Sermon delivered September 6, 1997

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

Rahab's Red Rope

Did you know that in the great honor roll of saints in Hebrews 11, only two women are mentioned? One is Sarah, who was a woman of great faith, and the other is RAHAB, the prostitute of Jericho. They don't have anything in common, do they? Rahab was an ungodly Heathen who had worshiped pagan gods. She sold her body for money. From a human point of view, these two ladies have nothing in common. But God looking down from heaven, put them both on the honor roll because He saw that both Sarah and Rahab shared the most vital thing in life: they both had saving faith in God.

Come with me to Joshua 2 and let us gather rich strength from one of the most interesting stories in the whole Bible. JOSHUA 2:1 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two secret agents from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they swam went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

Well, that's an interesting account. They swam across the flooded Jordan river and they entered the house of this prostitute. Jericho was a fortified city enclosed with towering double walls about 15 feet apart. It was one of the strongest fortresses in the whole land, according to Patriarchs and Prophets (EG White) p.487. Deuteronomy 9:1 says those wicked cities were fenced UP TO HEAVEN. The walls were sky high. This seat of idol worship had iron battle chariots. No human could break into Jericho. The walls were too massive. God GAVE the victory to his people, and that's still the way we get victory today.

Rahab lived up high on top of the wall near the main gate in a large house. Her house had been an inn: a red light motel. Here she provided accommodations to those who were traveling and also working as a harlot which was very common in those times. The two went together. Inn-keepers were often that way.

Notice that God directed the two innocent young men (spies) right to the house of a Prostitute! They entered Jericho and God led them to Rahab's bed and breakfast. You know, had they gone to any other house in Jericho they would have been killed. They would have been reported. God can direct you to the one who will not betray you or harm you. (Jeremiah 36:19) If you are seeking a husband, God can direct you to a husband that won't hurt you. If you're seeking a job, God can direct you to a job that will be best for you where you can keep the Sabbath, and you can raise your family, and not have to be around swear words. He can change things. If God is your leader, you are safe.

Joshua 2:2 The king of Jericho was told, "Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land." You know, you can't keep things secret very long. News spreads so fast. The disguise of the spies never is adequate. Sin is never done in stealth. God knows your sin. These two spies were on a vital reconnaissance mission. They had been sent by Joshua to determine if they could take Jericho. It was secret, because if their report was bad they did not want another Kedish Barnea. Joshua didn't want to spend another 40 years wandering in the wilderness. No sooner than they got inside the walls these two spies were discovered. Now their lives were in jeopardy. Joshua's whole plan might be foiled.

Joshua, their general was a forerunner of Jesus who is our general. Jesus will bring us into the promised land. The way Hebrew speaking people say "Jesus" is "Jehoshua". The way the Greeks say Joshua is " eso£s", "Jesus".

Jericho was in an uproar before the two spies arrived. The city was just 5 miles from where 3 or 4 million people were camped. At night the inhabitants of Jericho could see that glow from the fiery pillar of God that camped over the Israelites. They felt doomed. Any spies that came into the city would be executed.

Now look at verse 3. So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land." Now, if Joshua represents Jesus who do you suppose this king represents? Probably it represents Satan! The devils spies are spying on God's spies. It is so today in the great controversy. Intelligence is critical to both defense and attack.

Observe Rahab's wisdom here. She did not want to turn over these two Godly men because she herself was a believer in the true God. HOW had she become a believer? The spies didn't even have a chance to talk with her. They came in and they hid. You know how she became a believer? Every day, travelers staying at her bed and breakfast carried the news of area events. She had heard of the daily manna parachuted down from heaven. She knew of the crossing of the Red Sea. She knew of the great deliverance from Egypt. She knew all about that. She pondered those things in her heart and she believed in God.

Blessed are those that have not seen and yet believe! Rahab was a woman of great faith. In fact, she showed a lot more faith in the Lord than eight of the ten spies who had come there 40 years before.

I have heard folks say that we are saved just by believing. That is true if you have the correct understanding of the word Believe. Rahab's faith produced the fruit of action. It wasn't just some dead belief. She risked her life for what she believed in. I admire somebody like that. Until you risk something, your faith is not active. Pay the Tithe, even though the figures don't add up. Go ahead and put your kids in a school where Jesus is first. Stand up for Jesus at your work. Risk your job if necessary to put Jesus first. Place God first. Venture for God. He will not let you down.

Rahab's knowledge of the truth was meager, but she had the courage to act on what little she knew. God rewarded her. Rahab had repented of the sins of her youth. She was a changed woman. I think she stopped being a prostitute before the spies ever got there. She turned from her idolatry. She started worshipping the true God. Even though she didn't know much about it. Many great workers for God have come from the depths of sin.

