Message of the Day: Faith And Good Works Are Inseparable
Text: Joshua 6:1-27
Key Verse: Joshua 6:25
“And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” (NKJV)
The book of Joshua tells the story of the Israelite’s conquest of the promised Land under Joshua’s leadership. Taking possession of their own land is a huge step forward in the story of the nation of slaves who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses. As Moses’ successor, Joshua prepares for the conquest by sending spies to survey the land. They were given refuge in the house of a prostitute named Rahab, who hides them from the king of Jericho. She tells them how the Lord’s reputation has spread even in Canaan, creating fear among the inhabitants of the land. Rahab secures a promise from the spies that she and her family will be treated kindly when the Israelites come in force to conquer the land.
The conquest is the Lord’s work as shown in Joshua 5:13-15,
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. (NKJV)
Evidently, it is not Joshua but the Lord himself who is the general in charge of this campaign: the Lord is the one who will grant success to the Israelites. The details of the conquest of Jericho repeatedly reinforce this concept. Under the Lord’s instruction, the Israelites march around the city for seven days, with the ark of the covenant leading the way. On the seventh day the walls of Jericho collapsed when the trumpet is sounded and the people shouted. The Israelites attack the city and destroyed every living thing in it, in obedience to the Lord’s command in Joshua 6:21. They spared only Rahab and her family. They were preserved according to the promise of the spies (Joshua 2:14-21), and were assimilated into the Jewish people.
If we backtrack a little bit in Joshua 2:9-11, Rahab told the spies, “I know that the Lord has given you the land…for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” (NKJV) She recognized the sovereign power in the God of Israel and believed in Him.
In the New Testament, Rahab’s faith is noted twice. the first one is in Hebrews 11:31, “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.” (NKJV) It was her faith who saved her and her entire family when the rest of the inhabitants of Jericho were killed. The second one is in James 2:25, “Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?” James commends Rahab for her faith which she expressed by helping the spies. In light of James’ main argument, that faith and work are inseparable, he highlights Rahab’s action (as with that of Abraham, 2:21) as an important factor in her justification. Her act of saving the spies saved her as well.
A Christian’s faith is not merely a mental belief, but something that is exercised or practised. If he claims to have faith, he should demonstrate it by his good works.
Bartholomew, Craig G. and Goheen, Michael W. The Drama of Scripture. Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004.
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. New Testament. Quezon City, Philippines: CGM, 2010.
MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.
Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.
Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.
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