Know my heart, O God. Honor my desire to know You and Your Word so I can please You.
Read Joshua 2:1-16
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.
“Jacob was both strong and weak, at times quite trustworthy and at other times deceptive, remarkably courageous and yet also susceptible to cowardliness” (John Claypool). And God used him, just as he uses imperfect people like us!
Who is this woman, Rahab? The chapter is taken up with the story of her faithfulness despite her ethnic identity and disreputable profession. As a Canaanite, and a prostitute, she would be considered worthy of death. With the battle of Jericho looming, her family and all she owned should have perished, along with her people. She has only heard of the God of Israel, yet she fears him and believes. So, instead, she prospers. Through her deceit her house survives, she becomes an Israelite, and she lives. The writer frames a series of contrasts between Rahab and Achan in ch. 7.
Achan, in contrast to Rahab, is a Hebrew from the best tribe, Judah, and a respected leader. He should have lived, but through his deceit his family and all he owns perish. Although he has seen the power of God at work, he does not fear him, but disobeys. He will die like the Canaanites. Rahab and Achan trade places; she becomes an Israelite and he becomes a Canaanite. She chooses to live among God’s people and even shows up in the genealogy of Christ (Matt. 1:5)! The major difference between Achan and Rahab is their attitude towards God. Rahab takes God seriously, placing her faith in him and risking her life to protect the two Israelite spies she is hiding. Achan treats God as if he does not exist and assumes he can blatantly disobey him and not suffer any consequences.
The narrator is letting us know that there is more to the conquest of Canaan than just the destruction of the Canaanites. There are critical issues of individual faith and obedience involved. Likewise, there is more to faith in God than just nationality or respectability. A Canaanite harlot can find it, and a respectable Israelite can miss it.
Have you found faith in unlikely places? Is there some “unlikely” person of faith you can welcome into Christian fellowship?
I am encouraged, Lord, to realize you worked through the likes of Jacob and Rahab. Take me with all my contradictions and use me for Your glory, too.
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