Sunday, March 30, 2008

The deliverance of Rahab

Joshua begins with the Israelites poised to cross the Jordan and unleash hell on the inhabitants of Canaan. But before the carnage begins there's this story of amazing grace. The story of Rahab and the spies is a vivid picture of God's grace and mercy, just as the events that follow are a vivid picture of his judgment. Our predicament is much like Rahab's, and her deliverance points toward "Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." (1 Thess. 1:10) The RSB comments:

2:1-24 Before the expected sequel to ch. 1 (namely, 3:1) there is the surprising story of the spies who return to Joshua proclaiming the promise of God (v. 24; cf. 1:2-5). Although the Book of Joshua describes in graphic detail the destruction of the Canaanites (chs. 6-12), it gives a prominent place to Rahab, a Canaanite harlot, (Lev. 18:24 in context). It is from her lips that the spies hear testimony to the promise and the power of God (vv. 9-11), in the light of which she seeks and finds kindness (v. 12). She will be spared from the coming judgment (6:22, 23) and find a place among the people of God (6:25). The chapter testifies to the grace of God in bringing such a woman to seek and find His mercy. The story of Rahab supplies an important perspective on the judgments of God that will occupy much of this book.

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