Rahab's Red Rope

Lesson: 4
With the blast from the trumpets and a mighty shout, Joshua delivered the people hiding in Rahab's house and led them into the promised land. With a shout and a trumpet Jesus will soon come to do the same thing!
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Tonight's story is going to be what I think is a wonderful catalyst for talking about some very important events, not only in the past, but it'll help us understand some things that are coming in the future and it's titled the red rope of Rahab. Now in our last presentation we talked about a hero of faith, a woman in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene. Tonight we're going to be talking about a hero of faith in the Old Testament, another woman, by the name of Rahab and she's got - there's another hero in the story and that's Joshua. It kind of takes after this panel that you see there. You can see a little red rope coming out of that window and we'll talk about that as we proceed.

We've got a lot to cover so I'm going to invite you, if you have your Bibles, to turn to the book of Joshua - Joshua chapter 2 - and just to give you the stage of what is happening here, the children of Israel have just come through the wilderness. They are on the borders about to enter the Promised Land. But they were a little bit concerned about entering the Promised Land, because the spies that had looked at the Promised Land 40 years earlier had seen the strong nations and the large walls, and they thought, 'How are we ever going to conquer a nation with walls like that?'

You know, a few years ago, Karen and I went to China with our boys. I've been there about four times, but I remember we went together once and we went and looked at the great wall of China. It is an engineering marvel. They thought it was about ,1500 miles long, but they've discovered it's actually longer than that. With satellite imagery they found there are hundreds of miles that they did not even realize before, that they can detect that had been built. And that wall, right now, someone said if you took all the material that was involved in building the Great Wall of China, you could make a wall that would be about five feet high and three feet wide all the way around the world at the Equator.

The walls of Jericho were also pretty formidable. The main city they needed to conquer to enter the Promised Land was the city of Jericho and it had some massive walls and gates and they thought, 'How are ever going to conquer the Promised Land if we can't take this primary city of Jericho?' Now Jericho was located right on the intersection of three continents. It was - and it's one of the oldest cities in the world - it was just right there - land bridge - where you've got Israel that connects Africa and Asia and Europe, you know.

To the west - I'm sorry, to the east of Israel is a big desert and so no one really went through there so they all went through the Jordan Valley. It's one of the lowest places in the world and right there, where the city of Jericho was, was sort of the main funnel entrance point where they needed to cross. And so, to conquer the Promised Land, first big battle they were going to have, how do they deal with the city of Jericho? And so we take up chapter 2 and it says, "Now Joshua the son of Nun" - you think everybody's got to be the son of somebody, but they always tease that Joshua was the son of Nun. (Laughter) He sent two men from an acacia grove "...to spy secretly, saying, 'Go view the land, even Jericho." So he sends out these two spies.

Now, you remember, 40 years earlier twelve spies were sent out from the people of Israel to explore the Promised Land. They looked at it for 40 days. When they came back, most of them didn't have faith they could take the Promised Land. There were only two that had faith and their names were Joshua and Caleb. So now Joshua doesn't want to make that mistake - the spies 40 years earlier had sort of been picked by democratic process and now Joshua says, 'I'm going to hand pick two men that I know have faith.' And so he picked these two men. We only can take an educated guess about the name of one of them. I'll get to that later. And he sent them down, he said, 'I want you to go spy Jericho and see what their defenses look like.' And these two spies, they come to the house of a harlot named Rahab and they lodged there.

Now that sounds like a business trip that went bad. I mean, you know, these are two people he's supposed to trust. I should probably explain that in Bible times there was a very thin line that divided the hotel business from the harlot business. And the people who often owned one, owned the other. And they would locate at the city gates where all the caravans and the travelers were right by the wall. And they thought the best way for us to sort of slip in and disappear in the crowd would be at Rahab's house - at the hotel where there's all these strangers from all over the country that are coming and going and people don't recognize each other because there are all these caravans, and we'll just - and what a place. You know, they didn't have the internet back then. If you wanted to gather information, you wanted to stay where the circulation of news was and that was by the gates of the city.

And so, it was a strategic reason - it wasn't an immoral reason that they stayed at this hotel. And Rahab, she is identified several times in the Bible as Rahab the harlot. It's not a very good pedigree to always have connected with your name, but that's how - New and Old Testaments - how she's identified. But she's also identified as a person of faith. We're talking about heroes of faith. Matter of fact, if you look in the New Testament, you can find where it says in Hebrews 11:31, "By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." And so, you see right away that Rahab is a character that has great faith. So they came and they stayed there, but because their accent was different and because the kingdom was on maximum alert right now, these two messengers that were sent from Joshua began to attract attention.

