Confidence: His Promise

April 14, 2024

Series: Confidence

Book: Joshua

This is a part of a sermon series on the book of Joshua. You can watch more here.

Sermon Manuscript

Last Sunday we had our dear friend Nehemiah walk us through Joshua 1.  Wasn’t that awesome?  If you missed last Sunday, you can go to our YouTube to watch because what the Lord is doing in and through Nehemiah and Living Hope Church is amazing.  

This morning we will walk through Joshua chapter 2, so just big picture if you are new to the bible.  Genesis 1-2, God creates everything to be perfect.  Genesis 3 sin distorts everything God created to good.  That’s the bad news.  

The good news is in Genesis 3:15 we see the God’s plan to send a rescuer to reclaim and restore all of creation to Himself.  That’s the focus of the bible.  

The bible isn’t about morality.  The bible isn’t about rules and religion.  The bible is about God’s plan to send a rescuer; therefore, we need a people.

That’s the purpose of Israel.  Israel is in the news a lot right now and I am sure Israel today has a lot of goals to accomplish but their primary purpose in the Old Testament is to be a people by which a rescuer might come.  You with me?  That’s the focus of the Old Testament. 

This leads to people you might have heard of like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.  Listen to me, there’s nothing special about Abraham.  Abraham is a nobody.  Abraham is essentially worshipping rocks when the God of Scripture calls Abraham to Himself and says, “Abraham out of you, I will build a people, and out of those people a rescuer will come who will bless the nations of the world.”  Spoiler alert:  That’s Jesus!

After Abraham, we see Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Joseph leads Israel into Egypt, Israel ends up enslaved in Egypt, so that Moses leads Israel out of slavery in Egypt.  That’s the Passover, Parting of the Red Sea, 10 Commandments and then God calls Moses to send out 12 spies to spy out the land that is going to establish Israel, that will produce a Savior and ten of those twelve spies come back terrified.  

That’s the context of Joshua.  The God of Scripture has promised a land to Israel but the people of Israel are filled with fear.  Have you ever been in that place?  Have you had those moments in life where you are overcome with fear?  Have you had those moments where the Lord is leading you to a point in time and you’re not sure how it’s going to happen?

What if that step of faith doesn’t work out?  What if everything falls apart?  What if those finances don’t come through?  What if that conversation doesn’t go well?  What if that child doesn’t respond?  That’s the context for Israel, that’s the context for Joshua and that’s the context of our passage this morning.  

If you are in a place where you feel stuck, this is the passage for you.  If you are in a place where you aren’t sure what the Lord is doing, this is the passage for you.  If you’re in a place where your faith has just felt shallow, this is the passage for you.  Let’s look at Joshua 2:1: 

Joshua 2:1, “Then 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.”

“Shi-team” Be careful with that one!  Big picture!  Stay with me!  Israel has been in the wilderness for 40 years.  The 12 spies came back and 10 of those spies overwhelmed with fear, so the God of Scripture raises up a whole new generation.  

40 years is enough time for the old fear-filled people to die off, a new generation has come.  Moses has died.  Joshua is leading, so that Joshua sends out two spies this time to spy out the land and you need to know the challenge is still terrifying.  

The promised land is still inhabited by a powerful people who are filled with fortified cities, so that the first city is Jericho.  Jericho is strong.  Jericho is intimidating.  Jericho is a spiritually dark place where people are entrenched in sexually immoral, temple orgies, incest, human sacrifices, so that verse 1 is still terrifying.  Look at verses 2-3:

Joshua 2:2-3, “2 It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land. 3 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.”

In verses 1-3 we meet Rahab and we don’t know a ton about Rahab.  But we know Rahab is a harlot back in verse 1, which means she is someone who sells her body for sex.  In our culture today, people try to tell us that sex workers are valid career tracks but that’s a lie.  

Rahab isn’t in a position of power.  Rahab is in a position of vulnerability.  Rahab is just trying to survive and in verses 1-3 we see these spies from Israel are sneaking into her house to spy out the land but the King of Jericho knows all about it!

