(I taught 5 lessons at a kids camp recently and wanted to get them online for anyone to use. I’ll try to get them formatted better soon. ~ Anthony)
Remember our warrior friend Joshua? As the new leader of the Hebrews, Joshua is now ready to begin the long process of taking the land that was promised to them by God. That’s going to involve battle after battle, and much blood will be shed. Many people will be killed. however, God has promised a victory. Some of the battles will be short, like we will see in Jericho.
Two Spies and a Harlot
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. ~ Joshua 2:1
What is a harlot? This woman gives romantic affection and kissy-kissy for money. God calls that sin. Is this woman a greater/bigger sinner that you or I? No, not at all. But she also certainly didn’t follow God with her life or her choices up to now. Today, she would be “unsaved”, or a “non-Christian”, or an “unbeliever”. She simply didn’t follow God.
We can only be made “righteous” in Jesus and through His sacrifice for us. That doesn’t make us any “better” than someone else, it simply means we’ve been dusted off, cleaned up, and made right before God. We are not “better” than other people, we’ve simply been given a bath.
We don’t consider one person better than another because one is unbathed and one is not. As a matter of fact, after a long day of yard work or working in my shop, I’m often filthy and stinky! That doesn’t mean for that moment my washed and bathed neighbors are all better than me. It means I’m dirty, I smell bad, and I need a good shower! I’m still just as human as the rest of my neighbors.
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. ~ Revelation 1:5
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Again, we’re not better we’re just washed clean.
First, let’s take a look at the true meaning of baptism from a Biblical perspective. Without question, the best explanation is given to us in Romans 6. In order to get the context, let’s begin in verse 1,
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:1-5)
We find that baptism is full of significance! Paul teaches us that the Christian is supposed to go through a similar experience to what Jesus went through in His death, burial, and resurrection. The difference is that Jesus died physically and actually came back to life; we’re to die to our sin, self, and old ways, and then rise again to live a holy life through the power of Jesus. As Paul said in verses 6-13 of that same chapter,
“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:6-13)
In other words, baptism is an outward symbol of an inner change and transformation that is supposed to take place beforehand. It’s very important to emphasize the fact that this can only be accomplished through the power and strength of Jesus! It’s not that we have to completely overcome sin before we can be baptized, but we need to repent of our past sins (Acts 2:28) and have our mind made up that we want to overcome sin, as we will allow God to give us the victory.
Hiding and Lying
2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.
3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.
4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:
5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.
6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.
Let’s look at this situation. The two Jewish men are spies sent to seek out the land so that the Hebrews can destroy the city. This woman, Rahab, hides the men who want to destroy her whole town. Do you think she “sinned”? Did she do wrong? After all, she was helping God’s chosen people. But on the other hand, she did lie and deceive.
We have several examples in recent history where some folks with compassionate hearts hid Jews in order to save them. There is the stories of Arthur Schindler, Diedrich Boenhoffer, and of the family that hid Anne Frank. These good people hid Jews from the Nazi soldiers that were ordered to capture them and kill them. Between Schindler and Boenhoffer, thousands of lives were saved because they hid people, lied to authorities, and falsified documents.
I’m not going to say whether they were in sin or not. I’ll leave that up to you. And I’m NOT SAYING it’s OK to lie. However, I will say that God loves it when we have compassion on others, and God honors those who honor His chosen people. Let’s look at some Biblical examples:
Moses was hid by Miriam
And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.
And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.
Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.
And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. ~ Exodus 2:1-9
The Magi Trick and Joseph Hides Jesus
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
There are other examples, but you get the idea. God sometimes uses unusual plans to get His will accomplished. God used the Magi to trick Herod so he didn’t find Jesus to kill him. Then God instructed Joseph to sneak out of Israel at night to Egypt so that Herod didn’t kill Jesus when he killed all the other boys that age. Isn’t it amazing how these two stories are so similar? In one, Pharaoh is killing all the young Jewish boys, and God hides and saves Moses. In the other, King Herod is killing all the young Jewish boys and God hides and saves Jesus. God loves to use the Old Testament stories to point us to Jesus in the New Testament.
God has a Reputation!
7 And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.
8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;
9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
I think it is awesome how God will go before us to prepare the hearts of other people to do His will for our benefit. That’s exactly what He does here in Rahab. God does that same thing in other places throughout His Word. For example, look at how Jesus called His disciples:
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
~ John 1:29-42
God still does that today in our modern world. He is preparing the hearts of people RIGHT NOW. These are people that you will run into, and He wants you to share Jesus with them. If you don’t share Christ with them, who will?
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
~ Romans 10:14-15
God is faithful, and here we see Him faithful to protect and defend the Hebrews just as He said He would in Chapter 1. He prepared Rahab’s heart by allowing her to hear and be terrified of the Jews. “She said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.” She had heard and she had a healthy fear of the Lord! She was ready to believe. This becomes a moment for her where she believes in the Lord. Incidentally, Rahab, through her saving of these Jewish people, becomes one of the ancestors in the family line of Jesus.
12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:
13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.
14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.
15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.
16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.
17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.
18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.
19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.
20 And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.
21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
22 And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not.
23 So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them:
24 And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.
Again we see God is faithful to the Jews, just as He had promised He would be. First God had prepared Rahab to be fearful of the Living God, and now He blinds the eyes of those that seek to kill them. God is showing faithfulness, but He is also demonstrating compassion to those whom He loves. The two spies are following His example, and are showing compassion to Rahab, an “unwashed” sinner. Soon, they will also show faithfulness as they do not kill Rahab’s family, but spare them as they promised they would.
In a similar way, God shows us faithfulness and compassion by sending us a Savior, Jesus. He was promised to us in the Old Testament. God faithfully provided in his compassion and love for us.