Joshua’s leadership trainer, Moses, is gone. Joshua now heads the massive nation that has spent the last 40 years in the wilderness. God speaks assuring words to Joshua—God will be with him just as he was with Moses.
Joshua secretly sends two spies to the city of Jericho. Rahab, a prostitute, protects them from the city’s king, and the spies vow to protect her family when the Israelites attack the city. Rahab and her family will be kept safe, provided they’re inside her home that is marked with a scarlet rope.
On the other side of the Jordan River, Joshua prepares the people—God is about to act. At the Lord’s direction, Joshua sends the priests and the ark of the covenant out ahead of the people. The moment the priests’ feet touch the water, the river parts. The priests stand on the dry riverbed holding the ark as the nation crosses.
Once the people are on the other side, Joshua instructs 12 men, one from each tribe, to pick up a stone from the middle of the riverbed and bring it into the promised land. The rocks stand as a memorial to God, the Water-Parter.
Just prior to the battle of Jericho, Joshua encounters a man with a drawn sword. The commander of the Lord’s army has arrived.
The King’s Heart
Rahab the prostitute was a citizen of an idol-worshiping city that God was going to destroy. God’s people had been commanded to kill all of Jericho’s citizens. Rahab wasn’t righteous, and she had a destiny with death.
But God saw her. Even though she was outside of God’s family, he recognized the mustard seed of faith sprouting in her heart, and it was precious to him. He orchestrated events so that the spies went to her home, where she protected them. She professed, “I know that the Lordhas given you this land” (Joshua 2:9). A generation of Israelites had died because they hadn’t had that much faith.
God honored Rahab’s trust in him and rescued her from the coming destruction—she and her family were safe inside the scarlet-labeled home. Not only that, God drew Rahab into the lineage of his very own Son (see Matthew 1:5).
The King is mightily moved by people who trust in him.
Interestingly, when asked which side he was on, the commander of God’s army answered, “Neither” (Joshua 5:14). Angelic armies were up to something, but not for either human side. There’s a bigger story line playing out around us—a story line we don’t have eyes to see.