So, that right out of the gate we see this contrast of power in Joshua 2.  Write that in your notes.  We see vulnerable Israel coming against mighty Jericho and we see vulnerable Rahab coming up against this powerful king. Look at verses 4-7: 

Joshua 2:4-7, “4 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. 5 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.” 

6 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. 7 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.”

At this point, sometimes people can get distracted by Rahab lying to the king and God’s Word teaches us we shouldn’t lie but you need to know the focus of this story isn’t on the morality of Rahab.  This isn’t a lesson on sexual relationships or lying.  

In fact, the focus of God’s Word isn’t on morality.  It’s possible we think of the bible as a story of “good guys” and “bad guys” but there is only one “good” guy in the story of God’s Word.  His name is Jesus!  Everyone else is the “bad guy.”  You with me?

The larger part of the story, the focus of our passage this morning is that Rahab is risking her life to deceive her king and protect spies of the spies of Israel.  Does that make sense?  That’s what should jump off the page.  

The question we shouldn’t be asking is, “Does this mean I can lie in certain situations?”  That’s not the point!  The question we should be asking is, “Why would Rahab take such a risk?”  Look at verses 8-11: 

Joshua 2:8-11, “8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 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.” 

What’s the question?  Why would Rahab take such a risk?  What’s the answer?  Look at verses (9).  She says, “I know the Lord has given you the land.  Verses (10) and (11), “We have heard how the Lord provided.  Verse (11), “Our hearts melted…for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”  

Rahab’s takes this step of faith because her faith is in the God of Scripture!  This is huge!  Rahab doesn’t have Genesis to Revelation.  Rahab doesn’t have the glory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection shaping the last 2,000 years of human history.  Rahab doesn’t have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus.  

Rahab has heard about the Lord.  The word “Lord” in verses 9, 10 and 11 is the personal name for God.  It isn’t generic, lowercase god.  It isn’t any old god you can drum up off the street.  It is Yahweh.  It is the great “I AM.”  He isn’t god of moons, god of fertility, god of sun but He is Lord of Lords, over heaven and earth.  Rahab says, “I’ve heard about Him!”

I need you to see that this morning.  Her faith isn’t in her status or position.  She’s not trusting in herself and her accomplishments.    

Her faith isn’t on the circumstances of her day.  If she got enough sleep.  If her political party is winning.  If her children are making good choices.  If her physical health is strong.  

Her faith is on the God of Scripture!  Her faith is on the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph.  Her faith is on the promises of God!  It changes everything!

Last Sunday we had Pastor Nehemiah walking us through Joshua 1 and as Nehemiah was teaching I was struck with the reminder that Nehemiah is of the country Nepal studying about the history of Israel in the Old Testament, which brought forth our Savior and as a result, Nehemiah’s life has been transformed in Christ!

In our country we grow up learning about Israel.  We grow up hearing stories about Jewish people.  But people in Nepal don’t grow up learning about Israel.  

Israel is just this other country in the world, yet Nehemiah heard about the promises of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, and like Rahab of old, Nehemiah’s heart melted, because he believed in the promises of God.  

That’s the focus of our passage this morning!  If you want to see a spark come back into your life.  If you want to see power come alive.  If you want to see a life of confidence, then put your faith in the God of Scripture.  

Like Rahab of old, hear about the glory of God made known in God’s Word and live your life accordingly.  Do you understand we aren’t born hearing about the glory of God?  We have to go to His Word!  When we read God’s Word, study God’s Word, I promise, in those moments He will bring us to a place where we can either trust in Him in ourselves.  

That’s the distinction this morning.  It isn’t hearing about the glory of God and nodding in agreement.  It is hearing about the glory of God made known in His Word and responding.  Rahab grew up in a city that was known for being a powerful force.  Rahab was living in a city that had the advantage.  The scary parts of the story didn’t change but the glory of God got bigger and that changed everything!  Amen? 

Listen to me, this is how the God of Scripture still works today.  He is looking for men and women in awe of His glory.  He is looking for men and women who make decisions based on His glory, His Word and His power.

