It’s Not Where You Came From, But Where You End Up
Rahab: It’s Not Where You Came From, but Where You End Up
God does not expect us to stay as He found us. We are expected to grow in grace and knowledge, to put sin out of our lives, to become a new person. We are expected to show our faith by how we live our lives, just as Rahab did.
[Peter Eddington] Ella Fitzgerald was a famous American singer. Many of you are familiar with her work. Ella Fitzgerald lived from 1970 to 1996 and she was known as the First Lady of Song. She was an awesome jazz singer and the first African American woman to win a Grammy Award. In fact, she ended up winning 13 Grammys in all throughout her musical career. On her website at ellafitzgerald.com, there are some great quotes of hers. Here's one, "I know I'm no glamour girl and it's not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot but now I've got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing."
In referring to her strong vocal cords, she said, "I stole everything I ever heard but mostly I stole from the horns." You know, the horn section in the orchestra. And how about this one? "I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, baby, rich is better." And now perhaps Ella Fitzgerald's most famous quote is this one and you'll find it all over the web, not just on her website at ellafitzgerald.com. "It isn't where you came from, it's where you going that counts."
And then Ms. Fitzgerald elaborated on this and said, quote, "You cannot do anything about your birth, it's beyond your control. However, where you will go in your life is under your control. You are the only person who can take control of your life, so you have to make sure that you are living your life precisely, you have to make your own decisions. So, live your life in such a way that you don't have any regrets while dying." It's the end of the quote. And so, let me repeat her again, "It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts." "Come as you are," is a common catchphrase in the Christian community today.
But as we know, God does not expect us to stay as He found us. We are expected to grow, to grow in grace, as we heard about earlier, to grow in grace and knowledge, to put sin out of our lives to become a new person. We are expected to show our faith by how we live our lives by our works. And so, I want to talk about a woman today, not Ella Fitzgerald, but a woman found in the Faith Hall of Fame. And she was not a famous singer, at least as far as I know she wasn't. She had the name Rahav, which means broad. I suppose her parents were hoping she would grow up to bear many children and do well with pregnancy and childbirth.
Of course, not too long ago, people use the slang term broad for a woman but not the nicest term necessarily to use. Our faith Hall of Fame woman was named Rahav and then in modern English, we call her Rahab. Even though she's introduced to us as a harlot, she's found in the Faith Hall of Fame. So, let's see why and we'll see how it applies to us today. Our heroine showed her faith by how she lived by her works. She proved her character by following God and as a result, she is listed right here in Scripture in Hebrews 11. Have you ever wondered what Scripture would say that your life with all its ups and downs? It might be a bit embarrassing.
This is actually one of the proofs of the Bible. It obviously tells the truth about everyone it includes, the good and the bad. Scripture is very authentic, maybe you wouldn't want your life listed in Scripture. The title of the sermon today is “Rahab: It's Not Where You Came From, but Where You End Up." "It's Not Where You Came From, but Where You End Up,", kind of based on that famous quote from Ella Fitzgerald. So, let's begin in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. Hebrews 11. You see, we believe in God and all around us is evidence, not only for God's existence but evidence for God's direction in history and even evidence for His direction in our lives.
At the same time, there are challenges and mental struggles in our belief even though we see evidence of God being there. And to make up for those challenges, we have to have faith. God wants us to show our faith in Him and in His promises. Just think, if we are willing to trust God now, who we don't see with our eyes, how much more will we be committed when we do actually see Him? God wants us to trust Him, even when there might be some doubt, some questions, and that doubt is taken care of by faith. So, Hebrews 11:1 Hebrews 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
American King James Version×, this verse puts it perfectly. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, and to have faith in things we don't see but there is evidence of all around us."
And then verse 2, Hebrews 11, "For by it… by faith the elders obtained a good testimony." You know, the faithful ancient leaders we find in Scripture obtained a good testimony by their faith. And so, today in looking at Rahab, we're studying a woman who has a good testimony, the faithful elder statesman of the people of God. Rahab is in what we call the Faith Hall of Fame here in Hebrews 11. It's not where you came from, it's where you end up and we know much about the early life of Rahab. Hebrews 11:30 Hebrews 11:30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
American King James Version×, go down the page a bit here, Hebrews 11:30 Hebrews 11:30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
American King James Version×, "For by faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days."
