|Volume 25 Number 3 March 2023
Gary C. Hampton
Joshua’s first action as leader was to direct overseers to urge the people to make provisions to enter Canaan in three days (Joshua 1:2, 10-11). He reaffirmed the promise of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh to help conquer the land west of Jordan before returning to the east bank (1:12-18).
Then, Joshua sent spies to secretly survey Jericho and the surrounding land. They went into the house of Rahab, a harlot living on the city wall. The king heard two Israelites had entered Rahab’s house and sent to have her turn them over. She lied, saying she did not know they were men of Israel and they had left as soon as darkness fell, about the time the gates would be shut. She urged the king’s men to pursue them, saying they should be able to overtake them. They went toward the fords of the river and the gates were shut (2:2-7).
She had come to believe in the true God due to the miracles He had worked to deliver Israel. She hid the spies in drying stalks of flax, making it March or April when the river was at flood stage. Rahab’s faith is seen in her words to the spies. She said, “I know that the Lord has given you the land…for the Lord your God, He is God of heaven above and on earth beneath” (2:9-11 NKJV). Her faith is also seen in her works of receiving the spies peacefully and sending them out another way (2:15-16; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).
Rahab, deeply committed to her family, made the spies promise their lives would be spared. She let the men down by a cord, telling them to go to the mountains nearby. The mountains rose 1,500 or more feet above the plain and were about a mile away. They are primarily limestone and are full of caves well suited to hiding. The spies said they would keep their promise to save Rahab’s family on three conditions. First, she had to tie the red cord to the window by which she let them down to designate the house in which she lived. Second, she and her family had to remain in the house during the attack. Third, she had to keep quiet about their mission in Jericho (2:17-20).
Rahab’s faith should strengthen and enrich the faith each of us have in God and spur every child of God to serve Him with all his heart.
Trouble at Sea
How many storms have you weathered? Anyone who has been on the water very much probably found himself in a storm. Few people enjoy boating across a tempestuous lake, let alone a sea. I imagine many more prayers enter God’s throne room during terrible storms than when fishing on beautiful days.
Jesus and His disciples found themselves in a storm one day (Mark 4:35-41). During this storm, Jesus slept on a pillow in the stern of the boat. The disciples were distraught at the sea. The winds blew and the waves beat into the boat, filling it with water. They woke Jesus asking, “…Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38 NKJV). Jesus stood in the midst of the boat. He spoke, “…Peace, be still! ...” (Mark 4:39). The winds and sea became calm. He asked, “…Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). The disciples were amazed at Jesus’ power. What can we learn from this event in the life of Jesus?
Jesus was in the storm with the disciples. He did not leave them alone for a minute. He was not swayed by the situation, but the disciples forgot Who was with them.
We need to focus on Jesus, not on the storms of life. Jesus has the ability to help us through every terrible situation in life. However, difficult situations of life can take our attention off of Jesus.
Faith is seen in how we handle difficult situations. It is easy to sing “What a friend we have in Jesus” when life is going our way. Keeping our faith during difficult times teaches us to “trust and obey.”
Storms of life are temporary. The difficulties of life can last a really long time, but they will not last forever. We need to trust in the One who can deliver us.
We do not need to allow the difficult times of life to define us. We are not quitters and doubters. We are the children of the Almighty God. Let us put our hope and trust in Him, always.