Faith’s Scarlet Thread (Part 2)
By Sophia Prinsloo
with Barbara Wilmerton Haas
Text Version | Afrikaans
A Bible Story About Joshua
(Continued from Part 1)
Len noticed that the new girl in their class was absent from school for a couple days and he wondered what could have happened to her. When the bell rang at closing time, he went up to Mrs. Harding and asked, "Ma’am, why is Angie absent from school? She hasn’t been here for a couple days."
Concerned, Mrs. Harding replied, "Len, I’m sorry to tell you, but Angie is very sick. She’s at the hospital in ICU and needs open heart surgery."
Len was so shocked that he didn’t hear the rest of what Mrs. Harding was saying. On the way home, he thought of what he could do. Obviously, he couldn’t visit her because she was in ICU and only her parents were allowed to see her, so he decided he would write her a letter.
From the moment you stepped into our classroom a few weeks ago, I knew I liked you because of your beautiful smile. I haven’t had a chance to talk to you or get to know you, but please know that you’re in my prayers. I believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that He can save and heal you. If you believe in Jesus too, have the nurse to put the enclosed red ribbon in your hair as a sign of your faith. Then when I look through the window of the hospital room I’ll know you believe.
After Angie’s surgery, Len went to the hospital with his mom. He wasn’t allowed in Angie’s hospital room, but he could peep through the window. What do you think he saw? The scarlet ribbon was braided neatly into Angie’s hair. Len’s heart leaped with joy.
A few weeks later, Angie was discharged from the hospital. She and Len became great friends, because Jesus Christ was the Lord and Savior of them both.
Rahab, the harlot and innkeeper, was taking a break from sweeping floors, making beds and washing dishes. Her inn was situated up high, between the double walls of Jericho. She always hosted many guests and she wanted her inn to be the cleanest of all to attract more visitors. While she was sipping some water from a silver cup someone had paid her with some time ago, she looked out the window in the direction of the Jordan River. Somewhere out there, the Israelites were camping. She shuddered to think what would happen if they came to take Jericho because she had heard about Kings Og and Sihon. These two kings and their cities, who wanted to attack the children of Israel, were totally destroyed by the Israelite God and army. Rahab was so scared it would happen to her city too but, in faith, she whispered a prayer: "May the Lord God of Israel have mercy upon me and my family if Israel attacks Jericho!"
Back at Shittim where the Israelites had pitched their tents under a grove of Acacia trees just east of the Jordan River, there was quite a stir of excitement in the camp. They were preparing to cross the river in three days’ time. The Israelites were encouraged by the Lord’s command to be brave and get ready to enter the Promised Land, so Joshua sent two of his most trusted men on a secret mission, Mission J1 — "J" for Jericho and "1" because it was the first city they would take. The object of Mission J1 was to check out the weakness and strength of Jericho and get to know the best way to attack and conquer the city. "If you hurry, there’ll be ample time to spare in order for you to get into the city before the gates of Jericho close for the night." Joshua urged them on as they hurriedly set off towards Jericho.
The two normal-looking spies reached Jericho with the full moon shining down softly upon them. At the city gates, they mingled with a bunch of men carrying bundles of flax plants into the city. They looked like ordinary workers; the guards never realized they were actually two Israelite spies entering the city.
The first goal of the spies was to find a place to sleep for the night. Scouting the streets, trying their best not to let their accent give them away, they asked a man with a crooked nose for directions to a place where they could spend the night. He pointed his finger to a sign illuminated by the light of a lantern, up high against the city wall saying, "Rahab’s Inn." Then the man with the crooked nose rushed off and vanished into a dark corner of an alley. The spies didn’t think anything strange about the behavior of the man with the crooked nose.
"That’s a perfect place for us to stay for the night," the lanky spy said, as he looked up to the inn inside the city wall.
"Maybe we can gather some intelligence there as well," the sturdy spy said purposefully, as they climbed the steps towards the entrance of the inn and knocked on the door.
When the door opened, they were met by the most beautiful woman they had ever seen. Her hair was as black as the wavy fleeces of Arabian goats trailing down the mountain, her eyes as those of a dove, and her teeth as white as newly shorn sheep, but most attractive of all were her lips, adorning her lovely mouth like a thread of scarlet. The spies clung to the railing of the stairs a bit tighter, as they were overcome with a sudden feeling of weakness in their knees. She invited them inside with a friendly voice and, as they entered the simple dwelling, the aroma of costly spikenard filled them with a sense of luxury. After showing them their quarters, as she was about to offer them some freshly baked bread and tea, a staccato of loud knocks came from the door —
"KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!"
A stern voice thundered behind the door. It was the Captain of the King’s soldiers. He yelled, "RAHAB! OPEN UP! Hand over those two men who came to you. They’re Israelite spies who came to discover the best way to attack us!"