And verse 31, "By faith the harlot, Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace." So, what Hebrews is referring to here is a time of war taking place when the Israelites were conquering the promised land. Israel, God's nation, was going to conquer the land which God had promised them. What happens in a war? Armies are there and they kill people and they break things. That's what an army does and that's what happened to Jericho and the city walls were broken down. Another thing an army does, if it can, is deceive the enemy to its intentions. Trickery helps with victory, an army will send out spies.
Of late, Terri and I have been watching some movies from the World War II period. And there were many British women, not just men, women who spied for the Allies against the Germans. And they snuck into Europe, they snuck into France, they infiltrated behind enemy lines. They infiltrated the German ranks, reporting on troop movements, and even sabotaging bridges and railroads. Some of the women's spies were trained in the use of explosives and bombs and weapons and communications. Spies by nature are there to trick you, to deceive you. They don't come out and say, "Hey, we're here from the other side, just want to find out how we can beat you guys."
No, spies are very deceptive and usually go unnoticed. Under the Old Covenant, God had a church which was also a nation. It was a theocracy. And as a nation, Israel was involved in diplomacy and also involved in some conflict, and even sometimes war. But God promised them, if they remain close to Him, He will deliver them in those battles and that's what we saw happen at Jericho. The people of Israel had faith and trust that God would deliver them after marching around the city for seven days. And so, in Rahab's situation, two messengers were sent by Joshua to spy out Jericho in advance of the Israelites coming to conquer the city.
And here's a key point, successful spies have to blend into the population. In Jericho, they would have needed to blend into the Canaanite population. So, it's very likely that at least one of them would have come from the tribe of Judah because Jews and Canaanites resemble each other. Here's why. Judah’s children came from a Canaanite wife and as a result, Jews and Canaanites tend to look quite alike. For example, today, Christians in Lebanon and they're just north of Israel, Christians in Lebanon are Canaanite by descent. And oftentimes, it's hard to distinguish between somebody who's an Israeli and someone who's a Lebanese, and Bible scholars believe it's very likely that at least one of the messengers was from Judah in order to blend into the Canaanite population.
It's also possible that one of them was from the royal line of Judah, who had the name Salma, S-A-L-M-A. I'll show you why, turn to 1 Chronicles 2, bear with me for a moment. Salma is found in the book of 1 Chronicles 2. He's also mentioned in the New Testament with the name Salmon. We would say salmon, right? But it's Salmon, S-A-L-M-O-N, in the New Testament. But Salma is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2. Let's read verses 10 through 12 for a moment. 1 Chronicles 2:10 1 Chronicles 2:10And Ram begat Amminadab; and Amminadab begat Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah;
American King James Version×, Ram, who is Judah's grandson, so Judah's grandson, “Ram begot Amminadab, and Amminadab begot Nahshon, leader of the children of Judah; and Nahshon begot Salma, and then Salma begot Boaz,” we're familiar with Boaz.
“Boaz begot Obed, and Obed begot Jesse,” and Jesse, of course, is King David's dad. So, this is all part of the royal line or the ancestry to Jesus Christ. There's reason to speculate that Salma was one of the Jericho messengers. Let's go to Matthew 1 now and see where he's mentioned in the New Testament. Matthew 1, here we have the genealogy of Jesus Christ and we find that Rahab is there, Rahab. She's in the royal line that leads to the Messiah. Matthew 1:3 Matthew 1:3And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
American King James Version×, "Judah begot Perez and Zerah by his wife Tamar," so keep that name in mind, Tamar.
"Perez begot Hezron and Hezron begot Ram," and that's where we actually pick it up then in 1 Chronicles 2 with Ram, right? Judah's grandson. Ram begot Amminadab, we read that earlier, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. So, that's pretty much exactly what we read in 1 Chronicles 2. But then notice verse 5, "Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab." So, Salmon married Rahab. Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. We know the Messiah had to come from David and Boaz descended from Salmon and Rahab. Maybe they first met if Salmon was one of the messengers and fell in love.
