Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Scarlet Cord

Joshua 2:21 ends with, "and she tied the scarlet cord in the window."

I was reading the account of Rahab and the spies this morning. Two things engaged my mind as I was journeying through Joshua 2. First, how the people of Canaan were afraid of the Israelites. This is like USA being afraid of Greenland. The Canaanites were numerous, mighty, large, and fortified in their walled cities, such as Jericho. And yet... their hearts were "melting with fear." Look at Joshua 2:9, "a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you." The same in Joshua 2:11, "our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you."

This was God's power at work. This was a miracle in progress. Back in Deuteronomy 2:25 the following prophecy is made, "This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you". God made these mighty Canaanites shake in their boots by shaking up their minds - filling their minds with fears, via rumours.

Rahab acknowledges this fright, but comes beyond the fear to grasp who this God is. Joshua 2:11, "for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below." Her countrymen, though they were afraid, did not turn their hearts to Jehovah. But Rahab does.

And then comes the unfolding of an echo of the Passover story, in the middle of heathen Jericho. In verses 17 thru 20, Rahab is told to tie a SCARLET cord (scarlet, like blood) in her window. She is told to gather her mother and father, her brothers and all her family into her house just as the Israelites were to gather in their houses the night the angel of the Lord passed through Egypt and killed the firstborns before the exodus.

Finally, it comes to the moment of faith. Jericho is being circled by the parade of Israelites and all of Jericho (including the king who has already once sent a message to Rahab) is "melting with fear". In the middle of this heightened security alert, Rahab has put out the scarlet cord. This would have taken faith. Would the guards not be asking her about the cord.. a possible weak link in their fortress of security. I considered the risks today as I read. Any number of spies, militia, or armed men could access the city via this dangling cord. She was putting herself out there keeping this cord in the window. They could have come to her and questioned her, or worse yet, put her into captivity or under trial for possible treason. People were often killed for less questionable behavior. And yet, here is Rahab. Faithful to the command. Obedient, despite the risks.

Here's my second point. Clearly, she was clinging in faith to the promise of salvation given to her. And what a picture this is as Easter is approaching. My faith is also based on a promise of salvation. This salvation comes via the scarlet cord of Christ's blood. And I am so grateful for that scarlet cord.

p.s. I found the "melting fear" idea to be missing from the Veggie Tales recounting of Josh and the Big Wall. This gave me yet another opportunity to discuss the true biblical account with my children, in contrast to "creative license".

4 comments:

Dan S. said...

Great insights!

I came across the other end of the spectrum in Isaiah 7 yesterday. Here Judah (southern kingdom - good guys) is scared of the Israelite (northern kingdom - bad guys) army. It says "the people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind." Again the LORD enters the picture and says through Isaiah (and his son):
1. Take care
2. Be calm
3. Have no fear
4. Don't be faint-hearted

In both stories, we see how God's divine intervention is the difference-maker.

Homemanager said...

Marlene,
I'm so thankful for that "scarlet cord" as well! Glory to God!
I wanted to share with you something that blessed me!
I have been reciting Psalm 23 for quite some time now. The Lord has been taking different verses and opening them up more and giving me an understanding that I didn't have before. (The wonderful fruit of meditation!)
The section that says.."You prepare a table before me in the Presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows..."
I always wondered what that "table" was and the Lord showed me that it was the "Lord's table" (you probably already saw this). I had never connected the two. My thinking had always been "OT and NT are different" but as I'm growing in understanding, I'm seeing the gospel throughout and that from cover to cover there is a whole revelation of Jesus.
After seeing the "Lord's Table", the fruit of that would be the "oil of gladness" and then the proclaimation of "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."
The word just becomes sweeter and sweeter..."sweeter also than honey and the honey comb"
God's Richest Blessings to You!

Marlene S. said...

Homemanager, I had never really contemplated that verse in Psalm 23. What a neat perspective!

Dan S. and I were just discussing at dinner today how the OT points to Christ all over the place... and how the more we read it, the more we are relishing that.

God is a great God. And He has given us amazing words in the Bible. I keep praying for a greater understanding and desire for His truth.

Homemanager said...

Marlene,
That revelation in Psalm 23 has impacted my heart and brought a peace and a confidence in the Lord that I didn't have before.
Oh, what a loving Father we have! Thank you, Papa!