Canaan, Christ and Canon
Gracious God, I thank You for the gift of prayer. May Your Spirit teach me afresh how to pray.
Read Joshua 2:17-24
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Reflect on how God has worked in unexpected ways, through unexpected people, in your life. List them and thank God.
Not only does Rahab believe in the God of Israel and his saving power, but she confirms her faith by acting to preserve the spies as members of his people and for the advancement of his kingdom. Her practical faith is demonstrated in three stages. She must tie the scarlet cord in the window of her home, gather all her family members to safety, and say nothing about the plan. How does your faith manifest itself today?
The early church fathers Clement (c. 100 AD) and Origen (185-254 AD) saw the scarlet cord as a sign foreshadowing redemption through the blood of Christ. The color of the cord adds a heightened significance to the story, but there is no indication that this was the intention of the spies, Rahab or the narrator. Such allegorical interpretation is not always the best way to read the passage, as we should try first to understand what the passage meant to the original hearers in their context, and what was the author’s original intention and meaning. Are there interpretations of Scripture you find difficult to accept, and if so, why?
Nevertheless, the whole story with the detail of the color of the cord illustrates vividly an aspect of the salvation which we experience through the death and resurrection of Jesus. He saves us from our enemies, hides us in his love, and rescues us from our sin. The book of Hebrews highlights Rahab’s faith and willingness to receive the spies (Heb. 11:31). Later Jewish tradition affirms her as a non-Jew who became a proselyte and woman of God, and through whom were born a line of prophetesses. The genealogy of Matthew names her as one of four women of dubious reputation who nevertheless are included in the ancestors of Jesus (Matt. 1:5).
Do you know someone on the margins of respectability whom you can welcome in Christ’s name? How are you prepared for meeting believers like Rahab?
Father, once more I am amazed at Your workings. The words of the hymn are true: “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform….” I bow before You.
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