Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Red Cord
The people of Jericho were scared to death by the reports they had heard of the Israelites and their victories under Moses and Joshua. Now the news of the miraculous crossing of the River Jordan, and the camp of the enemy had been pitched outside their walls.
Joshua sent two spies into the city. Through circumstances unexplained in the account they had found their way to the household of Rahab, a prostitute. They spoke of their confidence in the promise of God that Joshua would soon win the city. Rahab was given grace to believe their report. She offered to hide the two, and then to steer away the guards of Jericho, as they made their escape.
What would the spies offer in return?
It was agreed that Rahab would identify her apartment with a red cord suspended from her outer window. Perhaps we could see this act as a public confession of the sins of this 'woman in red'. Rahab wagered her life on the combination of this act of submission with the promise offered for deliverance. She and her loved ones who also believed the report were to be spared under this strange protection.
Perhaps each reader knows the story of Joshua's order to march the camp seven days around the city. On the seventh day to march seven times, and then to shout as a host for all that they were worth. The awesome walls fell. The city dwellers were completely destroyed. But the family of Rahab under the red cord were spared and offered a place of safety and well-being with the people of God.
It is one of the earlier examples of that great Bible theme, "In wrath, remember mercy." (Habakkuk 3:2)
Repentance and trust resulted in a new life free from condemnation. So much so that there is no awkwardness in finding the name of Rahab in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5)
Another point to be considered...seven days marching and seven marches finally. The piling up of sevens suggests that the judgments of God are perfect...will be perfect. The remedy of Rahab is still available.