JAMES 2:25 (NIV) states that Rahab was considered righteous by God Himself. Verse--25 ----"In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?" Be very clear that hiding Gods workers did not earn her salvation.

Hebrews 11:31 settles forever how Rahab was saved: "BY FAITH the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed spies was not killed...." Her faith produced fruit. Her fruit proved her faith. A so-called faith without works is not faith, it's a farce.

Rahab was under the same death decree as the other citizens of Jericho. They were al going to die, they were all going to be killed when the walls came tumbling down. They were all condemned to die. Rahab did not deserve to saved. Neither do we. God saves those who believe in Him. God showed her His great mercy (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Joshua 2:4 "But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them." These two spies now trusted a former prostitute for their salvation. A woman represents what in the Bible? A church. Rahab represents God's true church. Now you may say, "Well now, that can't be." Let me ask you a question. Has God's true church always been faithful throughout all the years of history? You can read of the unfaithfulness. The church is the bride of Christ and she has occasionally been unfaithful. Just because the church doesn't do what you want doesn't mean that it still isn't God's church.

Continuing in verse 4-7 She said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them." I don't know what her reasoning was. Was her lie okay? No. It was not.] (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut."

Rahab LIED! Is it okay to lie if your motive is good? She did! Maybe she figured that the people of Jericho were to be utterly destroyed in a short time anyway and if mercy was not owed to them, neither was truth. Was her lie okay? No. We may be expecting too much from a new believer. If seasoned Abraham lied about his wife, and said, "This is my sister." If Isaac resorted to deceit, we had better go slow with zealous Rahab. Our loving God accepted her faith and pardoned her imperfection. Spiritual maturity is not instantaneous.

Verse 8: Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9- and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

Verse 12,13 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers & sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death."

Rahab never mentions her husband or children. I think she was single-a successful single woman. She was concerned with the salvation of her parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.

So in verse 14, they say, "Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land." They knew that God would give them the victory. Our part is to yield our life to God and God will fight our battles for us. No human hand even touched those walls and they came tumbling down. God gave them the victory there at Jericho.

Rahab honestly believed that imminent destruction was at hand. The last days had come upon the whole land. Like Noah, Rahab prepared for the coming catastrophe. And today if we truly believe that the end is here we will lay hold on God and make plans to be rescued when the walls of this old world come tumbling down. I hear that other churches are stocking up food, I hear all sorts of things happening out in the world. We ought to be stocking up on Jesus. We ought to be stocking up on the Truth. We ought to be people of the scripture. We ought to be studying the Bible. We need to be making plans for our rescue when the walls of this old world come tumbling down.

Verse 15. So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. So, these spies escaped down on that rope, the rope of Rahab.

Now, Rahab may have made that rope. The large pile of flax up on top of her motel indicates that she was also running an industry. Flax was dried in the hot sun on the rooftop and then made into very strong rope or cord. All her rope could have been red perhaps as her trademark.

Verse 16: Now she had said to them, "Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way." How many days did they hide? Three days. How many days was Jesus in the tomb? Three days. Verse 17 - 19: The men said to her, "This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him.

Observe that both she and her family must remain inside the house to be saved. Outside the house they could not be distinguished from any other Jerichoite. They'd all look the same. In the last days God's people must stay in God's house. The church is the house of safety. Rahab's family must stay separated from the world. We're not to be joined in with the world. To be saved we must keep close to the society of the faithful.

Something amazes me here. Rahab's family were saved purely because of Rahab. Did you notice that? She's the one that had the faith, and her whole family was saved. Now, what do we say about that?

That's just the opposite of Achan. Remember Achan? Just a few days later Jericho fell, and then after that they said, "Okay, that's the first city down. One down and several more to go. City number two is Ai. We will go to Ai, we will conquer Ai." And so they took a few men and went down to Ai and tried to conquer it, and they got soundly defeated. And they said, "This is not good. Something's wrong here. What happened?" And God said, "You've got sin in the camp." So they cast lots and drew straws and they found out that it was Achan. Achan was in the camp. And what had Achan done? (Joshua 7) After Jericho's massive walls did fall and they burned the city to the ground, Achan secretly took some of the gold, silver and clothing from Jericho and he hid it. He had dug a hole in the bottom of his tent and covered up the spoils. But his sin found him out. And notice that Achan's whole family. Notice in Joshua 7:24 they took Achan and his whole family and destroyed them and burned up their belongings. Achan's whole family was lost because of Achan. Rahab's whole family was saved because of Rahab. It was judgment day for Achan. Very similar to the cleansing fire after the millennium.

