Precious Truth: Be Loyal to God.
Today’s Reading from The Word
1 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. â€œGo, look over the land,â€ he said, â€œespecially Jericho.â€ So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, â€œLook, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.â€ 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: â€œBring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.â€
4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, â€œYes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I donâ€™t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.â€ 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 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.
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, â€œI 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[a] 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.[b] 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyoneâ€™s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
12 â€œNow 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 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to themâ€”and that you will save us from death.â€
14 â€œOur lives for your lives!â€ the men assured her. â€œIf you donâ€™t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land.â€
15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, â€œGo to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.â€
17 Now the men had said to her, â€œThis 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. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.â€
21 â€œAgreed,â€ she replied. â€œLet it be as you say.â€
So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
I was talking to one of my daughters on loyalty the other day. There are some people’s interpretation of loyalty that would condemn Rahab’s actions, and yet she is among the recorded heroes of the Bible for this act of hiding spies and entering an agreement with them. There are some who believe it would be better that she and her family had died in the coming destruction of her city and nation.
That sort of loyalty is misplaced. What loyalty we should have is with what God is doing and how He says we should behave, who He says we should align with.
There is an undergirding concept of this in the foundations of our country, the United States of America, which asserted that if a government violated the basic human rights of its people, then that government no longer deserved their loyalty and that it was even a duty to overthrow such an evil government. That is the thread of thought within this story of Rahab.
God rewarded her not only with her life and that of her family, but placing her in the direct ancestry of the King, and later the Messiah of His people.
The candy cane can be a reminder of Rahab’s scarlet cord, pass one around to each person, after the devotion time.
Christmas Thoughts– read about the candy cane and its meaning.