That’s what we are praying for with Embolden.  We’re memorizing God’s Word to hear about His glory.  We’re praying more to hear about His glory.  We’re strengthening our relationships with one another more to hear about His glory, so that the glory of God gets bigger and we are emboldened in Him.  Amen?  

Because I hope we’re not waiting for the giants to disappear?  I hope we’re not waiting for the political climate to get easier?  I hope we aren’t waiting to get all our questions answered before we follow Him?  I hope we aren’t waiting for our children to get to a certain stage or our finances to get to a certain dollar amount?  It starts with His glory and then us responding accordingly.  Look at verses 12-14: 

Joshua 2:12-14, “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.””

Do you see that phrase “deliver our lives from death?”  Rahab understands what’s at stake.  Rahab is trusting that the judgment of God is going to come upon the city of Jericho.  

I know that makes some of us uncomfortable to think about the violence in Joshua and how God responds, but you need to know the wickedness of humanity can’t go on forever. 

God’s Word isn’t picking on Jericho.  God’s Word is clear there is only one “good person.”  His name is Jesus.  The rest of us are worthy of His judgment, so that in Joshua 2 it’s as if the God of Scripture says, “That’s enough.”

The level of spiritual darkness, idol worship, sexual immorality, incest that is taking place over and over and over, so that the God of Scripture says, “That’s enough.  Judgment is coming.  And Rahab knows this, and instead of hardening her heart she pleads for rescue for herself, her siblings and her parents.

In the same way, we would be naïve to think our offenses today are any different.  We would be naïve to think that our sexual immorality is cute, our sacrifice of infants is somehow acceptable, our greed and idol worship is cuddly, so that there is a day when His righteous judgment will come, so that we must ask ourselves, “Are we going to trust in ourselves or we going to trust in the Lord?”  Look at verses 15-19: 

Joshua 2:15-16, “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.” 

Joshua 2:17-19, “ 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.” 

Rahab’s story in Joshua 2 is awesome.  Do you see the cross being laid over the text in verse 18?  Please don’t miss this.  The scarlet thread in verse 18 is a sign.  

The “scarlet thread in the window” is language of the Passover when Israel is in Egypt and the night before the Israelites are instructed to take the blood of the lamb on the door posts, so that when the angel of death comes and passes over every house that is covered by the blood of the lamb.  The lamb takes the judgment on their behalf.  

In the same way, the scarlet thread is a symbol of that rescue, so that Rahab and her family were putting their trust in that scarlet thread, so that judgment wouldn’t come upon her house.

Today we don’t look to the Passover lamb, but to the ultimate lamb.  We don’t look to the scarlet thread but the blood of Jesus who stands in our place and takes the judgment we deserve, so that we might be rescued.  Isn’t that good?  That’s the gospel!

All of humanity is layered in spiritual darkness.  All of humanity has sinned against the holiness of God.  The judgment of God isn’t just coming for the “bad people.”  

We are all “bad people.”  We have all sinned.  We are all worthy of His judgment but blood of Jesus has been poured out, so that all who are covered by the scarlet blood of Jesus will be saved!  That’s the gospel in Joshua 2!  Look at verses 23-24: 

Joshua 2:23-24, “23 Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “Surely the Lord has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.”

What changed?  Israel is still vulnerable.  The people of Jericho are still scary but now there are men and women who are trusting in the Lord.  It changed everything!  

In the context of the passage Israel is going to come, the deception of Rahab will be exposed and Rahab and her family cling to the scarlet thread, trusting in the promises of God, so that eventually Rahab is rescued.  

Rahab not only escapes the flames of judgment but Rahab builds a new life of peace and new beginnings.  Eventually Rahab meets a guy, they marry, they have a baby boy and name him Boaz.  

Do you know the book of Ruth?  Boaz is this great man who meets Ruth as a kinsman redeemer, so that eventually Rahab’s line leads to King David and King David, Matthew 1, Rahab is in the line of Jesus.  

So that Rahab starts off in a dark place, dark circumstances, dark city, so that in the moment Rahab might have thought this one step of faith was just one decision but that one decision shaped the rest of her life, her children and the line of Jesus.  Isn’t that amazing?

North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

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