Now keep in mind, as they stood on the walls of Jericho - Jericho's not that far from the Jordan river. On a clear day, you can see the other side of the Jordan. Who was camped on the other side of the Jordan? You've got the whole camp of Israel that is on the other side of this river. And as the people look across the river, they see something that really is unnerving. They see that there's a pillar of fire, rising up above this camp, that is illuminating the camp every night. During the day, while the people in Jericho are sweating and sweltering under the heat of the noonday sun, there's a cloud shading the camp of Israel. In the morning, they look from their walls and they see the Israelites going out of the city and gathering their food from the ground that somehow miraculously rained from heaven overnight. They know there is some supernatural power that is helping this group.

They've also heard from the other wars that happened on the other side of Jordan, that the intention of the Israelites was to come and reclaim the land that was theirs. It made them very nervous. So the city is on - you remember when we had all the homeland alert colors? They had orange and green and yellow and red - I guess the worst was red - red alert. Do you ever have a red alert here for homeland security in Michigan? Maybe. Well, they were on orange alert in Jericho right then. And so they're watching very carefully, but the gates are still open. So these two spies come in and they stay at Rahab's house and they're trying to gather information and, as they ask questions, some of them noticed their accent and they went to the king of Jericho. They said, 'There's a couple of characters at Rahab's house and I'm almost sure they're Israelites and they've probably come to spy out the land.'

Now, before I go any farther in the story, I want you to understand what some of the analogies are so we can draw some conclusions. Joshua sent two messengers to a city that was doomed to destruction. How do you say the name Jesus in Hebrew? Joshua - or, more specifically, Yashua. And the way that you say Joshua's name in Greek is Jesus. Jesus and Joshua had the exact same name. Mary did not look over the bassinet manger and call him Jesus. She called him Yashua. And Joshua means ‘Yahweh delivers’ or ‘Yahweh saves’. There's three Joshuas in the Bible - three Jesuses - principle ones. You've got one that is a general in the Old Testament that led the children of Israel from the wilderness into the Promised Land. One is a priest, during the time of Nehemiah, that led the people from Babylon into the Promised Land. And then you have Jesus who leads us from sin into the Promised Land. He delivers - Joshua saves.

Now the king of Jericho, he's the opposite. So if Joshua is Jesus, who's the king of Jericho? He's the devil. And when messengers come from Joshua to invade the devil's territory, does the devil know about it? Oh yeah, he does. And so he sends some soldiers to Rahab's house with the message, "And the king of Jericho" - I'm in verse 3 - "sent unto Rahab, saying, 'Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.'" Now they didn't just go barging in for a few reasons. One is her place of business required discretion and so they didn't want to go just barging in. They said, 'You need to search. We understand that among your guests you've got two" - she says, 'You know, I sort of - let me go find them. I'll be right back.'

And while they're waiting at the door - and another reason they didn't go barging in - in Bible times, a person's home was called a sanctuary. You didn't just go into someone's house - if you had a quarrel with someone inside, you would say, 'Bring them out.' Even the mob at the house of lot in Sodom, they said, 'Bring out the two visitors that have come to you.' And so a home was a sanctuary. You did not go into somebody's home. And so they said, 'Bring them out.' And she said, 'I'll go fetch them. Let me look.' She - she does something that was totally unexpected by anybody. Something is going on in Rahab's heart and in her life because she makes an instant decision to put her life on the line to save two strangers. And she goes to them and she says, 'Come with me. There's a guard outside. Don't ask any questions.' She brings them up to the roof. She hides them under these stacks of flax.

Now flax is a cloth from which you make - it's a plant that you would make cloth from and she's drying them after dyeing them up on the roof there. Evidently, she not only had the hotel business and the bordello business, but she had a cloth business. They did a lot of multitasking back then. And in the New Testament, Lydia was a seller of what color? Purple. Lydia was a seller of purple. Evidently, Rahab was a seller of scarlet, you're going to find out later. Because the scarlet comes in and it's a symbol of the covenant. So stay with me and we'll get to that in just a moment.

So she brings them up to the roof. She comes down to the guards and she says them - to them - I'm in verse 5 - she says 'Two men did come but I don't know where they were from.' - She's lying - "and it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.' (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)" Now some of you might say, 'pastor Doug, how could this woman be identified in the Bible as a person of great faith and here she just told a bold-faced lie to the guards?' Yes she did. Keep in mind, she was also a harlot so she had other issues. God kind of meets us where we're at and furthermore, in times of war - the Bible doesn't endorse everything everybody did, it just gives an honest reckoning of what happened.

In times of war it was common to use deception - you know, once David dribbled on his beard and clawed on the walls and acted like he was crazy because the Philistine king was going to arrest him. He wasn't crazy, but that was deceptive. Another time, Joshua attacked a city and acted like they were being defeated so they could draw the soldiers out. He wasn't being defeated; it was a tactic of deception. And so, in war they did that. I'm not justifying it, I'm just telling you what happened. She now is saying this because it's the only thing she could think of on the spot to try to save the men and, ultimately, herself.

