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An Unlikely Rescuer

Advent 2020: December 11
An Unlikely Rescuer Hero Image An Unlikely Rescuer Hero Image

“And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, ‘Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.’ Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.’ But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, ‘True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.’ But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.

“Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.’ And the men said to her, ‘Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.’

“Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, ‘Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.’ The men said to her, ‘We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.’ And she said, ‘According to your words, so be it.’ Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

“They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. And they said to Joshua, ‘Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.’” (Joshua 2:1-24)


Today’s story is about people in need of rescue. The two spies needed rescuing from the local officials who were hunting them, and Rahab needed to be rescued from the coming destruction of Jericho.

For a little backstory, Joshua was leading the people of Israel towards the Promised Land. Before they entered in, he sent two spies to go check out the city of Jericho. This was a dangerous task, but the Lord kept them safe. He led them to Rahab, a woman who feared the Lord and was able to help them escape from the enemy king.

Rahab seems like an unlikely person for God to use to rescue the Israelite spies. She wasn’t powerful. Based on her job description, she wouldn’t have exactly been considered a saint. As a citizen of Jericho, she was technically the Israelites’ enemy. However, Rahab had heard stories of the miracles God had done, and she believed them to be true. She understood that “the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” She had faith in the God of Israel. Because of her faith, God saved her and her family when she asked for protection.

Rahab couldn’t see it at the time, but God not only used her to help rescue the spies and her own family, He also allowed her to be a special part of His family. Many years later, one of her direct descendants—Jesus—would come to rescue His people from a coming destruction. Rahab was saved because of her faith (Hebrews 11:31), and we can be saved through our faith in Jesus.

  1. What are some of the stories Rahab had heard that told her about God’s power? What other stories do you know that demonstrate God’s power?
  2. Rahab might seem like an unlikely hero—but then, so is a shepherd boy (David), a man on the run for murder (Moses), an immigrant widow (Ruth), a baby born in a barn (Jesus), and a host of other examples. Why do you think God chooses seemingly powerless people to accomplish His plans?
  3. How does Rahab’s story give you hope and encouragement for your life?
Family Activity:

Draw a rope on your ornament today as a reminder of how God, through Christ, provides a way of rescue for us from our sins, just like He rescued Rahab. To remind your kids that they can never hide from God’s amazing love, play a game of sardines where one person hides and everyone else tries to find them. When someone finds the one hiding, they must join them in their hiding spot. The game is over when everyone has found the hiding spot.