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Joshua 2:1-21

Hold on to Hope

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • January 14, 2024

As we study the story of Rahab, we will see that our heart does not have to stay captive to our past. God creates a way of escape and freedom through the promise we have in Christ. God does not only save us from our past, but can change our future to have a great impact. Even when things look hopeless, we can hold on to hope.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Hold on to Hope
Joshua 2:1-21
January 14, 2024

Nothing in the word of God is there by accident. It is God-breathed and inspired by the Holy Spirit. And as you spend time in the word of God you find more and more treasures that bring revelation and can transform your heart and faith.

When we look at the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament, we find many places where there are types of Christ, the grace of God, and God’s plans and purposes. We see that the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.

Examples of this are the structure and building of the temple and the rituals and sacrifices of the animals. Many of these didn’t make sense until the purpose of it was later revealed in the writings of the New Testament. These things become beacons pointing to Christ which strengthens our faith, seeing that God is intimately involved in the intricate daily experiences of life.

In the section we are studying today, we find one of these hidden gems. The back story is that Israel is about to possess the promised land. So Joshua sends two spies to the city of Jericho to get the lay of the land.

The king of Jericho finds out they are there, and starts to search for them. They go into the harlot Rahab’s house and hide there. She keeps them safe,  sending the soldiers on a wild goose chase. After this, there is a very interesting discussion, resulting in a promise by the spies not to destroy her or her family when they occupy Jericho.

Much of the things we see in this section, can correlate with our lives. As we study the section, we will see how your heart does not have to stay captive to your past. God creates a way of escape and freedom through the promise we have in Christ.

We also see that God does not only save you from your past, but can change your future to have a great impact. Even when things look hopeless, we can hold on to hope.

I. Put Your Trust in God

Jericho was a great fortress city. It was a city that needed to be conquered for the Israelites to be able to inherit the promised land. When we look at this from the perspective of a believer, it becomes a type of that in the world that is opposing you and trying to keep you from God’s best for you.

Rahab was part of the city. She was part of the worldly, sinful lifestyle of her time pulling away from and resisting God. It becomes apparent when we see that her being a harlot had her immersed in that culture and living in the bondage of that lifestyle.

But there was something different with Rahab. She saw the judgment of God that was coming. The whole city saw it. Their hearts melted like wax and there was no courage in them anymore, as they saw how the power of God had dealt with the other heathen nations opposing Israel.

As a side note, many see this and say that God was unfair in destroying these nations. But we see that God had made a provision for those who were not Israelites to come to faith in God. It is God’s heart to save.

Exodus 12:48, But if a stranger (alien) sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it.

God’s plan is always to restore people to Himself. But there are always those who oppose and reject God and follow after other idols.

 So we see a different spirit within Rahab. Instead of resisting the move of God, she sought mercy. She asked them to deal kindly with her and her household and spare them from death.

This becomes a beautiful story and type of redemption and promises that we have in God if we put our trust in Him.

A. Lay down your past

  • It is easy for us to just read the story without thinking of the emotion involved in it. This was all she knew. It was her culture and her security. We read that she lived on the wall. In other words, her house was part of the structure of Jericho. The wall was her security, her foundation.
  • This is the story of every person grounded in this world. All of us were at some stage grounded in the systems of this world. Many still are. But it is a foundation that cannot stand. It is doomed to fail and doomed to destruction.

Illus – We see this in the book of Daniel where Nebuchadnezzar had the dream of all the empires through the ages. The statue with all the different layers represents all the great empires of this earth. In the end, all the empires are shattered by the rock, representing Jesus Christ and his kingdom that will stand forever.

  • Whatever your life might be built on, at some stage the shocking truth and revelation is that it will not stand. Everyone comes to a place where you must admit that you need a Savior, a different foundation to build your eternal future on.
  • Rahab was able to see differently. She understood that she needed mercy to save her. So, she made a covenant with the spies. She made them swear that they would not hurt her and her family but would save them when they attacked the city.
  • There is a very interesting thought-provoking detail in the story that many miss. I believe that no word in the Bible is used by accident, but there is an underlying message that the Holy Spirit has woven into the text.
  • Verse 15 – she let them down by a rope through the window of her house that was on the city wall. Now normally one would think nothing strange of this passage. A few times it speaks of a rope, but the different words used for rope speak volumes.
  • The word used in verse 15 is It has a dual meaning. Literally, it means a rope, or measuring cord, or measured portion.
  • But then the same word also has another meaning. It means pain, sorrow, pangs, and destruction.
  • So, if we put all this together, we see that the rope that she hung out for them to go down on, represents her measured portion of pain, sorrow, and destruction. It becomes a description of her and the experiences in her own life.
  • We don’t know the back story of Rahab. Maybe she was forced into this lifestyle. Maybe it was what she grew up in and she thought it was all she was worth doing.
  • It might have been the life that she felt was “measured out” for her, her destiny. This inevitably would lead to a life of sorrow, regret, pain, and destruction, humiliation of the soul. What a hopeless life.
  • Whatever the back story, her using that rope signified something. She was crying out for help. A symbol of what she had to offer which was useless and hopeless. Yet, she put that on the altar, and gave it up to be used. It is like she is saying, “This is who I am. This is what I have. I am laying it all bare and on the altar.”
  • Many people have that story. They experience pain, sorrow, and destruction because of the things of their past or that which has been done to them. It might’ve been the hand that they have been dealt.
  • Whatever it is, this rope is a type of the destruction and pain brought by sin or the sinful nature flowing through generations. People are so stuck in it that it feels as if they are built into it, like her house being built into the wall. There is no escape. This is who I am. This chord becomes a cry for help.
  • But we see that Rahab takes a step of faith, trusting salvation, literally laying it all on the line.