So the soldiers have to make a decision: 'Do we believe Rahab or do we go running after these guys before they get further away. We don't have time to search her house so what we'll do is we will lock the gates of the city - in case they're in the city, they can't get out - and we'll go looking for them.' So they send a squad of soldiers and they go looking for these two spies, which they think have left and are heading towards the Jordan river.

Meantime, Rahab goes back up on the roof and says, 'Now let me tell you what's going on.' And she has this very interesting conversation with them. So she brings them up - so the men - the soldiers - they "...pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof," - she says, 'Look, you guys need to lay low for a little while until the soldiers are out of sight, but I want to talk to you and tell you what I've done. Evidently they could speak the same Semitic languages, and she said to them - notice this - "I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you," - notice she says - "for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath."

Now that is quite a declaration. This is a pagan Canaanite woman and she had been exposed to many religions and many gods. But now she says, 'Your God is the God of Gods.' You see, I just sort of expect that Rahab, in her years of doing what she did, she saw all kinds of people go through all of their religious incantations and she had travelers and traders that would stay at her establishment and they would burn incense to their gods and carry around their little religious fetishes and go through all of their strange rites and self-mutilation and all of it seemed so empty. She was wondering, 'Is there a purpose to life?' Maybe she got tired of the life she was living, but she looked across the Jordan River and she saw the camp of the Israelites glowing with a holy fire. She heard the stories - even though they were years earlier.

Everyone knew - Egypt had been decimated economically because of these plagues and they all knew. This whole nation had been delivered from slavery and they heard the stories from the Ishmaelite traders that went down to the desert that would give them reports of what the Israelites are doing and how they're progressing and how God was feeding them and they get water out of a rock and - they heard all of this. It wasn't that far away for them. She said, 'Now that's a real God.' And she had become tired and weary of the phony gods of Canaan. Furthermore, she knew that, according to the Lord, the Children of Israel were not supposed to enter into any covenant with the Canaanites. They either had to run for their lives or die. The only way the Canaanites were going to stay is - they couldn't stay. They had to leave because God did not want the Israelites intermarrying and adopting their religions. So they were to be expelled from the land. And she thought, 'This city is a city of destruction.'

Any of you ever read the book Pilgrim's Progress? And Pilgrim - his name is Christian - he's fleeing from a city that is doomed to destruction. Now Joshua was going to come with his soldiers and that city was going to be doomed. Is our Jesus - our Joshua - coming? What's going to happen to this world when He comes? 'Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on clouds with power and great glory.' And there will be great destruction when Jesus comes - for the lost. The only ones who will be saved are those who have made a covenant with Joshua in advance of His coming. And this is what Rahab is about to do.

So she says, 'I know your God is the God of Gods.' "Now therefore," - verse 12 - "I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness," - she says, 'show mercy to me' - "...to my father's house, and give me a true token," - give me a sign - "and spare my father, my mother," - she's not that old because she still has her parents - "my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." 'We are living under a death decree. Make a covenant. I believe that you serve the real God. I believe in your Joshua. Make a covenant. Show us mercy.'

And not only is she interested in her salvation, she's interested in the salvation of her family and those that she loves. "So they answered her'" - in verse 14 - I'm in Joshua 2, verse 14 - "Our lives for yours," - you know, that's the whole gospel right there in those words. I've got it underlined in my Bible - "Our lives for yours". You know what Jesus said? 'My life for yours.' When David lost his son Absalom he said, 'Oh, would God that I had died for thee.' It's the story of the substitution - when the man fell among thieves in the story of the good Samaritan. The Samaritan said, 'I won't ride anymore, I'll walk and you ride.' They traded places. And Jesus is offering to make that trade. They said, 'Look, you have saved us. You have delivered us and so we are going to do all we can to deliver you. If you don't declare our business or talk about what we've discussed with you, it will be that when' - she doesn't say if - 'when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly' - how does the Lord deal with us? 'Kindly and truly with you.' "Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall."

Now where'd she live? She dwelt on the wall. And it says she let them down by a rope. Here dear, you want to - why don't you - yeah, let's see - good toss. Lowe's red rope. I want you to know where this is going now. "Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall;" - through a window - you know, the Bible says that the only way that Paul could escape from Damascus - they tried to kill him - is somebody let him down by a rope in a basket. Paul was a basket case. (Laughter) We don't know that they used a basket but - I mean, Moses was saved by a basket too, right? Isn't it good to know God'll save a basket case like this? And so they probably climbed down. "So the men said to her" - verse 17 -"'we will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless,'" - here's the criteria - she asked for a token - "'...when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household to your own home. So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head'" - 'we are responsible with our lives for the life of everybody in your home.'