It's some speculation but it's quite possible and some Jewish historians believe that's the way it took place. What's also interesting is that another woman who pretended to be a harlot back in Genesis 38 was Tamar, Judahs' wife. Tamar pretended to be a harlot and you see, she's also listed here in Matthew 1:3 Matthew 1:3And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
American King James Version×. Tamar was a Canaanite woman. So, a lot of the Jewish descendants are half Canaanite and that's why many of them look like the Lebanese today. So, it's speculated that at least one of the spies, in order to fit in, would have looked very much like the population in Jericho to walk into town and hang out.
Let's go back to the kind of Tamar in Genesis 38 for a moment, Genesis 38, because it ties in with the kind of Rahab in the ancestry leading to the Messiah. When Judah had his escapade with Tamar, I'll say escapade because it's a long story, I'm not going to go into it today, of how Judah met Tamar and all that happened there. But she pretended to be a harlot but she was actually a widow, her husband had died. And Judah's wife had also died, so he was a widower. So, the two of them, the widow and the widower, got together. And before this relationship was solidified, Tamar says, "I want some kind of payment or a sign that you're going to look after me later for this relationship we're about to have, what will you give me as a prove you'll be faithful to me after all this?"
So, Genesis 38:17 Genesis 38:17And he said, I will send you a kid from the flock. And she said, Will you give me a pledge, till you send it?
American King James Version×, so Judah said, "I'll send you a young goat from the flock." I guess that was, you know, like getting a Mercedes back then or something. "I'll send you a goat." And she goes, "Well, will you give me a pledge so that I know you will actually send me the goat?" So, verse 18, so Judah said, “'What pledge shall I give you? What do you want?’ So, she said, 'Your signet and cord, and your staff that is in your hand.’ So, he gave them to her, and went into her, and she conceived by him.” It's kind of a promise that he'll be faithful to her going forward.
And the signet and cord and staff seem to be a symbol of his authority. The cord may have been attached to the signet actually, which was likely the seal he would use to seal documents to sign or authenticate contracts and it may have been connected through a sash or a belt through a cord. So, he gave her the cord and the signet and his staff. The cord is interesting because it comes up again then when Judah's children are born as a result of this relationship. Genesis 38:27 Genesis 38:27And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
American King James Version×, "Now it came to pass at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in Tamar's womb. And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; And the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, ‘This one came out first.’ But then it happened," verse 29, "that he drew back his hand, and his brother came out unexpectedly; so the midwife said, ‘How did you get out? This breach be upon you!’ So, therefore his name was called Perez."
In verse 30, "Afterward then his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah." So, this here was a scarlet cord, which is interesting. Here we have Perez and Zerah, now the two branches of the tribe of Judah. The first child came out a bit first, I don't know if his brother dragged him back in or what happened, but his brother fought out and came out, ultimately, first, and Zerah came out second but with the red cord tied around his hand.
His brother pushed him back or whatever and forced himself to be born first. But the red cord is interesting symbolism and it will come up again as we read about Rahab. So, now let's go to the book of Joshua, the second chapter, with a bit of this Jewish background on the tribe of Judah and Zerah and the red cord around his finger, and Tamar even herself pretending to be a harlot, of which Rahab was a harlot. So, Joshua 2, let's go now to the story of Rahab and start to put all this together. Joshua 2:1 Joshua 2:1And 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.
American King James Version×, we're going to pretty much go through this whole chapter eventually. Joshua 2:1 Joshua 2:1And 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.
American King James Version×, "Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went, out and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there."
It was not uncommon for both an inn and a brothel to operate within the same building in the Canaanite world. So, entering Rahab's house was not necessarily a deviation from Joshua's orders. They basically went to an inn or a hotel for the night and such an establishment might have represented an ideal location for spies to gather intelligence. You know, a hotel with all kinds of travelers and business associates passing through and staying there. You've probably seen Hollywood movies where, you know, a deal is struck in a hotel lobby. That's kind of where the business happens in the hotel. Verse 2, "And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, ‘Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.’"
So, somehow their cover was blown, they weren't totally successful spies. I guess it wasn't their lifelong career, after all, tried to fit in but it didn't quite work. Verse 3, "So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country." The king said, "These guys are spies, didn't you realize? Couldn't you tell?" "Then the woman took the two men out and hid them. So she said, ‘Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.’"
