The Scarlet Line
Joshua 2:1-24
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…

In Scripture we find the blessing of God and the curse of God concentrated not only in individual souls, but also in cities. Thus Jerusalem is constantly set forth in Scripture as the city of blessing (Psalm 48:1-3; Psalm 50:2). On the other hand, Jericho is the city of the curse (Joshua 6:17). These two cities, then, are evidently representative cities. Jerusalem, the city of blessing, represents the Church of God, destined to eternal life. Jericho, the city of the curse, represents the world, alienated from God, and destined to destruction. And then what will Rahab represent but those who are gathered out of the one into the other, not on account of anything good in themselves, any natural excellencies or attainments, but by the grace of God, and according to His good pleasure. And specially does she, herself a Gentile, seem to represent those of the Gentiles who are brought to God. Rahab's faith showed itself in this, that she recognised God. She looked above second causes. It was not Israel's power and prowess, but God's hand, which she saw (vers. 9-11). All this throws much light on the nature of true faith. It shows us, first, that living faith carries us straight to God. Our hearts are very prone to get entangled in second causes — to look at the hand of man, and forget the hand of God. The language of faith is, "It is the Lord." It elevates the heart above second causes, and enables it to rest, not, it may be, without many struggles, on the will an arm of God. Again, we see in this history that faith is the principle of a new life. Rahab's life had been an unhallowed one, and she had sunk lower than many others in Jericho. But now through Divine grace she rises higher than all (Hebrews 11:51). And faith is always the same; the same in its object, which is God; the same in its principle, which is His grace; the same in its result, which is holiness of life. Rahab believed in the approaching doom of Jericho; she felt that its days were numbered. The true Christian now believes that a more awful and universal judgment is coming upon the world, and he flees from the wrath to come — flees to the only Refuge from the storm. But Rahab went further. She wished to have some assurance that her life, and the life of her family, would be spared. It is not wonderful that she should have desired this token; and we may well imagine what comfort she must have felt when the scarlet line was floating in the air at her window. Very solemn thoughts must often have weighed upon her heart — thoughts of the awful destruction which awaited her fellow-townsmen; but she felt no anxiety about herself and family. The scarlet line silenced every fear. And if it was natural in Rahab to desire a token of her safety, is it not even more natural in the true Christian to desire it? And one there is which is granted sooner or later to those who walk with God. It is not always given at once; often it grows up by degrees. But yet, sooner or later, it is given. The blood of Jesus secures pardon, and also produces assurance. But notice that there is a wide difference between the two. Forgiveness is one thing; the knowledge of forgiveness is another. Forgiveness of sin we must have, to be Christians. Assurance is a privilege which Christians should seek, and seek until they find, and then watch, that they may retain it. If, then, you would have the scarlet line floating at the window of your hearts, you must trust simply in Christ. This of itself is enough to bring, and does often bring, assurance; but if not, endeavour to walk with God. Be diligent in doing His will and work, and perhaps God will meet you then, and will crown some act of faith and self-denial and devoted service with a true token, a scarlet line of His assurance-love. Having proceeded thus far with the history of Rahab, we must say a few words about its conclusion. What a difference that little piece of scarlet line made! It was not a mere token arranged between man and man; it was sanctioned in heaven. God's eye as well as man's was fixed upon the scarlet line, and Rahab was protected. And if that scarlet line made so great a difference in her case, and secured her protection, oh, how much more shall the blood of Christ secure that of the true Christian I Is it sprinkled upon your heart? Does God's eye see it there? Then all your sins, however many, are forgiven; all your enemies, however strong, will be overcome. But there is still one other point to be noticed in Rahab's history. You will find it stated in Joshua 6:55, where it says, "She dwelleth in Israel unto this day." So that from that time forth, though she had been a sinner of the Gentiles, she was put among God's children, reckoned as one of His own Israel; and even, we learn from Matthew 1:5, so honoured of God as to be one of the line from whom Jesus was descended. And do we not learn from this how completely the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin? how real a thing is the forgiveness of sins? how great and entire is the change which the grace of God makes in the heart?

(G. Wagner.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, including Jericho." They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there.

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