Since World War II, the Force RECON branch of United States Marine Corps has completed information-gathering missions that can only be accomplished by soldiers on the ground. In today’s passage, Joshua initiated his own on-the-ground intelligence operation. Rather than running headlong into battle, he sent spies into Jericho, the most strategic and fortified city in the region.
The spies arrived after dark and went directly to the house of Rahab, a harlot. Why would they go to this disreputable place? First, it was probably easy for strangers in town to enter her home without raising suspicion. Second, her popular place of business would have been a strategic source of information. And third, located in the city wall, it offered a quick escape route if one became necessary. News of the spies’ presence traveled immediately to the king. Jericho was on super-high alert, and its residents had good reason to be afraid. The God of Israel was on the move.
Providentially, though, Rahab understood the spies’ mission and was sympathetic to it. She leapt into action and hid the spies under stalks of flax. Then she risked her own safety by lying to the king’s men when they pounded on her door.
With the immediate threat abated, Rahab addressed the spies. She began with an acknowledgment, “I know that the LORD has given you this land,” and an admission, “all who live in this country are melting in fear” (v. 9). Then Rahab made this shocking declaration: “The LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (v. 11).
As a Canaanite, Rahab would have been raised to worship many gods. Yet, in that pivotal moment, she declared that the God of Israel is the one true God.
>> In our culture today, how boldly do we declare that the Lord is the one true God? Consider what you can learn from Rahab’s risky public declaration. Consider how you can speak boldly for God.
Rahab’s confession reminds us of the miracle of our own salvation. Great is Your mercy in rescuing us from sin! As we meditate on this joy, give us opportunities to proclaim Your name.