You know, "Head out of town and maybe you'll catch up to them on the road." At this point, Rahab became an ally, a part of the army of Israel. She was now switching sides. She became involved in the spy mission. She defected to God's army. This was the beginning of her journey of faith. Rehab understood the God of Israel is the true God. Israel was at that time known as the Old Testament Church of God in the Wilderness, the Church of God in the Wilderness, and she wanted to be a part of it. Remember, faith is not where you came from but where you end up. And notice verse 6, this is in parentheses in verse 6, kind of a side point, “(But she had actually put them up on the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)” They hadn't headed out down the road, she'd hidden them upstairs.
Verse 7, "Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate." So now the spies, actually, if they're still in the city, couldn't get out. The city walls have been shut, they were locked inside with Rahab. Verse 8, "Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: ‘I know that the Eternal, you know, Yahweh has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.’"
So, the messengers are getting the information they want. They now know, the spies now know that the Canaanites were very fearful of the Israelites, they were terrified, and this is going to be a very encouraging report to bring back to Joshua. And Rahab had now drawn the right conclusion, she now wanted to become a part of the covenant people. Later on, another woman, Ruth, you may recall, also joined the people of the covenant. In the line to the Messiah, there are four women in that genealogy in Matthew 1, including Rahab and Ruth and Tamar and another one.
Verse 10, "For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea," you know, this had kind of gotten around, "when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed." So, there's, you know, a wake of terror here everywhere the Israelites went. "And as soon as we heard these things," verse 11, "our hearts melted, you know, oh, no, hopefully, they don't come to Jericho. Neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God," says Rahab, "He is God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath."
You know, "Your God is the God of everything." So, Rahab came to understand the God she was now following. She was following the one true God, who was God of heaven and earth. She was no longer following the dozens of Canaanite gods. The Canaanites had, at my last count, 51 gods. So that's why, in the Old Testament, it says there's only one God, not 51. Here's some of the names you may recognize. Ashura, Ashtoreth, also known as Astarte from where we get the name Easter, right? Ishtar. Baal Hadad, which means master of thunder.
Baal Hammon, which means god of vegetative fertility, so you can have a god for everything, right? Baal-zephon, Lord of Mount Zephon, maybe God had one for each hill around. Just simply, Bel, he was the god of Palmyra, Dagon, god of crop fertility, and, of course, Moloch, you've heard of Moloch, the god of fire, often for child sacrifices. So, Rahab was now doing away with those dozens up to 50 or more Canaanite gods and settling on the true God of the covenant people of Israel. So, verse 12, "Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord," this is the YHVH, right? Yahweh. Rahab is recognizing their god the true God.
"Swear to me by the lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father's house, and give me a true token," this is someone else that wants a guarantee, a token, "and please spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." Rahab is literally looking for a place of refuge, a place of safety, we might call it, right? She did not have a stellar occupation, which was very common actually in the Canaanite world. But she definitely was a woman who had a love for her family and cared for her parents and her brothers and her sisters.
She wanted them to be spared, she wasn't just looking out for herself, she was trying to save her whole family from what the Canaanites knew was going to be certain destruction at the hands of Israel and Israel's God. Verse 14, "So the men answered her," here's the token they'll give, "Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours." So, Rahab's family, not just her, the whole family had to keep the secret, could not reveal the spies or where they were or turn them in. "We will look after you," said the spies, "if you don't tell anybody." And then later on in verse 14, "And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you."
So, this was all based on the spies' honorable word. The men, though, were messengers of integrity, they were righteous men of their day. They were leaders of the Church in that day. Acts 7:38 Acts 7:38This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give to us:
American King James Version×refers to ancient Israel as a congregation in the wilderness or the Church in the Wilderness and Joshua had chosen respected church leadership as his messengers and they said they would honor their word. Verse 15, "Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall." So, Rahab actually lived on the wall of Jericho. Later the walls came down but she was saved. Somehow, maybe a section of it remained for her to be spared.
