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.
Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.” So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land. Joshua 6:21-27 NASB
The victory God won at Jericho declares the sovereignty of the Lord. The capture and destruction of the wicked city of Jericho was an object lesson to the Israelites. This battle was the first of many to come in Israel’s history to take and possess the land promised to Abraham in Genesis 12. God is faithful and fulfilled His promises to Abraham, the other patriarchs, Moses, Joshua and the promise made to spare Rahab and her family in her house that was located upon the wall of the city (Joshua 2:15) which was miraculously preserved when the walls crumbled.
The young spies who visited Rahab’s house while spying out the land prior to the Israelites entry were sent by Joshua (a type of Christ) to bring Rahab and her family to safety: “…bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.” Our words, when spoken by faith in God, are powerful and we are to believe they can be used to bring others to faith when we are obedient to the Lord. These two young men gave her specific instructions to hang a scarlet cord in her window; she believed them and was saved. Not only was she spared, but her father, mother and brothers were saved and her possessions in the dwelling were safe. She, like Noah who believed and obeyed (Gen. 6:22; 7:1; Heb. 11:7), believed to the saving of her house; and, so faith in Christ brings salvation to the house(Acts 16:31).
Not only does God honor His promises to us, we are to honor and keep our promises made to God by being obedient to His word, the whisper of the Holy Spirit and we are to keep our promises made to those around us, as Joshua honored the promise of safety to the household of Rahab.
God honored Rahab’s faith and kindness to the two spies and guided her life after she and her family were placed outside the camp of Israel for cleansing. In due time, she was brought into the house of Israel and became the wife of Salmon, mother of Boaz. She was King David’s great-great-grandmother and is named among the ancestors of our Savior (Matt. 1:5). We see the pattern of Christ receiving the publicans and harlots (Matt. 21:31); and our acceptance as Gentiles grafted into the root of the vine of God, Jesus Christ.
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19 NASB
These words describe the unchanging nature of the Lord and the integrity of His word, in contrast to man’s unreliability. God kept His promise to Joshua and magnified him, firmly establishing him as servant-leader with great fame (Joshua 6:27). The statement “the Lordwas with Joshua” marks the climax of his rise to leadership, fulfilling God’s promise in Joshua 1:5: “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.”
At eighty years of age, Joshua whom name means ‘the Lord is salvation,’ son of Nun, born in Egypt as a slave, now stands at Jericho as God’s chosen leader, giving orders to destroy and burn the city and pronounces a curse upon it that is fulfilled some 500 years later during the reign of King Ahab.
“The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His loving kindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.
“Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His loving kindness which He swore to your forefathers.” Deuteronomy 7:7-12 NASB
The selection of Israel as a holy nation, set apart for God, was grounded in His love and faithfulness to the promises He had made to the patriarchs, not in any merit or intrinsic virtue in Israel, but obedience. Likewise, God will not fail those who trust in Christ for salvation. He will go before us if we will trust Him in patience, hope in Him with endurance and obey Him as He works through our obedient lifestyle for His glory.