“Behold, when we come into the land, you shall bind this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down….”
Joshua 2: 18
“The Scarlet Cord”
“The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience.”
What does the word “obedience” mean to me in my daily life?
“Obedience to God is the most infallible evidence of sincere and supreme love to Him.”
“I find the doing of the will of God, leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.”
The king’s representatives heard that two strangers had entered Rahab’s house. Worried the Israelites might again check out the country of Canaan, these officials were dispatched to Rahab’s residence to find if anyone out of the ordinary had taken refuge in her abode.
The quick thinking Rahab, the Bible tells us, hid the spies on her roof under stalks of flax and dispatched the king’s helpers with a story that the spies had already headed out of town.
After things settled down, Rahab returned to her visitors with a plan for letting them down over the wall of the city by a “scarlet cord.” After requesting she and her family be spared, the spies told her to leave the “scarlet cord” in her window as a sign to all of Israel.
I want to take a few moments today to review three lessons I’ve learned from the story of the “scarlet cord.”
Lesson #1: The scarlet cord was a sign of obedience. In writing about Rahab, Charles Spurgeon calls her “an obedient believer.” As he notes, “Rahab was told to tie the scarlet thread in the window, and she did it; there was exact obedience. It was not merely a thread, a line, but the scarlet line. She did not substitute a blue, or a green or a white line.”
This may have seemed like a small matter, but it wasn’t to Rahab. It was a big thing and you know something, true love pays attention to the little things. I love it when my husband, Jim, gets me something small but something that is so special just to me. It’s the small attention to the daily little details of life that let those we love know they matter, and the same thing can be said about our relationship with our Heavenly Father. The attention to the small requests of our “Dad” are the loving and fragrant reminders to Him of our love.
Lesson #2: The scarlet cord saved everyone. I’ve heard and read the story of Rahab many times, but this time, I found a detail I’d missed in times past. The scarlet cord saved the spies, too. It was the same cord they used to escape from Jericho. And it was the same cord that provided the escape for Rahab and her entire family from Jericho.
The “scarlet cord” in Rahab’s window didn’t provide selective safety. As we found out yesterday, ALL, who came under the protection found in the house of Rahab were saved. And thank God, the “scarlet cord” of His merciful grace isn’t selective either. It embraces ALL who believe. As Cyprian so perfectly observed, “No one is safe by (their) own strength, but (they) are safe by the grace and mercy of God.”
Lesson #3: The scarlet line was an outward sign of inward faith. Just think what people may have thought in Jericho, after seeing the scarlet line in the window at Rahab’s house. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that Rahab told others it was her declaration that she believed in the God of heaven – the God of Israel. She had no fear professing to others on the outside what she had believed on the inside for a long time.
For Rahab, as well as for you and me, God’s “scarlet line” is a sign of obedience, even in the little details of life. God’s “scarlet line” isn’t just meant for a select few but is available to ALL. And God’s “scarlet line” is our outward declaration of our inner faith.
Susan Sayers penned these beautiful words: “If we start to object to the path we are given and decide to select other ways of our own, then let the full acceptance, the firm obedience of the God who walked this earth nourish our roots until we fruit in the joy of the Lord.”
May this be our prayer today.
“It is the easy way
to dwell on what we’d like
to do but cannot,
to mourn what might have been
but is not,
to weep for what was nearly done
but not quite.
That way is wide
but is not Your way;
Your own (will)
what You love,
those You create.
be Lord of my life, Sovereign God!”