Now you got what the terms of the deal are? We're coming back. She - they didn't say exactly when they're coming back - they said, 'But we're coming with Joshua and when we come back the only way to survive is they must be in your house with the red rope in the window - and only those that are in the house will survive. A time of judgment is coming. You've got to be ready. You know what it says then? "Then she said, 'According to your words,'" - verse - "'so be it.' And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window." It was going to be weeks or months before they actually came back, but she wasn't taking any chances. As soon as they left she tied the scarlet cord in her window. Now do you know what this cord represents? Scarlet ought to be a clue. What will wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Do you remember 40 years earlier, when the Children of Israel escaped from Egypt, there was a judgment that came through the land and there was a similar covenant that was made and only those that were in the house with the scarlet - the lamb's blood - on the door or the window, were going to survive. Isn't that interesting? 40 years later there's a similar unique token of salvation. During the Exodus it was those that had the scarlet cord on their door or the paint above their door. They were saved from the angel of death and the angel of judgment. They were all Jews.

Now what you have is 40 years later - is Rahab a Jew? And those in her house? They're all Gentiles - similar covenant. Sacrifice of Jesus is for the Jews first and then for the Gentiles, according to the Bible. But everybody that's going to be saved is saved by what? By the blood. You know, you can find this symbol all through the Bible. Some of you remember when Judah's wife, Tamar she got pregnant and had twins - something interesting happened - and, you know, Jesus came through the line of Judah. One of the twins actually put out his hand first and the midwife always wanted to know who was the first born because that meant everything - that meant who got the property, who became the leader of the family - even if you were five minutes early.

Remember, Jacob wanted to get the firstborn right from his brother, even though they were twins. So as soon as one was briefly born, she tied a scarlet thread around his hand. That scarlet thread of the firstborn is all a symbol of Jesus. It says, 'With his stripes we are healed.' The scarlet ribbons on the back of Jesus - he took our suffering for us. This is all a symbol of salvation.

Now I'm going to put this here so I keep it in your mind, but I want to continue with this story because it gets very interesting. So she puts the cord in her window. Before she's worried about bringing anyone in her house, she wants to make sure the cord is in her window. And before you can reach others for Jesus, you've got to make sure you're ready. Amen.

And they departed and they went to the mountain. All the soldiers are looking for them down by the river and they thought, 'We're going to hang out in the opposite direction until they're tired of looking for us, then we'll go cross the river and go back to Joshua. So the men descended from the mountain after three days. Three days is an interesting number - after three days, Jesus rose. "...and they came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all that had befallen them. And they said to Joshua, 'Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.'"

You know what one of the most important things is to win a battle? Courage. Courage. I think it was John Wesley that says 'It doesn't matter how big a dog is in a fight, it matters how big the fight is in a dog.' And David - it didn't matter how big Goliath was, David had courage. You know what God said to Joshua? God said it and Moses said it - and you can read about this in Joshua 1, verse 5 and Moses in his dying words said, 'Be very courageous.' Because if you go into battle you've got to have faith. How is it that we're going to overcome the enemy? Through faith. What had happened to the enemy soldiers in Jericho? They'd lost faith. They'd lost their courage. 'The Lord has given us the land because the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.'

Alright, now we're going to go to a familiar story in the Bible - go to chapter 6 of Joshua - and we're going to read about the follow-up. "Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the Children of Israel;" - now they're on red alert. They've shut the gates. You know why they're on red alert? - "None went out, and none came in." Because something had happened at the Jordan River. One day Joshua told all the Children of Israel, 'The time has come. Strike camp. Get in formation.' They wrapped up their tents, they broke camp, they got in formation, and he said, 'Let's all line up. I want the priests out front.' The priests got out front.

Now the people in Jericho are watching about a mile away from their walls - they're going, 'What is going on?' They saw all the dust. They saw the children of Israel marching down towards the Jordan River - and this is springtime - the Jordan is flooding. And as they're marching towards the Jordan River, the people of Jericho are going, 'What is wrong with them? They're just going to all drown themselves.' But as they get closer to the river, they've got the ark going out in front. The priests - as soon as they get to the borders of the river, they put their feet in the edge of the water - boy, that takes faith to be carrying the ark - golden anchor - you're just walking off into deep water. You've got to have faith. But God said, 'Go forward.' And they learned. He wanted to see, you know, when they first - 40 years earlier - He said, 'Follow Me. I want you to cross the ocean.' They weren't going anywhere until He parted it. Now He said, 'I wonder if you learned to trust Me. I want you to walk out before I part it.'

God wants us to believe His Word and obey even when we don't know how. So they put their feet in the water and as soon as the priests' toes touched the water, the water just went - baroomph! - And it began to wall up upstream and it washed away downstream and it was like God had put an electric hair dryer on the path and He instantly dried up the muddy bottom and it was dry ground. And the priests marched off into the low bed of the river and the waters just kept damming further and further upstream and the waters downstream ran off to the Dead Sea. And while the priests stood in the middle, God told the soldiers and all the people to cross over and, to the right and to the left of the ark, they all had to march by the presence of God to get into the Promised Land.

