Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho " So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.Joshua 2:1(NASB)
In Joshua chapter 1, we find Israel preparing to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. We hear how Joshua was charged by God to lead the children of Israel into the land that was promised to their forefathers, while the people received their instructions from Joshua, their newly appointed leader.
The Lord gave Joshua some valuable spiritual principles to ensure his success over all his adversaries - principles all God's children should heed in our spiritual battles. We are to be strong in the Lord and very courageous in all our conflicts.. and we are to pay heed continuously to the Word of the Lord. We are to not to rely on our own logic or limited understanding but to stand firm on the Word of truth and know that God is with us in all our exploits.
In chapter 2, we find Joshua making preparations to spy out the fortified city of Jericho before the entire camp of Israel crossed the Jordan river. Joshua was applying the wise principle of being actively dependent on the Lord - while remaining passively productive under His authority. He had been instructed to be strong and courageous in the execution of his mission, but Joshua was to place his entire faith in the Lord for His leading and guidance.
No doubt Joshua remembered the mission that Moses sent him on, nearly 40 years earlier, when 12 spies were sent to explore the same Promised Land and ten returned terrified because, 'there were giants in the land'. They reported back to the people that the land of Canaan could not be taken because of its fierce inhabitants. Only Caleb joined with Joshua to proclaim that it was a land flowing with milk and honey and that God had promised to give them the land. Joshua learned a lesson from this experience which he was having to put into practice as he prepared to lead the Israelites into Canaan.
This time only two spies were sent out... secretly. They were not asked to discover IF they could conquer the land but to 'view the land', in preparation for entering in. We read, "Then Joshua, the son of Nun, sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, 'Go, view the land, especially Jericho.' So they went, and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there."
Joshua was not demonstrating a lack of faith by sending the spies, but was showing that God's plans, purposes, work, and will, is often to be carried out, under His instruction, by men. God is perfectly able to fulfil His will without human participation, but in His grace He often uses His people to fulfil His work.
Joshua wisely sent the spies on a secret mission. He had learned the lesson from his own experience that they should explore the land secretly and that a report should be given to the leaders rather than all the people, lest their hearts failed from fear of the unknown. Their mission was to check out the part of the land they would conquer first - and in particular the city of Jericho.
God went ahead of the spies and prepared the hearts of the people of Jericho to be fearful of Israel and their God before they set foot in the Promised Land. He had arranged for a harlot with a lodging house, to be the one who would befriend the spies. No doubt there was much coming and going from the house of a prostitute and two strange men entering her dwelling would not arouse much interest.
But this meeting proved to be designed by God, for Rahab the harlot volunteered much information about the people of Jericho who were terrified of the children of Israel - because God was with them. Rehab's own heart had become fearful for her life and that of her family, for she believed in strength and power of the God of Israel and was ready to risk her life, plan an escape route for the spies, and when necessary hide the two men from the authorities. No wonder Rahab, this Gentile prostitute from Jericho, is not only mentioned in the book of Hebrews as a woman of faith, but by God's grace was listed in the genealogy of the Messiah.
There are so many lessons we can learn from Joshua, the son of Nun, who sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, and told them to, "Go, and view the land, especially Jericho."
May we apply the various principles given to Joshua and be strong in the Lord and very courageous in His mighty power. As we face the spiritual enemies of our soul, may we be actively dependent on the Lord, and passively productive in carrying out the work that He has prepared for us to do.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many lessons we can learn from the life of Joshua. I pray that by faith I would carry out Your perfect will for my life, with courage, and in the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray that as I face the inevitable difficulties and dangers of life, I would look to You for direction and guidance and deliberately take my eyes off the logical and trust in You - in active dependance. This I ask in Jesus, name, AMEN.