The following study is based on Hebrews 11:30-31, “30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
As we study about the walls of Jericho coming down, it is inevitably tied with the story of Rahab. Rahab is a very important character in the Bible. Her name is mentioned there in Matthew 1:5 from the lineage of Jesus.
Today we’re going to study these two situations but we’re going to do it in reverse. We’re going to start with Rahab.
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.
- Who is Rahab? She is a harlot, a prostitute! Not only that, she is a heathen person from the city of Jericho – the enemy of God’s people.
- Now let’s keep reading.
2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. 3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. 4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: 5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. 6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.
- So Rahab was willing to help the spies who came to spy out Jericho.
- Why though? Was she a traitor? Seems that way right. But look at what she says.
9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: 13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. 14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.
- God had worked obvious signs that He was the true God. It was obvious that something more than human was with the Israelites and it was obvious to this heathen person. Rahab was pointing out the source of her belief and willingness to help these people. Terror had come upon everyone. But why?
- The drying of the red sea.
- What was done to the 2 kings – Sihon and Og.
The drying of the red was 40 years ago! The Israelites had just been going round and round in the desert for 40 years and this is the first place to conquer. Yet Rahab still remembered it! But this didn’t inspire fear into her heart, it inspired faith! Faith to believe that the God that was with them was the TRUE God – the God in heaven above and in the earth beneath. And it brought her to the point that she believed that they would be victorious over Jericho even before it happened that she pwould lead for the life of herself and her family. Amazingly it wasn’t the parting of the river Jordan that had just happened in the previous chapter. But it is the events of the Exodus that inspired faith in her heart!
How about the 2 kings that they had conquered – Sihon and Og? They are both found in Numbers 21.
- King Sihon was king of the Amorites and the Israelites had just asked if they could pass through but he said no and came with his whole army to fight against them. Of course Israel prevailed and won the battle and would dwell in their towns.
- King Og was king of Bashan. And the same thing happened. He came out with all his army to fight and the Israelites won.
- This all took place after the 12 spies had already spied out the land. Even though they weren’t able to inherit Canaan, it was still obvious to all the pagan nations around that God was still with them and fought for them
Coming back to Rahab though. There was a condition to which she would be kept safe when they came to conquer Jericho.
- Joshua 2:18-19
18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee. 19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.
- What did she have to do? She had to tie a scarlet thread in the window so when they came they would know which place was hers.
- And as soon as they left, she would obey straight away!
- Joshua 2:21
And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
Some like to point out that Rahab lied to justify that it is OK to lie once in a while. To justify that lying white lies, good lies, are OK. After all, Rahab lied to send the guards a different way right?
- James 2:25
Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
- Seems like the Bible is commending what she did. But it is quite the contrary.
- Why is it OK in her case? She did what she believed was right to the best of her ability!
- Acts 17:30
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.
- That is the case we see with Abraham when he lied about his wife Sarah being his sister. It seemed like God blessed him but God didn’t really. The riches were from Pharaoh because he thought that was his sister!
- You need to go back and listen to the Faith of Abraham Part 1 – I address that situation there.
- Sometimes riches are not a blessing but a curse. The devil knows our weakness – and some of us are just so caught up with worldly things that we forget about God!
- But Rahab was a pagan. She was the worst of the worst! A harlot! But she acted on the best of her ability. She had faith in God’s messengers.
What was the result!
- Joshua 6:25
And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
- She was saved! She and everyone that came into her house the day that Jericho’s walls came crumbling down.
Now how about the walls of Jericho? How did this require faith?
- Joshua 6:1-5
1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
- What kind of modern warfare is that? Once again, no history to back this up that it would work. The Israelites had never fought like this before. March around Jericho once everyday for 6 days. And on the seventh day, march around it 7 times and shout! This had never been done before! It was new!
What is interesting here is that there was no more pillar of cloud or pillar of fire. The manna had also stopped just before that as well.
- Joshua 5:12
And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
- And the Lord only communicated directly with Joshua and not to the whole camp is Israel. He was giving all the instructions so it was left up to the people as to whether they should believe Joshua or not. Would they truly believe that God was the One that was guiding the affairs of the nation.
- Of course, this was not the first encounter they had had with Joshua since Moses died. There was an important event that took place back in Joshua 1. What was it? It was the parting of the river Jordan. God did the same miracle for the children of Israel then as He did back when they came out of Egypt. Almost as a symbol to remind them what God’s original intent was – which was to inherit the land of Canaan. So God did give them a platform to stand upon to trust Joshua.
However, it was still left with the children of Israel to believe Joshua’s words or not.
- They couldn’t see any angels. And they could have reasoned in their hearts. What type of movements is this that we are making to overthrow this city? Seems ridiculous to just march around it and blow the horn. And then you want us to shout at the walls? Is that really going to help? And why do we have to march around is 7 times on the last day? Shouldn’t we be conserving our energy so that we can fight when the walls come down?
- But the time that it took for them to conquer Jericho, 7 days marching around the city, it gave them time to build their faith, to develop it. Just like how Abraham had time to think and pray for three days when God told him to go and sacrifice his son Isaac. God wanted to impress on their minds from the beginning that it is not about man’s wisdom or his might, but salvation is to be found wholly on the Lord! God was trying to teach them that they had to get used to relying fully on God’s word and His word alone for wisdom, direction, strength, salvation and victory!
Friends, you know God still wants to do the same for us today?
- He wants to give us great victories in our lives. But God’s ways are not mans ways. We have to come to the point of learning to trust in Him and in His word alone. The reason why so many of us have not much strength is because we trust to our own wisdom and don’t even give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power for us. Many times we don’t take the first step because we don’t believe. We’ll reason away God’s word – saying it makes no sense, or we get scared of how we will look to others who are watching on. Maybe scared of people from Jericho mocking us. But we got to trust Him because God will help us if we believe in Him and in every emergency we place our entire confidence in Him and faithfully obey Him.
The walls of Jericho would not have come down if the children of Israel did not follow the instructions of God to every particular. God’s command was clear, weird as it may have sounded. We can’t always go based on history on how God should work in the present or in the future.
- For example, in Genesis there are 3 famines that took place. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all went through one famine each. For Abraham – God told him to go to Egypt. For Jacob (the most famous famine of them all whilst Joseph is in Egypt) God tells him to go to Egypt. But for Isaac God says don’t go to Egypt.
- Genesis 26:1-2
1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. 2 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
- Sometimes it makes no sense, and we go against the history of what God told our ancestor to do, but God still expects us to step out in faith and believe in His word.
Is God asking you to step out in the faith today to trust Him? The instruction or command from the Bible is clear. What He wants you to do is clear. Just the why seems to make no sense. God is inviting you on a faith journey with Him today. Will you trust Him? Will you believe Him? Even when it makes no sense? May God help us to have the faith of Rahab and the faith of the Israelites who marched around Jericho today! To trust His word implicitly!