By the way, how are we getting into the Promised Land? Don't we all have to go in review before God? So they all marched by the ark. What was in the ark? Ten Commandments. Everyone thinks, 'I'd like to find that golden box with the ark' - everyone thinks, 'The ark of the covenant, wow, that'd be a great adventure.' Would you like to know where it is? It's in your hands. It's called the Ten Commandments. Everyone wants the box - they don't want the rocks in the box. The rocks in the box had the Ten Commandments - and it's right here. I know what was in the ark. So they all walked by the ark. People up on the walls of Jericho - if you could see the knees on the soldier, they would have been going like this, because they see 'they're coming for us next.' They're thinking, 'how do you fight a God like this?' So they cross over. Now they say, 'lock the gates! High alert!' The city is all locked down.

They've probably got food stored up and water stored up. They're expecting a long siege and then God gives Joshua some very interesting military tactics that no general has ever used before or since, as far as I know. the Lord said to Joshua, 'I've given Jericho into your hand, its king, its mighty men of valor - you're to March around the city, you and all of your men of war - go around the city' - how many times? Seven. Thirteen. Everyone says seven. They were to go around the city one time for six days and then seven times on the seventh day. Am I right? Amen. A total of how many times? Thirteen. Now you're thinking, 'Why thirteen? Isn't that an unlucky number?' How many people were at the last supper? Twelve apostles and Jesus. Thirteen.

How many tribes of Israel were there? Technically thirteen, because you've got the twelve sons of Jacob, but what he did is, he said because Joseph was sold by his brothers, I'm going to give the two sons of Joseph an equal share - Ephraim and Manasseh became individual tribes. And it ended up adding up to thirteen - Levites became priests for everybody so they kept saying twelve tribes because Levites didn't get an inheritance. I know that's confusing. That's called too much information. Anyway, so back to the sermon. And so he says, 'I want you to march around it’ and 'Seven priests bearing seven trumpets' - now wait a second - do we hear about seven trumpets in Revelation?

'Seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. But on the seventh day you'll march around the city seven times, and the priests will blow the trumpets. And it will come to pass they will make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people will shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people will go up every man straight before him.' Now he gives them further instructions, if you go to verse 10. Joshua told the soldiers, "You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, 'Shout!'"

Now that must have been pretty hard. By the time this took place, the Children of Israel had over a million men - they had 900,000 men who could fight at the beginning of 40 years and God told them to be fruitful and multiply and we're expecting it was bigger than that. So it was like a million-man army. I don't know what it was, but it was big. And so he tells this army to start marching. They're just outside of bow shot. The people in Jericho are wondering what in the world is going on. They see the soldiers get ready. They see the priests. They see them going right towards the city of Jericho and they're all marching in formation.

You know, sometimes when soldiers march they chant, they hit drums, they do all these things. Soldiers don't utter a word. All they can hear is the occasional blast of the trumpet (makes trumpet noise) from the trumpets of seven rams' horns. And those priests, their puckers must have been pretty tired at the end of the day, but they just kept going around. They'd blow the trumpet - short blasts, because the long blast was a signal on the seventh day. And the soldiers just (makes stomping noises) - they're outside of bow shot from the city. They can't hit them with a spear or an arrow or a bow, so they can't fire at them. They're afraid to open the gates and attack them, and they do the strangest thing: they all make one complete circumnavigation of the city - they go back to camp. And everybody in Jericho, they're going, 'What was - that was weird. What was that all about?'

And they do this day after day - they march around the city one time, blowing the trumpets - no soldiers - and you know, those soldiers wanted to talk to each other but they couldn't. They were so excited but they couldn't say anything. God did that on purpose. I'll tell you about that in a moment. So second day, third day, fourth day - march around the city just a million men (makes stomping noises) can you imagine how the ground shook? Trumpets (makes trumpet noises) - after four or five days the men inside Jericho, they're just - 'What does it mean? The trumpet - marching' - they're going crazy from all of this. It's driving them nuts. And so they just kept going - six days - seventh day they changed it up a little bit.

Now some of you are thinking, 'They march around the city seven days - seventh day of marching - the Bible says the seventh day is the Sabbath - does that mean on the seventh day of the week he told them to attack the city of Jericho and do all that? It doesn't sound like very good church service - Sabbath keeping to me.' No, it was seven days of sequential marching and the seventh day of marching - it wasn't necessarily the seventh day of the week. But you're thinking, 'Well does that mean that one of those days they went out and marched around Jericho, blowing the trumpets and came back?' Maybe. It's just called a Sabbath walk and special music - there's nothing wrong with that. (Laughter) so - seventh day they go around the city seven times and those soldiers are - they're just wanting to shout - they're - the reason that they couldn't say a word is that when they finally shouted, their voices had rested.

