Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

OT Tuesday: Shady Lady of Jericho

(Note: with the heavy events of the past few days weighing on my mind; the pope resigning, the North Koreans detonating a nuclear device they built with technology given them by the Clinton administration, I decided instead of writing about the Psalm 83 war as I had intended, I would write about something a bit lighter. A prostitute.)

It was a tough time for for the Israelites as they stood on the border of their new homeland. There were many obstacles in their way and the first of them was the town of Jericho. Their leader Moses was gone, and he was the only leader the Israelites ever knew. Every single Israelite who had known anything except endless wandering in the wilderness was gone, it was now time to settle down.

As the Israelites camped by the Jordan river at a place called Shittim, their leader, Joshua, decided a little intel was in order so he had two men cross over the Jordan and scout out the land “especially Jericho.” he ordered them. So they went to see a prostitute and hung out at her house. You may think - 'Hey, after wandering the wilderness for forty years a little R&R may be in order' - but you'd be wrong. Joshua was an awesome commander, he didn't send Privates Sad Sack and Snafu into town for some time with the ladies, he sent men who knew what they were doing. 

Rahab was a lady of the evening who had a small abode that was attached to the wall of Jericho. It's not unusual in walled cities to have buildings attached to the wall itself, and Rahab's house was built into the wall and had windows that looked outward to the surrounding country side. The scouts that Joshua sent somehow talked Rahab into hiding them in her home, which was a pretty good place for spies to hide as rough men from all over the city would visit and talk openly allowing them to collect information.

However the King of Jericho found out about the spies who were in Rahab's house and demanded that she turn them over to him. Choosing between her own people and the Israelites, God's chosen people, she told the king's men that there were foreign men there but they left and she didn't know where they went. In reality they were up on her roof laying under stalks of flax she laid out on the roof to dry where she had hidden them. The pursuers left and she went back up on the roof and explained to the spies why she had hidden them.
and [she] said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land 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 in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. (Joshua 2:9-11)
She then begged them to show kindness to her and her family for the kindness she showed them by risking her life and hiding them. She let them out of the city through a window in her house which opened on the outside of the wall and told them to hide in the hills from the kings men for three days. And they swore an oath to be kind to her and her family and added:
17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 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. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. (Joshua 2 17-19)
She agreed and the men slipped off into the night. They hid in the hills and eventually made it back across the Jordan and reported everything to Joshua stating “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”

The destruction of Jericho was pretty awesome, and will be our next OT Tuesday blog (unless something really awesome happens that causes me to do another topic) but for now let's just reiterate that the city was to be completely destroyed, all silver, gold, and bronze was to go into the treasury, and everything else was to be destroyed. Except:
22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her. 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel. 24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day. (Joshua 6:22-25)
The Israelites kept their word and slew everyone in Jericho except Rahab and her family, they saved her in thanks to her service to the nation of Israel. But why did she get a whole chapter in the Old Testiment? Her involvement could have been summed up in a few lines, if at all. So why include her? What is the lesson? Writing these things down in the ancient world was not an easy task, so why include the Shady Lady of Jericho at all?

The lesson, of course, is that she risked her life to save the lives of a few scouts, and their news that Jericho was melting with fear of their arrival spurred the Israelite fighters to victory. But I like to think that there's something more. Keeping in mind that the Bible is the inspired word of God (meaning that nothing gets put in the Bible unless God wants it in the Bible) there's another reason, I believe that the reason why Rahab is included in the Old Testiment texts is because of her granddaughter. Not her immediate granddaughter but her granddaughter 30 generations down the line, who in a stable in the tiny town of Bethlehem gave birth to our Lord and Savior, our King, Jesus Christ.

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