The city trembled as the worshippers marched, marched, marched around perimeter. The marching was bad enough, but the trumpet-blowing set everyone’s teeth on edge. And today Rahab watched from her window in the city wall as they circled the city again, and again, and again.
From her window, hung scarlet. Like a neon sign, it flashed, “Open for business.” But, more than that, it marked her house. Much like the blood marked the houses of the Israelites on that night of firstborn death, the scarlet cord marked hers.
Today was her personal passover.
She stood in her scarlet-marked window as unrest grew in the city. The marching, marching, marching was worse than any siege. The reputation of the worshipping warriors preceded them. Like wax in the heat of a flame, the courage of the people of Jericho was melting away.
At first her family had dismissed her crazy story. Israelite spies giving a prostitute their battle plan? Why would they trust her? But when the marching began, they listened to her story … and believed.
Weeks before, the spies had shown up on her doorstep looking for shelter. She assumed they wanted more. Men always do. And it was her job to give it to them. But not these men. They were different.
She had heard of these men, their people. She’d heard what their God did for them in Egypt. How he piled up the waters and led them through Red Sea on dry land. She’d heard what happened to the Amorites when they had refused to let the Israelites pass through peacefully. And as she poured the wine and smiled at the men sharing stories around her table, she’d heard of the total annihilation of Og and his people when they dared to stand up to the Israelites. It was the stuff of legend.
But Rahab believed it was more than legend. And she believed that it was more than human strength or creative strategy. Rahab believed that God was giving them the land.
So when they showed up on her doorstep, she’d given them shelter. And when the king’s men banged on her door and demanded that she send out the men lodging there, she smiled, crossed her fingers, and addressed them with familiarity. “You know I don’t ask questions of the men who come to me. They were here. But they’re gone.”
While the king’s men followed her tip and chased shadows outside the city wall, Rahab made her case to the men on her roof, “Swear to me by the Lord, as I have dealt kindly with you, deal kindly with me and my family. When you take this city, save our lives.”
The men looked at each other, and looked at Rahab. She had saved them. “We’ll save your lives Rahab, even to death.”
They escaped by the scarlet cord, out the window, down the wall, into the hills. That scarlet cord enabled their safe escape. And when the day came, it would keep her and her family safe as well.
When the marching began, her father came to her. “Rahab, tell me your story. Tell me what you know.” And now, as fear began to escalate in the city streets, her family huddled safely in rooms below while she watched the worshipping warriors from her window and fingered the scarlet that marked her house as a house of faith.
A thunderous shout jolted Rahab from her reverie. Trumpet called to trumpet called to trumpet and she knew that worship was turning to war. The shouting intensified, and another sound that she didn’t recognize began to roll toward her like a rogue wave storming the seashore. She craned her neck out the window. And looking left her eyes widened in horror as she saw the source. The wall was crumbling, and the wave of demolition was coming her way.
As fear mounted in her throat, she held the scarlet cord. She closed her eyes preparing for the strike. But strangely miraculously, the destruction passed over her window. Her eyes flashed right as she saw the demolition continue like a game of dominoes around the city wall. With her heart in her throat, she tugged on the scarlet cord insuring that it held secure, and then flew down the steps to find her family arguing in their panic. They all were battling fight or flight.
Chaos reigned in the streets. As Hebrew warriors poured into the city burning, plundering, and killing more than the firstborn, the spies showed up at Rahab’s house. These spies led Rahab and her family through the fire, through the fighting, through the city marked for destruction and into new life. Their lives were saved … marked by a scarlet cord.
God saved Rahab. By a scarlet cord, the prostitute became a bride. And the bride became a mother. And her story became joined with the story of coming Savior who would be the scarlet cord.
The way of the scarlet cord doesn’t make sense, except by faith. There is no safety in fight or flight, only in the scarlet cord. Faith in God for a master plan, a higher good, a new and living way doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes everything in life screams at you to make your own way. But don’t do it. Have faith. Hold on. By the scarlet cord.
What is most amazing to you in Rahab’s story? What word is God speaking to you personally through this story? Would you please share your thoughts by leaving a comment?
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