Notice the contrast of Rahab's family compared to Achan s family. Each family received the consequences based on the actions of the leader of that family. Salvation by genes! Salvation by heredity?

Is that biblical? Psalm 37:25, 26: I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed. The children of righteous people will be blessed.

Proverbs 12:7 Wicked men are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.

Acts 16:31- The jailers whole house were saved because of the faith of the jailer. All 8 of Noah's family were saved because of Noah. "Raise up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it." A lot depends on the influence of the leader of the family.

Rahab's Red Rope apparently reached down and saved her whole family because of her influence, not because of genes, not because of heredity. This is a heavy thought. Would I be a Seventh-day Adventist today if my folks were not Seventh- day Adventists? Maybe. I hope so. And maybe not. The influence of our Godly relatives means a lot. And your influence, you are the patriarch of your family. You are the matriarch of your family. Rahab was brave to even tell her relatives. What if they tattled on her?

Imagine your influence for the good on your family! Paul says a man will be saved by the words or life of his wife. There is awesome power in a pure Environment and a noble Heredity combined. So you family leaders be sure you are leading your family to Jesus.

Joshua 2: 21-- she tied the scarlet cord in the window. That RED ROPE represents the protection of the blood of Christ. Just like the Passover Angel, when they put the blood on the doorposts and lintel of the door. That angel passed over that house. There was not destruction at that house.

RED ROPE is Faith in the saving blood of Jesus Christ. Rahab was saved by faith in God and not by faith in that rope dangling from her high window. By keeping it there day after day she demonstrated her faith in God.

Finally the Israelites troops came. This was like the close of probation for the Jerichoites. They marched around Jericho, how many times? 13! Each time around they saw that red rope hanging out the window. Thirteen reminders of the place to go. They knew where Rahab lived. Thirteen times around there. Thirteen reminders: that's the place we're supposed to go and save that family. Now, I don't think that rope was a piece of twine hanging there. I think Rahab made that rope big and fat. She could pull a steamship with it. And I think she died it Brilliant red! It was a huge rope. Maybe it had tassels hanging from it.

God's soldiers blew their trumpets and watched the walls. The earth shook, and those walls of solid stone were heaved from their foundations. An unseen hand pushed those massive walls in. By faith those massive walls came down by faith. Today there may be gigantic walls blocking your path, but just have faith. God can take that wall down. He can remove any wall, any obstacle that's preventing you from living the Christian life. God can remove that obstacle. God will GIVE you the victory just like He gave them the victory..

After the dust settled, it wasn't necessary for the two spies to search for the house with a red rope. Rahab's house stood fast. Wall and All. Her house looked funny up there perched on a tower all by itself. Similar to a house atop a platform stuffed full of people. They must have used that same rope to get down. Most of the inhabitants of that town had been either watching from atop the walls or hiding under their beds in their house. When the walls came down they were all killed. They were all killed by falling masonry.

There was one portion of the wall that the judgment could not touch. Only one house stood firm. It is vital to be in the right house at the right time. Do you think it is important to be joined to God's house? Everybody in that house was saved. That house was a symbol of God's remnant church. For a time when walls were falling all around, it may have appeared that Rahab's house would fall. But it went through. It may appear that the church will fall but it will go through.

No one on the outside of that house was saved. To be saved you should be in God's church. I don't think every member will be saved, but it is essential to join and be there. It is vital to be at the right place at the right time. That time is the Sabbath. That place is God's remnant church.

What ever happened to Rahab? Matthew 1:5 "Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David." So, actually, Rahab was the great great great grandmother of David. Rahab became an ancestor of Jesus! She was promoted to Princess! Notice that God did more for Rahab than she even asked or dreamed! All she wanted was to be saved from Jericho. God did more for her than she even asked for. Not only does God protect His own but He prefers His own and handsomely rewards them. If you ask God to help you overcome some habit, God's going to do more than that. He's going to take you all the way as far as you will allow Him to take you. God's rich grace can reach down and redeem the lowest sinner and raise him up to eternal dignity.

Today we must be receptive of God's messengers who come to our door. We must accept God as our God. We must trust God's church. We must share our knowledge with our family so that when Jesus comes we will all be saved. I want that red rope of faith hanging from every window of my heart. And I urge you to do the same thing.

Opening Hymn- 223 Crown Him      
Scripture: Psalm 103:8-12
Closing   516 All the Way my Saviour leads me

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