She tied the scarlet cord in the window. (Joshua 2:21)
Do you remember the story of the two spies Joshua sent to scout the land of Jericho? The prostitute Rahab took them in and protected them when the king of Jericho commanded her, “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” Rahab told those who were hunting for the spies that the men had already left the city, but actually she had hidden them on the roof of her home.
Why would this pagan woman, an immoral woman who did not belong to the covenant community of Israel, do such a thing? She had heard of the God of Israel and the amazing things He did in freeing His people from Egypt . . . and she believed!
Before the spies left, Rahab asked them to remember the kindness she had shown them and that she and her family would be protected from the Israelite army that was coming to conquer the city. They agreed, with one simple stipulation:
The men said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window.” (Joshua 2:17-18)
The spies promised preservation was rooted in a simple, yet firm, act of faith. The scarlet cord in the window would be the sign of her personal protection. A trivial act to be sure, but an act that was absolutely necessary if Rahab and her family were to survive the invasion of the Israelite army into her city. The angel of death was on his way to Jericho, but he passed over Rahab’s home when he saw the scarlet cord hanging in the window.
There are many lessons in this story, but one we must not miss is this: the spies represented God to this pagan woman and Rahab trusted in their promise and was obedient to their plan. You may recall that Rahab—this lady of the night, whom some might consider a “lowlife,” is enshrined in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Fame of Faith” —
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” (Hebrews 11:31)
Do you and I have that same kind of unwavering faith as Rahab? Do we trust in the promises of God and remain obedient to His plan . . . even in the seemingly insignificant details of the Christian life? Do we render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s? Do we forgive as we have been forgiven? Do we do unto others what we would have others do unto us? Do we walk by faith and not by sight? Do we trust in God even when we cannot trace Him?
Remember, Rahab’s house was on the wall in Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. But she and her family were preserved because she believed in the promise of God and demonstrated it by tying the scarlet cord in the window.
May that be the confession of our lives as well. May we live as “Scarlet Cord Christians,” with our faith showing forth as boldly and conspicuously as a bright red banner for the glory of the One who has promised to preserve us all the way into glory.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!