These men, they'd rested their voices for seven days and they were like caged lions being released and they had all this pent-up energy and all that testosterone of a million-man army who'd been marching, waiting to fight, and finally, after seven times around the city - I'm not going to tell you what happened yet. What is Rahab doing? What do you think is happening in the city with Rahab? When they go first circuit around the city, what's Rahab been doing in the weeks or months that transpired between her meeting the two spies and them showing up? They said, 'Only those in your house will live.'

Now suppose you're Rahab. You know Joshua and the soldiers are coming - that the city's going to be destroyed and burnt with fire - that's what's going to happen to our world. The elements will melt with fervent heat. The earth and the things that are in it will be burned up. The only one who's going to be insulated against the disaster are those in your house. How earnestly would you try to get people into your house? Rahab was doing all she could - probably first with her family. And when you find Jesus, the first mission field - you don't have to go to a faraway mission field to be a missionary - first thing you do - Jesus said, 'Go first to Jerusalem' - that means your home town, he told the apostles - 'Then go to Judea, then Samaria, then the uttermost parts of the earth.'

Start with your family. She wanted her mother and her father, her brothers and her sisters - first people you try to reach and they're the hardest to reach. If you can reach them you can reach anybody, usually, because they know you. And they said, 'Rahab, what do you do for a living? You're going to preach to us?' And she said, 'Mom, Dad, I've got news for you. The only way that we're going to live is you've got to be in the house when Joshua comes.' And then she got her brothers and her sisters and they started showing up at the door - and I'll bet you, after the second or third day of the Israelites marching around the city, it was getting easier and easier to talk her friends and family into the house. They saw the Jordan River part and she said, 'Joshua's coming.' They said, 'I think you're right.' And they wanted to get in the house because the only way to be saved would be to be in her house.

By the way, Joshua represents who? Jesus. Jesus. King of Jericho? The devil – Canaanites? The lost. What does a woman represent? Church. Rahab is a woman who has made a covenant with Jesus. Isn't that the church? Only those in her house will be saved. Does it matter whether or not we are part of a church when Jesus comes? Yes.

People often say, 'Oh, you know, I'm a Christian. I don't go to church.' The Bible says we're supposed to be part of a body. And if you're not part of a body, it's not healthy. Any part of a body separated from the whole doesn't last very long, right? And we all have different functions. Paul says, you know, some of us are the ears and some are the eyes and that would mean some are the toes and some are the nose. And if I say to you, 'Oh look, a nose. You think, well, that's kind of odd, Doug, yeah, we've all got a nose.' If I point to someone and say, 'Look, a nose.' That doesn't really surprise you, but I go, 'Look, a nose on the floor!' That'd be kind of scary, wouldn't it? Because a nose belongs on a face. How long is that nose going to last on the floor? Not very long.

And some people might say, 'Well, you know, I've accepted Jesus but I don't really need to be part of a church.' And I imagine, as Joshua went around that city five times and six times, pretty soon Rahab was hearing, 'Knock, knock, knock' on the door. She'd look through the peephole and say, 'What's the password?' They'd say, 'red rope.' And she'd open the door and there they'd be standing with all their baggage and she'd open the door a little further and she'd say, 'I want you to see all the people in the house. We don't have room for your bags. If you want to live, you have to be in the house, not necessarily your stuff.'

It reminds me of a story when Genghis Khan was going across Asia, conquering different cities and towns that - he went to this one town, and two people who had been kind to him he said, 'I will let you live and you can have everything that you can carry out of the city with you, but then I'm going to destroy the city and everyone else in it.' So those two men appeared coming out of the city, one carrying his mother and the other one carrying his father. Khan said, 'You can have all you can carry.' And so instead of carrying stuff, they carried their family. What is it the Lord wants us to reach? A man's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. It's about saving people. And they'd leave their bags at the bag claim and she started letting more and more people in her house.

After the seventh day, Joshua marches around the city with his men, the seventh time and then the trumpets blow and they'd been practicing for six days - they were really good by then. And then Joshua said, 'Let out the shout.' He actually says some words that have harbingers of the New Testament. Verse 17 - verse 16 - Joshua chapter 6:16, "And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: 'Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot" - what a strange thing to say - "only Rahab the harlot" - that'd probably be the last person in the world you'd expect to be delivered - "Rahab the harlot will live and all who" - not all the stuff, but "all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent."

Alright, we talked about Rahab represents what? Church. Joshua is a type of Jesus - it's what his name means. Who are the messengers? You know the Bible says that there are two witnesses in Revelation - sometimes it refers to them like Moses and Elijah - Moses and Elijah represent the law and the prophets. Two individuals appeared to Jesus to confirm he was the Messiah in the New Testament. Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets - and I'll talk about that another night.