I seem to recall a graphic in the old Bible Correspondence Course here about this portion of the book of Joshua and it showed the walls hold down but one section remained with the rope coming out of the window. Part of the wall was saved. So then, verse 16, "She said to them, ‘Get to the mountain,’" so she lowers them down to the wall, "Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. You know, there's a guy out there looking for you, so watch out. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned, you know, they kind of come back saying they couldn't find you. Afterward then you may go your way."
She said, "Hide in the hills and watch out because there's, you know, men out there looking for you." So, Rahab is even helping here, giving extra advice, she's trying to be as helpful as possible. You know, they might be a bit hurried or not take proper precautions, she was warning them and so she shows a great deal of wisdom. And so, we see some of the positive traits that Rahab had and she certainly was a woman of leadership. And she didn't know any better about the matter of harlotry at the time, she was a Canaanite, it was accepted in her culture, it was kind of the normal thing. She'd grown up in that Canaanite world of which Jericho was a city, that profession was probably common.
But now, she was going to learn a new way to live and will be under the guidance of the God of Israel, the one true God that she was coming to recognize. She would learn the commandments that will lead to happiness and joy and peace and prosperity. You know, it was just during this period of history at Mount Sinai that God gave the Ten Commandments for the first time, the Ten Commandments. Do you realize what a transformation that was for the entire world, not just for Egypt, or the Middle East, or the Sinai? The Ten Commandments transformed the world. No other society had anything like this except Israel.
The English-speaking peoples of today basically have based their laws and judicial system on the Bible and on the Ten Commandments. Here in the United States, Washington DC, on the main, you know, supreme courthouse is Moses with the Bible and the Ten Commandments. Sorry, not with the Bible, with the Ten Commandments. So, the Ten Commandments transformed the world. The Ten Commandments helped do away with things like harlotry and prostitution and adultery and fornication and murder and lying and coveting and, you know, everything else listed in the Ten. And Rahab didn't know any better growing up but she was now about to be introduced to these very commandments and change her life. It's not where you came from, it's where you end up. Keep that in mind.
So, here we see a woman of family, of respect for family, and of wisdom. And she was really able to help Israel and she risked herself to do this. What if it did leak out? What if the king of Jericho found out she had hidden the spies? She had risked her life. She's trusting now these men to spare her. Verse 17, "So the men said to her: ‘We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household to your own home.’"
So, the spy said, "Unless you mark exactly where your house is on that wall with this scarlet thread, you know, all bets are off and our promise doesn't stand. You have to put a scarlet cord out the window and your entire household has to be in that house with you. They can't be out wandering around in the street, they've got to be right there with you if you want them saved along with you. They all have to be together to be saved." And so, yes, here we have it, the scarlet cord. Remember it was mentioned, Zerah, Judah's you know, second twin that came out, and the early material about Tamar. Here again, we have the scarlet cord.
The scarlet cord indicates being saved. And in some respects, the scarlet is symbolic of the blood of Christ that covers our sins. This is a scripture in Isaiah about this, Isaiah 1, right at the beginning of Isaiah. If you want to turn over there for a minute, we'll make a note of it. I'll read it to you because we're going to come back to Joshua. Isaiah 1:18 Isaiah 1:18Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
American King James Version×, “'Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’" Jesus Christ's blood wipes us clean, but the red is also a striking color, easy to see. It's something that stands out.
And this was the royal line of Judah, which red also indicates royalty. This was the royal line of Judah and Rahab became a part of that royal line. And so, the red cord was to be hung outside the window. She drops the scarlet cord over the walls of Jericho. And just as the blood of the Lamb caused the Lord to pass over the Israelites in Egypt 40 years earlier, now the scarlet, the scarlet cord, this rope that spies came down the wall on is like a sign to protect the household. That scarlet rope indicated their salvation and it's kind of an analogy of Christ, blood of Christ that save our lives.
So, Rahab's entire family were protected by the indication of that scarlet cord, just as the Israelites too, remember, had to all gather together in their homes to be protected by the blood on the doorposts and the lintel to be saved, the Israelites could not go outside or leave their home either, they had to all be gathered together behind closed doors, just like Rahab did. So, it's kind of, you know, a parallel there. Rahab's whole family were protected. Joshua 2:19 Joshua 2:19And it shall be, that whoever shall go out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his head, and we will be guiltless: and whoever shall be with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be on him.
