs of deliverance.
In one sense, we have an invisible scarlet cord wrapped around our soul because of our faith in Jesus’s work on the cross. It protects us and rescues us from the consequences of sin, namely physical and spiritual death, because God passes over our sin and sees the scarlet blood of Christ instead.
Once a Sinner
Once we were a sinner, prostituting ourselves for fame, fortune, and self. Once we were a stranger and foreigner to God, outside of His family, outside of Kingdom. But because of an invisible scarlet cord, because of the blood of Jesus, God has adopted us into His family, into His tribe, into His Kingdom, as He did for Rahab.
God offered Rahab freedom. But she did have to do one small thing. She had to tie the scarlet cord on the window; she had to tell her family about this Hebrew God and urge them to stay in her home to be rescued. In the same way, we are invited to trust Christ and follow Him. God offers us freedom, but we still must accept it. And if we want our loved ones to experience that same freedom, we also must tell them about our God and urge them towards freedom.
But this freedom didn’t come without a cost. Rahab eventually had to leave behind her home, her friends, her town, all that she had known before. That’s one way to look at it. But in return she got so much more. She received life! She received a new home, a better home, a new family and community, a new tribe, and a place to commune with the almighty, holy, loving God of Israel. Because in the end, what she left behind was all destroyed anyway.
Tying the Scarlet Cord
We are so much like Rahab. We are asked to leave behind our past, perhaps the luxuries of life, perhaps the things we thought would fulfill us. But come to find, they won’t last anyway; they were fleeting and will ultimately be destroyed. But God offers us life abundantly. He offers us all things new and good and satisfying.
All we need to do is to tie that scarlet cord around the window of our hearts, to trust in the blood of Christ to save us, if we haven’t yet. He is ready to rescue us and bring us into His kingdom. And if we are to experience such great blessings and rescue from the Lord, wouldn’t we want to share it with our loved ones and everyone we meet? We need to be like Rahab and invite people to experience that same blessing!
Praise be to God for His mercy and deliverance! He always provides a way for us to experience Him and experience freedom for His glory and our good!