This is telling us the Word of God. 'Thy word I've hid in my heart that I might not sin.' Because Rahab hid the messengers in the upper room - you know, I also thought it was interesting - they were saved by being hidden under the flax. What was she doing? She was dyeing cloth. What color was she using? Scarlet. What saved them? They were hidden under the - the red - and they were delivered. In the roof - the upper room. Where was the Holy Spirit poured out? The upper room. Where did Elijah resurrect a boy? Upper room. Where did Elisha resurrect a boy? In the upper room. Last supper? In the upper room. That's your upper room. 'Thy word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.'

How did Jesus fight the devil's temptation? 'It is written. It is written. It is written.' These are the two witnesses. It's a sword with two edges. The law and the prophets. Moses and Elijah - the Word of God. "Because she hid the messengers that we sent." Verse 18 - and, well, we can go on in - it says the only thing saved is the treasure in the city and that's what Jesus is going to save when he comes for this world, which is that which is precious.

Friends, is our Joshua coming? Yes. Are trumpets going to blow? Yes. Is it true that there's going to be destruction? Yes. And Joshua gave the signal - the trumpets - those seven trumpets blew and the soldiers all gave a shout - and that must have been an earth-rending shout. They shouted and they stomped the ground and they clashed their swords against their shields and there was a ruckus like you've never heard before - a cacophony - a roar came from that. And I don't know if it was a combination of sound waves and God's angels, but the very foundations of Jericho began to rumble and there was an earthquake. Does the Bible say the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a what? A shout. A shout! Is there going to be an earthquake when Jesus comes? Yes. There's a mighty earthquake so mighty and so great there's never been one like it. There's going to be a shout - are there going to be trumpets? Yes. With the trump of the Lord - the Lord will descend from Heaven.

This story in the Old Testament is a key to help us understand what is coming in the future. The only way, in the last days, for people to survive the coming of our Joshua and the blowing of the trumpets and the destruction that's going to happen, and the shout of the archangel, is to be in the house with the red rope. Amen. And when they blew the trumpets the ground shook and the walls imploded. They all fell down out flat - with one exception.

Any of you ever driven across the country? You probably see this here in Michigan - we don't have it so much back in California, because we don't build all the houses there with a fireplace, but you ever seen where a farm burns down and the only thing left standing is a chimney? The stone - and it's just sort of a sad silhouette standing up by itself where you knew there was once a house and a family. And when that earthquake happened, and when the ground shook, and when everything fell, and all the city fell, after the smoke from that implosion cleared, they saw the shadow - one little section of the wall was still standing. And as the dust began to blow away that one section had a window in it and it was just big enough for one home and that column that was left standing - and a bunch of faces were very anxiously looking out of that window and in that window was a red rope.

You know, it says in Psalms 91 that you don't have to be afraid of the last days - a thousand may - verse 7 - 'A thousand might fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but...only with your eyes will you see the destruction of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, the Most High, your habitation, there will be no plague that will come near you or to your dwelling.' And so Rahab and her family, they could hear the roar. They could feel the shaking and everything around them fell, but their home did not fall. God helped them survive.

Now I imagine that conditions inside her house - people were probably complaining about the room service at that point, don't you think? And you get all those people in the house - you get a lot of family under one roof. Who was it - Ben Franklin - that said, 'After three days, company and fish start to smell' - and they probably had a few scrabbles and arguments as they were dealing out their meager provisions. And some of them said, 'I can't stand it in this house anymore. You're - it's just - I can't get along with these people.' And Rahab said - when they were going to the door she said, 'The only way to live is to stay inside.' Now I imagine Noah, during the flood, with all the billowing - bellowing animals - didn't smell very good, but it was a lot safer in the ark than outside in the storm. And sometimes the church, I agree it may have problems, and there are some kooky people and, yes, even Jesus had a Judas in his group. Don't let that discourage you because we must be in Christ - and what is the church called? The body of Christ. We must be in Christ's body when He comes. We need to be part of a collective that are under the blood - that believe the covenant. Are you getting the meaning in this incredible story? Amen. And I'm always inspired by the faith of Rahab.

So the walls fall. Rahab and her family - the two spies - Joshua tells them, he says, 'Look, you guys better get in there.' He says to the two messengers - Joshua said - verse 22 - "...to the men who had spied out the country, 'Go into the harlot's house,'". Now usually it's not the mission of - coming from Joshua, but he said, 'Go into the harlot's house,'. And - to the men - because we don't know what she looked like - there's no photographs - 'and get the woman and everybody in her house. You know who she is. Rescue her before we put the torch to the city.' So they go and they took out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all that she had. There were a lot of other people besides her family. They brought out all of her relatives and they left them outside the camp in a safe spot and they burned the city with fire.

