Last year, Nancy Wake, or “The White Mouse,” as the German military called her, died at the age of 98. During World War II, Wake saved the lives of hundreds of Allied soldiers by escorting them through occupied France to Spain. She was also one of 39 women who parachuted into France in preparation for D-Day, collecting drops of weapons and ammunition and hiding them. “I was never afraid,” she said. “I was too busy to be afraid.”
Today’s reading takes us on a secret spy mission. God had rescued the Israelites forty years earlier from Egyptian slavery, but rather than immediately possessing the territory they had been promised, they didn’t believe God and doubted His power to deliver them into the Promised Land. For forty years they wandered the desert as punishment for their sin. Now in today’s reading, having served their sentence, they again found themselves at the border of the Promised Land.
The two spies whom Joshua sent out found the house in Jericho of the prostitute Rahab. This might have proven an unwise choice for many reasons. Frequently in the ancient world, prostitutes were involved in intelligence activities. But by the work of God’s providence, these two spies found a friend, not an enemy, in Rahab.
Rahab seemed to be the least likely hero of faith. Her profession was scandalous, and she was a heathen, a Canaanite. But she confessed faith in Yahweh, a faith that trembled at the sovereign God of the universe (v. 11). She wasn’t simply trying to curry favor with the enemy. From deep within her being, she acknowledged that this God was great enough to control everything. Unlike any of the tribal deities she may have known or worshiped previously, she began to understand that something was categorically different about Yahweh. He was God over every inch of space in the universe. There was nothing He could not do. There was no one who could oppose Him. A holy fear of Yahweh took root in Rahab’s heart, and it gave birth to great faith that led to her salvation.
Apply the Word
Knowing God and understanding His character is a critical step for combating fear. This doesn’t mean just memorizing rote facts about God. It means immersing ourselves in God’s story, just like Rahab did. Yahweh had parted the Red Sea, rescuing His people from Egypt. He had dethroned two powerful kings, Sihon and Og. Whose stories are teaching you most about God? Are you paying attention to what your own story says about God’s power and faithfulness?