"And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, 'Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.'"
Joshua 2: 3
King James Version
"Whose Side Are You On?"
"Every day the choice between good and evil is presented to us in simple ways."
W. E. Sangster
If I had been in Rahab's shoes, how do I think I would have reacted with the king's orders on one hand and the spies' request on the other?
"My great concern is not whether God is on our side; my great concern is to be on God's side."
"Never will I suffer amongst us those souls without courage, those (whose) hearts can endure nothing. There must not be nothing little amongst us."
They slipped into her house – uninvited and unannounced. Rahab didn't ask for the Hebrew spies to show-up at her front door. You might say she didn't ask for trouble. Yet there it appeared – in the form of two men she didn't even know. And not long after the arrival of these unknown strangers, the king of Jericho became involved, too. Joshua 2: 3 states that "The king of Jericho 'sent' unto Rahab, saying, 'Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house.'" From the Hebrew word for "sent," we can imply that the king ordered Rahab into his presence and demanded she give-up the visitors, and then he sent her home, possibly believing that with his threat hanging over her head, she would obey the order. Does this story sound at all familiar? A ruler ordering God's daughters to obey. Remember Shiphrah and Puah whom we met in Exodus 1: 15. They were midwives in Egypt, and like Rahab, the Bible tells us "The king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives." Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word "spake," in this context, doesn't mean the Egyptian Pharaoh called these two midwives in for afternoon tea and a little chit-chat. On the contrary, the definition of the word spake in this instance is "demand" or "ordered." Just as with Rahab, an earthly king, defiant in the face of God's daughters, ordered them to go against conscience, will and a heavenly guided power of choice.
As I think back to the quick thinking and wise words spoken by Shiphrah and Puah to power in Egypt and by Rahab, to power in Jericho, all I can say is that I hope and pray I will show the same courage and fortitude if I am ever challenged, as these women were, to stand up for what I know is right.
I love the words of Nathalia Crane: "You cannot choose your battlefield; but you can plant a standard where a standard never flew." This is exactly what the midwives in Egypt did and it is what Rahab the harlot did when confronted by the ruler of her country. She didn't waffle or wiggle, she didn't try to weasel her way out. Instead, she left the presence of the king of Jericho determined to make a courageous decision on behalf of the King of Israel.
Joshua 2:4 enlightens us as to the decision Rahab made after being ordered to hand-over the Israelite spies. "And the woman took the two men, and hid them." British theologian, C. S. Lewis noted, "Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before."
I would like to take these words and apply them to the life of Rahab – the practical part of her life. The part of her life where the rubber meets the road. Rahab was living her life like many people in Canaan. Trying to get by the best she could. If running a brothel made enough money to pay the bills, so be it! But then God stepped into her life, as He does into every person's life at some point. Rahab could have ignored God's touch. She could have chosen to continue to live her life as she always had – getting by and doing what everyone else in Jericho was doing.
But in a moment, when confronted by two distinctly different choices, Rahab, without hesitation, took a path that was not only unknown but untraveled for a Canaanite harlot.
Author Jeanette Winterson made this extremely interesting observation: "I have a theory that every time you make an important choice, the part of you left behind continues the other life you could have had." As I read these words, the author's intent became clear for I discovered that this quote isn't talking about two lives. It is describing one life where we can have very distinctly different paths that lead us in opposite directions, created by the choices and decisions we make. In Rahab's case, we see that her choice to follow God resulted in a very different outcome than if she had chosen to obey the king of Jericho. In fact, one choice led to life while the other would have resulted in her death.
Swedish statesman, Dag Hammarskjöld said "We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny. But what we put into it is ours." This is what happened in the life of Rahab as she made a decision to choose to follow and listen to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Her destiny was forged in a moment of choice.
"Yes and No are the two most important words that you will ever say. These are the two words that determine your destiny in life."
Believe in Destiny
"Finding your way,
discovering your purpose,
the spark of delight
becomes a roaring fire
of passion for destiny.
Believe in destiny.
There is always a purpose.
Know that now;
when it happens.
Your time will come,
You will know your purpose,
It is true,
if you believe.
destiny is God's will.
God has a purpose for you.
And when you discover it,
you grow closer to hugging Jesus in the end."
Ms. Holly J. Wyman
Women's Uncommon Prayers