She said, "According to your words, so be it." So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.Joshua 2:21(NASB)
The two spies sent to reconnoitre the land had entered Jericho and been hidden by a woman, named Rahab. As an inn-keeper and prostitute, their visit to her house would not excite the interest of her neighbours. However, they brought an offer of salvation to a sinner and her family, if they chose to trust in the God of Israel.
Rahab was a pagan living in spiritual darkness, in an idolatrous city, in the promised land of Canaan. Faith comes by hearing and Rahab had heard of the exploits of Israel and believed the God Who fought for them was to be feared. She believed Canaan had been given into their hands and chose not to trust in the protection of Jericho's fortified city walls, or the strength of the king's fighting men. "The LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath," she confessed to the Israelite men, demonstrating a saving faith in God - and her faith was reckoned as righteousness.
Good works cannot redeem a sinner from the slave market of sin. Moral behaviour or kind gestures cannot redeem a person. Rahab was a lost sinner... but she heard God's Word, believed in her heart, and was saved by grace - through faith, and her conduct in helping the spies demonstrated faith in action. Rahab's saving faith came when she heard and believed the Word of God but her good works were the product of that faith.
Rahab had no faith in the pagan deities her neighbours worshipped, but protected the two spies from the federal authorities. She informed them of the kingdom's defence strategies, planned their escape, and believed their promise to protect herself and her family if she agreed to their terms and did not expose their plans to the authorities - thus putting her heart faith in tangible action.
The agreement they reached was that Rahab would tie a scarlet cord in her window and her life... and those with her would be spared. She agreed to the terms and said to the men, "'According to your words, so be it.' So she sent them away, and they departed. And THEN she tied the scarlet cord in the window," to remind her that God's promised salvation was true, and He never disappoints for His promises are 'YES' and 'AMEN'.
The time that passed from Rahab tying that blood-red sash in the window of her home until the time of the spies return, must have severely tested her faith and the faith of those with her. The spies had to return to Joshua, and the Israelites had to cross over the Jordan. There were plans to make and sacrificial offerings to be done before they sent out to conquer the city of Jericho. I wonder if Rahab's heart faltered as she waited with hope. I wonder if certain family members refused to remain under the shadow of God's protective wings or if their faith was tried, and like Rahab, they came forth as gold.
I wonder what thoughts flooded the minds of Rahab and her fellows as they watched the Israelites army march, silently around the city, day after day... as they waited for their rescue in the doomed city of Jericho. But God knows that the testing of our faith produces endurance and patient endurance in God's promises brings its treasured rewards.
Because she trusted in God, Rahab was rescued from the doomed city and her life was transformed from sinner to saint, from condemned to justified, from being a pagan prostitute under Satan's authority to becoming the cherished wife of one of the spies she rescued! Amazingly, this pagan prostitute would find herself in the line of Israel's promised Messiah, for God is no respecter of persons. Rahab discovered that, "though her sins were like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. And though they were red as crimson, they shall be as wool."
The same is true for ALL who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. That scarlet ribbon that streamed from the window of a sinner saved by grace, fluttering in the wind, is a beautiful picture of God's redemptive programme, that threads its life-giving way through the pages of Scripture. The wonderful grace of God that we read about in Rahab's life-story is no less true of every man or woman who is saved by grace through faith in Christ.
We should be so grateful for our great salvation, which has set us free from the bondage of sin and promised us eternal life, together with the many benefits that are ours in Christ. Should we not make sure that we put our heart-faith into tangible actions? Should we not be willing exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope? - and hope in Christ NEVER disappoints.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful truth in the story of Rahab that no sin is too great to receive Your forgiveness, and no sinner is denied the opportunity to be saved by grace through faith in Christ. Thank You that You are no respecter of persons, and no sin is so great that it cannot be forgiven by Your unfathomable forgiveness and amazing grace. Thank You for the wonderful truth that no obstacle is too great for You to topple, and nothing is too difficult for You to do. Increase my faith I pray, so that doubts do not rise in my mind when I have to wait for You to carry out Your perfect plan, at Your perfect time, in Your perfect way. As I face the difficulties in my life, I pray that I would trust You in all things and be filled with the Spirit, day by day, as I persevere in His power and submit to His leading. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.