The Supreme God Of The Heavens Above

Joshua 2:1-14

Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night.

But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land.”

Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.” (Actually, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them beneath bundles of flax she had laid out.) So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the road leading to the shallow crossings of the Jordan River. And as soon as the king’s men had left, the gate of Jericho was shut.

Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. 10 For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. 11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.

12 “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that 13 when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.”

14 “We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind to you when the Lord gives us the land.”

Reflection

On the other end of forty years in the wilderness, God is still unfolding his greatness through the nation of Israel as he leads them gradually but completely into the inheritance of their promise. At each step through the journey God delivers them from one trial and after another – from hunger, thirst, confusion, uncertainty, rebellion, divided loyalties and sin – we see the strengthening of the Israelite nation and the ever-increasing clarity of the identity of God.

This passage reads like a twist in an epic adventure tale, with the assignment of two spies sent ahead into enemy territory to scout the way forward. Again God intervenes, bringing his hand to weave an intricate detail of relationship and revelation. In this moment we catch a glimpse of the wider scope of God’s plan as we’re shown the representation of his glory through the eyes of a foreigner. In the struggles and triumphs of the Israelite nation, word of God’s deliverance has spread powerfully through the nations so they live in fear of his supreme authority.

Not only is Rahab one of the ‘enemy’ but she is a prostitute, an outcast and a sinner. Her involvement in this story demonstrates the great love of God and of his Son who would hundreds of years later be derided by the religious leaders of the day because of his love for the lost. Rahab’s response to these spies shows a heart that is open and humble, ready to see and acknowledge the truth of God. And in doing so she becomes a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ. How great the father’s love for us.

Prayer:

God’s mercy is available to anyone whose heart is open to his voice. Consider the times in your life when you have felt unworthy and yet God has redeemed you again and again. Think also of those in your life who might be seen by the world as unworthy, and expect God’s hand of mercy to open their eyes to his love.

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