AS it is not possible to divide this narrative at an appropriate place, we must take, on this occasion, a little extra time for our reading.
There is no pretence for believing that Rahab was, originally, better than her name implies. She had been a sinful woman, but God’s grace had appeared to her and enabled her to believe in Jehovah, the only living and true God. Perhaps, on this account, she began to practise hospitality, and therefore, when the two men came to the city gates she was waiting to give them shelter. At any rate, providence cooperated with grace, and brought the believing woman into communication with those who could secure her safety. It was a work of faith on her part to receive the spies.
Israel’s enemies do not sleep, but keep good watch, and we also may rest assured that Satan and his legions will soon find us out if we go to war with his kingdom.
This must have been a trying moment for Rahab, and she had at once to decide whether she would give up her country or her God: whatever error she committed in her mode of action, her decision for the living God had no flaw in it.
This was a gross falsehood, and is not to be regarded in any other light. Her faith was weak, and therefore she adopted a wrong plan for accomplishing a right thing. We may not lie under any circumstances; but Rahab was very imperfectly aware of this. Orientals do not condemn, but rather admire clever deceit, and therefore her conscience did not condemn her upon this point. This fact shows that although faith may be marred by failings, it will save the soul if it be sincere.
Does not this look as if she had already, through her faith, become a virtuous and industrious woman, diligent in business proper to her sex? Vice is very seldom industrious.
Rahab had effectually misdirected the pursuers, and lulled to sleep all suspicion against herself. Her success does not, however, justify her deceit. Whether it succeed or fail, falsehood is always wrong.
She avowed her faith and gave her reasons for it, reasons which show that she had diligently gathered all information, had been a shrewd observer, and was fully convinced that Jehovah alone was the true God, ruling both in heaven and earth. She had heard no sermons, and seen neither Moses nor the prophets, and yet she believed. She will surely rise up in judgment against those, who, living in the midst of the means of grace, remain unbelievers still.
She sued for her own life, but like a true child of God she did not forget her kindred. One of the certain results of grace in the heart is a holy care for others. Grace and selfishness are as opposite as light and darkness. O may none of us forget to pray for our fathers, and mothers, and brethren, and sisters. May we live to see the whole family saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.
Thus she obtained a promise of safety at once, and it was couched in very cheering words. “We will deal kindly and truly with thee.” This is the manner in which the Lord Jesus deals with all who put their trust in him.
When the men were leaving her they gave her a token, and made with her an agreement which is full of instruction. The scarlet line was to her house what the blood upon the lintel was to Israel in Egypt: the blood-red standard is the national flag of believers. Those who would share with God’s people must enlist under their banner, and therefore Rahab was instructed to hoist the sacred ensign. Safely was promised to all beneath the scarlet line, but to none else, however near and dear to her they might be. The like benefits belong to Christian households. Those of us who believe in Jesus, and rest in his precious blood, will be saved, but none besides. O let us see to it that we do not rest content until we lodge where the blood-red standard is displayed, for that house alone will stand when all others fall with a crash. In Jesus we must dwell, if we would escape the general doom. The sole token by which our faith realises her security is the blood of the covenant.
She complied with the stipulation. We must neglect no gospel command, however trifling it may seem to those who understand it not. By a public profession of faith we must bind the scarlet cord in the window. Neither Baptism, nor the Lord’s Supper, nor any other Gospel statute must be neglected, and we must note well that the gospel runs thus—He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.
In Rahab’s case faith was most prominent, as Paul reminds us in—Hebrews 11:31.
James 2:25, 26
But at the same time good works were not wanting, for we are reminded of the practical nature of her faith in—James 2:25, 26.