A Cord of Scarlet

 
I’m a studier- a researcher. Don’t ask any of my highschool friends or my parents, they’ll laugh in your face, but the older I become, the more I love to study. I want to know how things work and how they relate to God. Which brings me to what I love to study most. The Word of God. I love the Bible. I love to read  a story and daydream of what it might have been like between the lines. Strangely, I do not write historical fiction. (Shrug.)
There’s great treasure in the Word of God. In every word, every line. Treasure must be dug  for. Time has to be set aside. A desire to know and learn has to be present and bubbling in the heart. Once you stumble upon a nugget, a sense of thirst takes over and it’s impossible to stop. 
 
Something I teach to our young adults, is it’s never too late to begin, but it takes discipline to drag your lazy butt out of bed and get to it. I think you can read and study anytime, but early morning is the best time, before your day distracts you. And it will. Because life is distracting.
 
I’m studying the book of Joshua. I’m always amazed at the Providence of God. There’s so much beauty to pull out of the book, but today I want to share a little nugget about Rahab. Pronounced, “Ruh Kav.”  Rahab was a prostitute, but not a temple prostitute. Probably a woman who was forced into it by the death of a husband, as he’s not mentioned. She lived in a tiny apartment within the walls of Jericho.
 
It was within these stone walls, that may have felt like a prison, that two spies came to her to lodge. Interesting isn’t it? You know, the spies came from the Acacia Grove. The Acacia Grove is the first place that the Hebrews were introduced to harlots. Balaam put the bug in the Moab king’s ear that these prostitutes would turn the hearts of the men who served God away. And boy did it! I’m speculating now, but I wonder if those spies planned to survey the land, but also planned to do a little extra stuff on the side. What if God was taking care of the Hebrews, but using the lewd ideas of two spies to work everything out for the good of one woman who believed! I don’t know. It’s just a thought. I can’t prove it. But I wonder.
 
Here’s where it really gets good! You know the story…maybe. Rahab tells the spies that (I’m paraphrasing) the whole city is faint of heart and terrified of them because of their God. She even uses God’s personal name, “Yahweh.” Now, it shouldn’t be a surprise to the spies that everyone was afraid. In Dt. 2:25 God tells them all the people will be terrified and faint of heart.
 
Rahab asks to be spared. Kindness for kindness. The Hebrew word for “kindness in this verse is “checed.”  Pronounced,  HECK SUD.  It means “faithfulness; goodness; mercy.”  
 
In essence she is saying, “Since I have been good, faithful, and merciful to you by not turning you into my countrymen, I ask that you in turn show me goodness, faithfulness, and mercy.” 
 
Her last statement in this verse is, “and give me a true token.”
 
The word “true” in Hebrew is “Emeth.”  It means, “reliable; sureness; stability; continuance.”
 
The word “token” in Hebrew is “owth” and sounds like our word “oath.” It means, “a distinguishing mark; a miraculous sign; banner; remembrance;”
 
Rahab’s words are interesting, “Give to me a mark, a miraculous sign, a banner or remembrance that is reliable. Sure. Stable. Continuing.  To show you will save me and my family.”
 
In Joshua 2:14 the men reply, “…our lives for yours…”
They agree and then proceed to give her instructions. You can find these in Joshua 2:17-20. Don’t take my word for it, look it up!  

    She had to drop a scarlet cord or line from the window. A cord they gave to her, not one of her own. The word “cord” used when Rahab let the men down means rope in Hebrew. The word is “chebel”. The word “cord” or “line” used when the men gave Rahab the token is “chuwt” meaning thread.

 
 
But let’s take a closer look…KJV says, “Behold, [when] we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.”
 
The highlighted word, “Line” in Hebrew is “tiqvah” and it means, “hope; things hoped for; expectation;outcome.”
 
“Bind this hope, (line) –this reliable, sure, continuing (true) distinguishing mark, this marvelous (token) work outside this wall, and bring in your family so that you will be saved.”
Hang with me, catch this! Eph. 2:12-13 says,
that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” NKJV

 

 
Rahab was a stranger…an alien from Israel and the covenants of promise. She had no hope and was without God.
 
But she believed. She was allowed to hang the crimson cord of hope given to her. She couldn’t produce it on her own. It showed the world where her faith lied. Salvation was given to her and all the family she brought inside.
 
That true token, that reliable and sure distinguishing mark, that miraculous sign was a symbol of an even greater hope that was to come! The true token of the new covenant. The blood of Jesus, the scarlet cord of his life poured out for our lives! Crimson Hope that saves us from death!
 
No longer would she be forced to work as a common prostitute, bound by humiliation and degradation. A Scarlet Cord of Hope freed her from invisible cords of a hopeless and destitute life.
 
Rahab was about to get a chance to start over! Joshua 6:20-22  
Joshua, tells the men to go into the harlot’s house, and bring out THE WOMAN. Her house may have been that of a harlot’s, but no longer would Rahab be a harlot. Go in (harlot) and bring out (woman).
 
A new creature. In Christ. Forever. Matthew 1 shares the geneology of Jesus, “…Salmon begot Boaz, by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David…And Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.”
Not Rahab, the harlot. Just Rahab.
There’s nothing we can ever do that puts us out of the reach of Jesus or separates us from His love. That scarlet cord saved Rahab, a symbol of her many ‘greats’ grandson that would come to save us all!

No matter what circumstances you’re in. God is working behind the scenes on your behalf to bring you  hope and to change your life, to give you a purpose greater than yourself!

If you were Rahab, during those few days left before the Hebrews came to march around the walls of Jericho, what do you think you would have been doing or thinking? How much persuading do you think it took for her to convince her family that they would be spared?

And…what have you been studying? Share a nugget!
 
 

5 thoughts on “A Cord of Scarlet

  1. Wow! Do you write devotionals? You should. Thank you for sharing this. I have never quite looked at that story in that way. I'm working my way through Isiah right now and having a hard time of it:)

     
     
  2. Thank you, Terri. I've written several studies in the OT for our Young Adults, but I've never thought about publishing them. I've discovered if I read history along with the OT, I understand it better. I know what kingdoms were in power and who was trying to take down who. I would be happy to email you some links to go along with your reading if you like. 🙂

     
     
  3. AT Lincoln Christian University, where I went, there is a class called Interdisciplinary Studies. It is 5 semesters long You would love it.

    It is a History, Philosophy, Art, Composition, and several other classes all rolled into one. Instead of having several different classes to get those credits, they are one class and it shows how they all work together. The class starts historically with the Sumerians and Phoenicians and as it moves forward through history we study the architecture, music, art, literature, history and philosophy of that time. And, of course, the corresponding parts of the Bible for that period. It brings all these different aspects of education together and much, MUCH deeper understanding of what is going on in Scripture at that time. Fascinating class.

     
     
  4. I recently read the story of Rahab, and this gave me a lot of good things to think about. Thanks, Jessica!

     
     
  5. This is such a great thought-provoking post! The story of Rahab is one of my favorite Bible stories. Thank you for this in-depth lesson.

     
     

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