What is the Lord going to do when Jesus comes? It says the - we will be - 'The dead in Christ will rise. We will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.' And then behind that rapture of the Lord when He catches us up, there's going to be tremendous destruction, but He saves us from it before it happens. Isn't that good news? Amen. He saves us and then there's destruction immediately after. By the way, some say that the Second Coming is a secret. You're just going to wake up one morning and everybody's gone. Was it quiet when Joshua came to Jericho? No. Or was it exceedingly loud? Loud. What will it be like when Jesus comes? Loud. It says there's going to be a roar. There's going to be a shout. At the last trump there's going to be an earthquake. There's going to be a resurrection. Every one of your senses will be shouting that something climatic - traumatic - had happened. You won't have to read about it with a text message. He said it'll be like lightning going from the East even unto the West. Every eye will behold Him. Jesus is coming.

They took Rahab outside the city. Everything in Jericho was destroyed. And Rahab and her family, they're all saying, 'We are so thankful that you told us to come into your house.' Rahab represents the church. Why would God pick someone like Rahab to be that symbol? Well, you know, the Bible says, even in the book of Hosea, that sometimes His bride has been unfaithful, but He still loves her. God says that sometimes we've been unfaithful. Peter denied the Lord and after He rose, he told Mary Magdalene, 'Go tell the disciples - and Peter - that I'm alive.'

Not only was Rahab saved, after things settled down, she's just outside the city. She doesn't know where to go. Her whole life was in the city - burned with fire. She's got her family and she says to one of the spies, 'You got any recommendations about what we do now?' And one of the spies, I think his name was Salmon, he said, 'Well look, I'll keep an eye on you.' Rahab might have been an attractive young lady and he was inspired by her faith and her courage. And she thought he was pretty brave too. Because, you read in the Bible and it tells us that - you go to the genealogies of Jesus in the book of Matthew - have you read about that? It talks about Christ's family tree - Ram begat Amminadab, Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon and Salmon begat Boaz by Rahab - and Rahab and Salmon - Rahab and Salmon had Boaz and Boaz married Ruth, who had Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, who begat David, of whom came the Christ. Isn't it interesting that in the family tree of Jesus you've got Tamar, who dressed up like a prostitute, you've got Bathsheba, who was an adulteress, and you've got Rahab.

Maybe the Lord's trying to tell us there's hope for us, what do you think? Amen. Christ came through the line of Rahab. And then you read in the Bible some very interesting - almost contradictions - it says not only are we inspired by Rahab's faith, it tells us that in Hebrews 11:31, "By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish." What's going to keep us from perishing, friends? Faith. Whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. James says, "Likewise was not Rahab the harlot not justified by works?" I wish these apostles would make up their mind. Paul says 'By faith', James says 'By works'. Well, we're not saved by works, but you know what? If you have faith it'll be seen in your works. Amen. And because she did have faith in Joshua - she showed it by putting her life on the line and receiving the messengers who came to her.

Do you have faith? Friends, I've got good news for you - and those who are watching - Jesus is coming - Joshua is surely coming. We don't know when but He's promised He's coming and He never breaks His promise, amen? Amen. He said, 'I will come again.' He came on time the first time. He will come again on time the second time. And there's going to be trumpets that will be blowing. And there's going to be an earth that will be shaking.

And there's going to be a shout when he comes and there's going to be a deliverance and a resurrection and there's going to be tremendous destruction and our only way of escape during that time - like the Israelites in Egypt, we need the blood on our door. Like Rahab and her household, we need the sign of that scarlet rope. Jesus is the ladder that reaches to Heaven. He let down a scarlet line so that we could be redeemed. And it's going to be the only way.

(Soft piano music) You know, we don't want to just hang on to that line. How long can you hold on to a rope? Your hands get weak after awhile if it's holding you up. You want to wrap it around and tie a knot, don't you? Have you made a decision to accept Jesus as your Savior? There's a lot of things going on in Jericho that could distract you - a lot of entertainment in sin city. But the only way to be safe is to be in Christ. You accept Jesus. You accept His sacrifice for you. He promises that the blood of His Son can wash away all of our sin and then you become part of His people - in spite of problems you might see in the church. He wants us to be part of His body. And what does Rahab do? She tells everybody Joshua's coming - invites them into her house so they'll be ready when He comes back. Is Jesus coming? It's not just ourselves being ready, we want to get others ready.

How about you, friends? Isn't that your desire? Those who are watching? This is the gospel story - the story of Rahab, this hero of faith, tells us how to be saved. And I want to be ready, don't you? Amen.

Father in Heaven, thank you so much for the good news. And I pray that each one of us can accept that covenant that You've offered in giving us Your own beloved Son. Be with us through this series and in our lives, that we can be part of Your people, in Christ's name, amen.

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