Rahab was not only beautiful, but also clever so acted quickly. In a flash, she took the two Israelite men upstairs to the roof and hid them under piles of flax spread open to dry there. Then she rushed down just in time to hear the second set of knocks and replied, "I’m coming!" She quickly caught her breath, checked if her hair was still in place and opened the door, exclaiming with an astonished look on her face, "Yes, you’re right! There were two men here. Are they really spies sent from the children of Israel? I didn’t know!"
The look on her face instantly changed from astonished to serious. "They left just moments ago so they could catch the gates open before closing time. I don’t know where they were planning to go, but if you hurry, you could catch up with them! Please hurry!"
Having no reason to mistrust her, the soldiers hurried downstairs and, as they went through the city gates, the Captain commanded the guards, "Close the gates behind us and keep them shut!" Then they pursued the spies all the way to the Jordan River and even to all its fords, frantically searching for the two spies.
Back on the rooftop, the lanky spy whispered, "The man with the crooked nose must have rushed off, blabbing to the King about us."
"Definitely, but SHH! Keep quiet now!" the sturdy spy answered, as some flax fibers on top of him tickled his nose and almost caused him to sneeze.
As soon as she saw the King’s soldiers exiting the city from her window up high on the wall, Rahab went upstairs to the spies before they could go to sleep and told them, "I know perfectly well that the Lord is going to give this land to you. We and all the inhabitants of this land are terribly afraid of you and almost faint whenever the name of Israel is mentioned."
She continued, "We have heard about the Red Sea parting for you and heard how you utterly destroyed Kings Og and Sihon and all their people. Your God is the God of heaven and earth. He is no ordinary God and He’s doing wonders for you. We know we can’t fight Him and that leaves our hearts trembling."
Then she begged, "Now that I have saved your lives, please return the favor and save me and my whole family — my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families — when you come to attack and destroy our city. Swear to me in the Name of your God that you will save us all from death!"
The men agreed and said, "If you will not betray us, we will defend you with our lives, and then when the Lord gives us this land, you’ll be spared."
Trusting them to keep their promise, Rahab fetched a long, strong scarlet thread from her storeroom and tied it to the window frame. Then, under cover of darkness, she threw it down the outside wall and said to the spies, "Climb down the wall with this scarlet thread and head for the mountains. Stay there three days, until the men who’re searching for you have returned. Then go on back to your camp."
Just before they descended the city wall, the two spies told Rahab, "Listen well! When we enter the land, keep this scarlet thread hanging from your window. Let your whole family gather in this room. If you don’t do this, we’ll be free from the oath you made us swear and we’ll not be held responsible for what happens to you or your family. We’ll also be free from this oath if you betray us in any way!"
"Let it be as you have said," Rahab agreed and let the spies escape down the wall. The lanky spy rappelled down the wall with long, swinging strides and the sturdy spy with short, quick ones, both reaching the ground safely. With a quick wave to Rahab, the two men headed for nearby mountains where they stayed three days, until the soldiers returned to Jericho, failing to find the Israelite spies.
After three days, the two Mission J1 spies returned to their camp and immediately reported to Joshua, who was expecting their safe return. They told him all about Rahab, their promise, and the scarlet thread, saying, "Sir, Mission J1 was, in a sense, a failure but actually a huge success! We failed to gather enough information on successful ways to attack Jericho, so we have only the Lord to TRUST for a plan, as well as victory.
"On the other hand, Mission J1 was a big success because of what we heard: The people of Jericho and the inhabitants of the whole land are trembling with fear because they’re so scared of God’s awesome power. He is surely going to give us the city and the land. That we MUST believe!"
(Continued in Part 3)
It doesn’t matter where you come from, what sins you have committed or what problems you have. Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus’ saving power and He will help you.
1. How many spies did Joshua send to Jericho?
2. Who saved their lives and how did she do it?
3. Do you think Rahab had faith that the God of Israel would save her life too?
4. Was the scarlet thread a sign of her faith?
5. In the New Testament, Who was sent to save the whole world with his shed blood?
6. Do you have faith in Jesus’ saving power?
7. What do you think of when you hear the words "Mission J1"? Could it remind us to make our mission in life to "Put Jesus 1st" in everything we do?
A VERSE TO LEARN
"And He said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace" (Luke 7:50).
AN ALTERNATIVE VERSE TO LEARN
"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:9).
"By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace" (Hebrews 11:31).
Who do you think was more afraid? Was Rahab more afraid of the Israelites, or were the spies more afraid of Jericho’s army? Do you think the spies trusted God to save them? Do you think Rahab trusted God to save her?
Have you ever been afraid of something? Are you fearful now or worrying about something that could happen in future? Let’s think about things that scare us. What scares you?
[After discussion:] God says in Psalm 50:51 to call upon Him in the day of trouble and He will deliver us. Just as the scarlet thread saved the spies when they climbed down it, believing it would hold them, Jesus’ blood, that was shed for us on the cross, saves us when we take hold of it in faith.
Let’s take a moment and ask God to help us have faith in Him to save us from all our fears.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending your Son,
Jesus Christ, Who shed his blood for me! Help me to
always have faith in your saving power. I thank You
and love You. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
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