American King James Version×, where we left off. "So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, though, his blood shall be on our hand if a hand is laid on him."
So, the spies said, "Everybody in that house will be protected, your whole family." Just like the Israelites, "Don't go outside, stay in that night." And it's a similar order to the one given to the Israelites here in Joshua 2:19 Joshua 2:19And it shall be, that whoever shall go out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his head, and we will be guiltless: and whoever shall be with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be on him.
American King James Version×, Rahab and her entire family were to stay in their home to be saved. And somehow, it's a miracle, in all the chaos of that conquest of Jericho that came later, this was filled in a miraculous manner by God. Verse 20, here's another condition, “'If you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear. You have to keep it a secret.’ Then she said, ‘According to your words, so be it.”'And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window."
Verse 22, "The spies departed and went to the mountain, stayed there three days," like she suggested, "until the pursuers returned. And the pursuers sought them all along the way, but did not find them." So, they wisely followed her advice. She actually saved them twice from danger here. Verse 23, "So the two men returned," the spies return, "descended from the mountain, and crossed over; and they came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all that had befallen them. And they said to Joshua, ‘Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.’"
So, yes, they brought back a very positive report. You may recall that 40 years earlier when the spies went to scope out the land, they brought back a very negative report and paid for it for 40 years in the wilderness. This time a positive report, thankfully. And now note Joshua 6, let's skip forward in the story. Joshua 6, after the walls of Jericho, have come tumbling down, after they've been flattened. Joshua 6:22 Joshua 6:22But Joshua had said to the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out there the woman, and all that she has, as you swore to her.
American King James Version×, "But Joshua had said to the two men who spied out the country, he said, ‘Go into the harlot's house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.' And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel."
It must have been a miracle. She was saved, the wall came down but a section of it, her home, remained for her to be spared. And then verse 24, "So the Israelites burned the city down and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord." Verse 25, "And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father's household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho." And from this, Rahab became an ancestor of Jesus Christ. She became a naturalized Israelite, she dwelt in Israel from that day forward.
So, she dwelt in Israel but I suspect that Joshua here is referring to her whole family, you know, the whole family dwelt in Israel to this day or to that day. They became part of the covenant people, the Church in the Wilderness, as it was called. And she became the wife of Salmon and became an ancestor of the Messiah. Rehab acted on her faith, she started to learn a new way to live, and trust in God. It's not where you came from, it's where you end up. None of us are good enough to be given what God wants to give us, it's because of God's grace. We could never earn our salvation.
God wants us to be His sons and daughters forever, to share eternity with Him. Salvation is a gift, we don't earn it. But on the other hand, God is not going to give this reward to an ongoing sinner, we can disqualify ourselves. Our faith must move us to respond and to obey God. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate penalty, if we accept His sacrifice and then become His disciples, we must follow Him and we must live according to His commandments, as Rahab then did. And it's shown in Rahab's life, she first had the belief, the faith, and the commitment to the God of Israel, to the people of Israel, to that Old covenant Church. And then she showed her faith by what she did.
It's faith and what you do, it's faith and works because faith without works is dead faith. So, what is the takeaway for us today? You may have done some terrible things in your life. We have all sinned grievously before God. But we must put those things behind us and move on from repentance. It's not where you came from, what you did, it's where you end up, it's how you change. As we conclude, let's go to the book of James. James 2, James talks about Rahab at her faith and what motivated her to do the right thing. James first talks about Abraham. Abraham had belief and trust in God but he also lived that way.
It wasn't just a belief, he lived that way. And his faith was shown by what he did, how he lived, and particularly, by the sacrifice of Isaac that God stopped. And James refers to this showing Abraham's faith and Abraham's works and then from there, he goes on to the example of Rahab. James 2:24 James 2:24You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
American King James Version×, James says, "You see then," after looking at the life of Abraham, "that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." You have to have both.
Verse 25 for James 2, "Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Rehab is an example of faith and works. And so, we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, our Lord and Master, our High Priest and coming King, and then we live the rest of our lives accordingly following the example of Rahab, a woman in the Faith Hall of Fame. So, the title of the sermon, “Rahab: It's Not Where You Came From, but Where You End Up."