This week we have studied the lives of two remarkable women, Rahab & Deborah. As Joshua 1:1 states, Joshua was appointed leader of the Israelites after Moses died. At this time the Israelites were camped in the plains of Moab, close by the Jordan River, across from the great city of Jericho. The military commander Joshua had just given orders to his officers to break camp and prepare the people to cross the Jordan River. Within Three days, they were to cross the Jordan and begin their military conquest of the Promised Land, which leads us to our study today. Joshua sent two spies into Jericho to evaluate the situation. The spies entered the city of Jericho and made their way to the house of a prostitute named Rahab, where they stayed. We learned that Rahab, as a prostitute, lived on the edge of life. While she shared the general mood of fear with the rest of Jericho’s population, she alone turned to the Lord for her salvation. Her faith gave her the courage to hide the spies and lie to the king’s guard. She knew her position was dangerous – she was committing treason by hiding and helping the spies; she could have been killed if she was caught, but she feared God more than she did the king. Rahab made a courageous decision to turn away from the evil and corruption of the Canaanites, a courageous
decision to turn to God and become identified with the people of God. She put her faith into action. She helped the spies escape and even advised them where to find refuge in the mountains. Rahab called upon the two spies to save and rescue her and her family. This is a clear picture of the necessity for us to call upon the Lord for salvation. The Lord and the Lord alone can save us from eternal death. We must call upon Him to save us, believe Him and trust Him. Romans 10:12-13 (ASV) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. The conditions of salvation are clearly seen in the experience of Rahab. We must trust the blood of Christ to be saved. â€“ Rahab had to tie the scarlet cord in the window to identify her house as a house of safety. The scarlet cord reminds us of the blood of Christ, in particular the blood of Christ that is symbolized in the Passover Lamb. By seeing the scarlet cord, the soldiers would pass over her house. Rahab would be saved because of the scarlet cord just as the Israelites were saved because of the lambâ€™s blood smeared on their doorposts. There is also similarity in the fact that Rahab and her family had to remain in the house of safety just as the Israelites had to remain in their homes
as a house of safety. We are saved by the blood of Christ. He is our Passover Lamb who shed His blood that we might be saved from the wrath of the judgment to come. Now Jericho was surrounded by a great wall. We know from scripture that the wall was strong enough to have houses built on it as we read that Rahab’s house was in the wall in Joshua 2:15 (NIV) “…for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.” A wall around a city in those days was fortification. It was to protect the citizens within. Now get this picture, here we have a fortified city, and the Israelites marching around the walls for seven days…then the horns gave a blast – different from what they had been doing – and the people shouted and immediately the walls fell. All the walls fell except for Rahab’s house. This opened Jericho up to the invasion of the Israelite soldiers and Rahab and her family were saved. Rahab demonstrated a strong faith in the Lord, and her faith saved the lives of the spies, herself, and her family. This is a strong lesson for us: our faith must reach out to help others, to bear a strong testimony and witness so that others will be saved because of our faith. There are four main points for Rahab:
She believed in the testimony she had heard about God. She was willing to help others at great cost to herself She did not let fear affect her faith in God’s ability to deliver She was in the lineage of Jesus, she was the Mother of Boaz – thus an ancestor to David and Jesus
No matter what we have done in our past, remember that Rahab rose above her situation through her trust in God. We can do the same. As we stated in the beginning, Joshua 1:1 started out with the death of Moses and Joshua was named as Israel’s leader. Now, Judges 1:1 starts out with the death of Joshua. With Joshua’s death a certain style of leadership came to an end. There was no king to lead Israel – It became the time of the Judges to lead Israel. Deborah was chosen by God to be a Judge of Israel. God brought “Judges” to deliver Israel from oppression. The Israelites had chosen the ways of the world. At some point, this new generation had committed so much evil that the Lord aroused Jabin to launch an attack against the Israelites. For twenty long years the Israelites suffered the ruthless, harsh oppression under the rule of Jabin, King of Hazor. They were kept under