B. Act in Faith

  • Her salvation though, was not just dependent on her laying it down and surrendering the things of her past. She had to take hold of another hope in faith.
  • The men told her that they would be free from the oath to save her if she didn’t do exactly what they said.
  • She had to take hold of their promise by faith. It would’ve been easy for her to doubt them, to turn back and run to the king, asking for his mercy. She could’ve realigned herself with that which she was comfortable with, that which she knew.
  • This is where many people stumble. They want a change, want forgiveness, discerning that there must be something more.
  • But then they start to doubt. They hear the enemy at the doors, pounding to come in. Fear starts to creep in.
  • Questions like, can I really become a Christian? What about my old friends? What about my old habits? Will I be all alone? Will I be strong enough to make this transition?
  • The enemy, the accuser of the brethren, launches a full-scale attack, because he does not want to lose a soul that is on its way to eternal destruction.
  • This is where faith needs to be built up. This is where one must hold on to God’s promises. God wants restoration for you. God loves you. God is for you. His word is what needs to be held onto.

1 John 4:4, You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Hebrews 13:5, for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” 

Philippians 2:13, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

2 Corinthians 12:9, And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

Romans 8:1, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

II. God’s Grace brings Hope

Rahab was counting and relying on the faithfulness, mercy, and grace of those who made the promise to her. But she would find that the grace she would receive would be even more than she dreamed.

A. Trust the Sacrifice of Jesus

  • She had to tie a cord of scarlet thread in the window and gather everyone inside her house.
  • Now this was in the physical a practical arrangement. This way the approaching army would know not to touch the house that had the scarlet thread hanging out of the window and everyone that was in the house was safe.
  • But once again, this speaks of something deeper. A different word for ‘rope’ is used in this verse. The word is ‘Tikva’, which means ‘hope, expectation.’
  • Not only does this word mean hope, but she had to hang out a scarlet rope. Red is the color that signifies blood. It reminds us of the same type of picture when the blood was put on the doorpost by the Israelites, and everyone that was inside the house was kept from the angel of death.
  • The Israelites approaching would see the scarlet rope, and I am sure on some level they would remember when death passed them by when the red blood was applied to their doorposts in Egypt. When they received mercy.
  • It goes even further than this.

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.

  • This rope becomes a prophetic type of Jesus Christ. He is the hope that we hold onto. Our sins that were as scarlet, are washed away by His blood bringing life into our lives.
  • We even see the three days of Jesus being the grave inferred in these verses, when it says that they would hide in the hill country for three days before going back to the camp of Israel.
  • The sin that was inherent in our bloodline through the sin of Adam, is done away with by the blood of the Lamb applied to our lives.
  • Just like the wrath and judgment were coming upon Jericho and Rahab would be saved, the blood of Jesus becomes the hope that saves us from the wrath and judgment of God on sin.

B. God changes your destiny

  • Mercy would have been that they would not be killed, but then be left to their own devices to sojourn the land, hungry and destitute, looking for another place to start a life.
  • But this is not what happened.

Joshua 6:22-25, Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.” So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel. They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

  • Rahab and her whole family were saved. But not only saved, they were brought into the nation of Israel, into a new household so to speak, into a new life with a future.
  • There are a few things we can take from this.
  • Firstly, her whole family was saved. You can imagine the effect that this had on the rest of her family. She would become an example to them, seen as the one who stood through adversity, seen as the one who made a way for them to also be blessed.
  • When you trust in God and put your faith in Him, ultimately it doesn’t just impact you. It impacts those around you as well. It makes a difference in generations to come, things you do not even yet see.

1 Corinthians 2:9, but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

  • Rahab could definitely not even dream of the impact her story would have and what God would ultimately bless her bloodline with.

Matthew 1:5-6,16, Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king… Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

  • From her bloodline, would come the greatest king of Israel, King David. But even more of a blessing than this, associated with her would come Jesus, the Messiah, our Savior.
  • The one whom her story was a type of, would be born closely associated with her and she would have the privilege to forever be known and be closely related to that Name. God honored her faith and wove her into the story of the Messiah.
  • All of this beauty came from a life that looked like it was worth nothing. A life lived in sin, doomed for destruction, held captive by death.
  • But this person held on to the scarlet thread of hope. Faith in God and trusting in his mercy and grace has the potential to change everything.
  • We can take hold of this, stand in hope in this truth, that if God could and would use a life like this, a woman like this, he can also change your life, turn it around, and do things through and with you that you cannot even fathom yet. Things that can touch and impact generations to come.

Joshua 2:1-21    NASB

1Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” And the king of Jericho sent word to 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 land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.

Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13 and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. 19 It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.” 21 She said, “According to your words, so be it.” So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.


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