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Joshua was ready to be strong and courageous. It was time for him to lead the people into the Promised Land, but God hadn’t promised it was going to be easy. There were some enemies that needed conquering! And the first city they were going to take was a city called Jericho. Joshua secretly sent two of his fighter-men to spy out the land. It was a dangerous job because the enemies in Jericho didn’t want to be spied on.
When you hear these stories, you need to know that today when we talk about the “land” and “enemies” — we aren’t talking about fighting people for a piece of ground to live on. God’s enemy, our enemy, is satan. And God’s land, His property, is our hearts and lives. So fighting sin and satan to get them off God’s land has to do with what you allow in your heart and life, and in other people’s hearts and lives. So keep that in mind as you listen.
But… this story is actually mostly about a lady named Rahab.
Rahab was a lady who lived in that great big city of Jericho.
The people of that city worshipped Just-pretend-gods.
Pretend-gods!! Why would they do THAT?
Can a Just-pretend-god help you? Noooooo… Can a Just-pretend-god love you? Noooooo… Can a Just-pretend-god save you from danger? Noooooo…
But the people of Jericho liked their Just-pretend-gods. With a fake god they could do anything they wanted! No rules for them. But that just made them more and more unwise, selfish, and wicked.
This is where Rahab lived, and Rahab grew up making really bad choices. Her heart felt ugly. The bad things she did didn’t make her happy at all.
Rahab had actually heard of God Almighty. When she was a young girl, all of Jericho had heard of the news of the powerful God that rescued His Children from slavery and the Pharaoh of Egypt. (She’d even heard about how God had split open the Red Sea so that His Family could cross over on dry ground!)
Well, one day more news came to the city of Jericho:
“The Powerful God that humbled all of Egypt is coming HERE. And so is His Army of People! After 40 years in the desert, He is giving them this land — our land!”
This news frightened everyone — even the king!
Rahab looked out the window of her house, wondering what would happen.
One day two men tip-toed into Jericho. They were the two men Joshua sent from God’s Army — spies! They needed to find out some information about the city, but they had to do it secretly.
When the two spies came to Rahab’s house, she warned them that enemy soldiers were looking for them. “Come in!” she whispered to the two men. “Hide in here!”
She hid them on her roof by covering them with straw. When the king’s soldiers came to Rahab’s house, they couldn’t find God’s men ANYWHERE. So once the soldiers had gone away, Rahab went up to talk with the men some more.
“I KNOW you serve the Real God,” Rahab told them. “Your God is the God of heaven and earth. Everyone here is afraid of you, and I know that your God is giving you this land. Since I have helped you, will you save me and my family?”
“Oh yes!” said the two men. “Because you are helping us, our Powerful God will protect you. But you must do exactly as we say. Gather your whole family into your house! And don’t tell the king of Jericho what we are doing. Just put a red rope in the window to show which house is yours. When God’s Army comes, all of Jericho will be destroyed except for you and all your household.”
Rahab quietly lowered the men out her window, so they could get back to Joshua and tell him what they learned.
Later, she obeyed and crowded her family into her home. Rahab believed that the One True God would save them.
After God’s Army came to Jericho, all the walls of the city came crashing down… except right where Rahab lived. Her house stood firm, and Joshua and his men rescued Rahab and her family.
But everyone else in Jericho — who worshipped their just-pretend-gods — were destroyed.
God was very proud of Rahab. Even though all of her life Rahab had sinned many times and been very bad and ugly, she had chosen to CHANGE. She saw with Heaven-Eyes that with God and His Family was the place to be. While everyone else in Jericho was disobedient and afraid, Rahab recognized God was God, and cooperated with Him by helping His Family. She chose to Trust and Obey the One True God!
God had a bright future planned for Rahab now. God adopted her and her whole household into His Very Own Family! God honored her choices to please Him in a special way… because when Rahab got married, her children’s children’s children’s children got to be kings in God’s Family. And many years and children’s children after that, came the Greatest King of All — Jesus!
So, it doesn’t matter where we start in life, just where we finish!