control by the commander, Sisera. This military tyrant commanded a large army that included 900 chariots. Remember that Joshua had earlier destroyed a powerful northern coalition that was led by Jabin king of Hazor. Apparently, “Jabin” is the title of a dynasty of kings who ruled Canaan at various times. Obviously, the city of Hazor had been rebuilt since its destruction by Joshua and the Canaanites had retaken and repopulated the territory surrounding the city. Because of their evil and worldly compromises, the Israelites had lost their claim upon the Promised Land. They were now subjected as slaves under the cruel, harsh, and ruthless oppression of their enemies, the Canaanites. What we sow, we reap. If we sow evil, we reap evil. God will chastise us. When we repent and call upon Him for forgiveness, he forgives. God raised up a courageous woman to issue His call. The courageous woman was Deborah. This action was God’s response to the cry of the Israelites. God was now ready to deliver His dear people from the painful sufferings under the Canaanite oppressors. Deborah served the people as a judge as well as a prophetess. Her testimony for the Lord and her influence upon the people were so great and pervasive that she was known as the “mother of Israel”. She reached out to help the Israelites, welcoming them into
her counsel and advice, encouraging them to return to the Lord. Her life shows us that God can accomplish great things through people who are willing to be led by Him. She had a remarkable relationship with God. She was not power hungry, she wanted to serve God. Whenever praise came her way, she gave God the credit. Deborahâ€™s life challenges us in several ways, as a woman, a wife, and a leader. She reminds us of the need to be available both to God and to others. She demonstrates what a person can accomplish when God is in control. Each of these women had choices to make. To know what choices to make, we need to have a remarkable relationship with our Lord and Savior. How do you have a remarkable relationship? When you have a close relationship with another person, you cultivate a friendship. You talk with that person, you find out about them, you care and confide in them. So, how do you cultivate a remarkable relationship with God? You talk to him, seek his guidance, read His word and get to know Him. The Path to greatness in Godâ€™s kingdom is the path of humble service.
I Timothy 2:3-4 (ASV) “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” The Greek word for knowledge here is “epiginosko” which means an experiential knowledge. God wants us to be saved, but he wants us to have an experiential knowledge of him not just head knowledge. Job 42:5 (ASV) “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; But now mine eye seeth thee:” In the Hebrew the word for hearing is “intellectual” and the word for seeth is “experiential” the words mine eye means the heart – emotions experiential Job was saying that he knew God intellectually but now he knows Him experientially. Experience the Lord ladies … get to know Him. Your life will be blessed by it. Deborah waited on God, communed with Him daily, and encouraged others to do the same. Rahab believed and trusted in God to save her and her family when the city was destroyed. One thing we learn from them is that every second in a day counts – the question is ladies, does it count for God?
John Piper has a book called “Don’t waste your life”. He shows how every moment of a day should count for God. What you do in His name will last, everything else will burn up. Erwin W. Lutzer stated: “Every day we live is either a loss or a gain so far as our future judgment is concerned. How we live today will help determine the words we hear from Christ tomorrow.” That is Huge! The choices you make in life are evidence of where your heart is. What do your life choices show?
God’s purpose in using Deborah as a judge was to lead His people into successful battle against the Canaanites and ignite spiritual revival in their hearts. Hearing God’s Word from and through Deborah awakened God’s people to their sagging spiritual condition and stirred up their hearts. As God’s witness, Deborah was used by the Lord to bring the Israelites back to Him. Rahab heard of God’s miraculous care for his people, was convinced of the supremacy of Jehovah, and so believed. Her actions from that day showed a changed life. She had a desire that her family would be saved and acted on it. Are you in God’s word? You too live in spiritually dark times. Faithfully and regularly open God’s Word so that
your own hearts are encouraged. And then turn around and spur on another’s faith.
James 2:17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” We cannot earn our salvation by serving and obeying God. But such actions show that our commitment to God is real. Deeds of loving service are not a substitute for, but rather a verification of our faith in Christ. In closing I want to encourage each one of you that we all have an opportunity to be remarkable women. We may not all have a background like Rahab or be extraordinary leaders like Deborah, but God will use us in our daily lives if we are willing to be available to Him. To re-quote Erwin Lutzer “Every day we live is either a loss or a gain” We have choices and we all have room for improvement …it is never too late to start a remarkable life.