5 – Escaping Death by Faith

5 – Escaping Death by Faith2016-11-27T17:36:35+00:00

Special Sabbath School Offering for
BELIZE

May a spirit of joy and sacrifice accompany your offering!

 

Sabbath, November 1, 2014

“The children of Israel were to occupy all the territory which God appointed them. Those nations that rejected the worship and service of the true God were to be dispossessed. But it was God’s purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel men should be drawn unto Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. All who, like Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God were to unite themselves with His chosen people. As the numbers of Israel increased, they were to enlarge their borders until their kingdom should embrace the world.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 19.

Hospitality given at great risk 

1. Who provided hospitality for the Israelites who were sent to spy out the land of Canaan? What risk was there in aiding the two men who were considered enemies?

Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 

“A few miles beyond the

[Jordan] river, just opposite the place where the Israelites were encamped, was the large and strongly fortified city of Jericho. This city was virtually the key to the whole country, and it would present a formidable obstacle to the success of Israel. Joshua therefore sent two young men as spies to visit this city and ascertain something as to its population, its resources, and the strength of its fortifications. The inhabitants of the city, terrified and suspicious, were constantly on the alert, and the messengers were in great danger.

“They were, however, preserved by Rahab, a woman of Jericho, at the peril of her own life.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 482, 483.

2. To whom was the news quickly reported that two Israelites had come to Jericho? What order was sent to Rahab by the king?

Joshua 2:2, 3 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. 3 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. 

3. What was her answer to the king’s messengers? What special efforts did she put forth to protect the two spies?

Joshua 2:4-6 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: 5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. 6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. 

In providing hospitality to people who were considered enemies, Rahab put herself in a dangerous situation, because she risked being seen as a collaborator with the spies. Nevertheless, knowing that the Lord was with them, she not only provided hospitality but also hid them to save their lives. 

However, this does not mean that she had full light and was converted. The lie she told under pressure was a sin she committed before conversion. It revealed her need of the truth and in no case should be cited to excuse lying.

“God’s people will remember that ‘The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.’ Zephaniah. 3:13. Truthfulness and integrity are attributes of God, and he who possesses these qualities possesses a power that is invincible.” –My Life Today, p. 331.

Rahab’s faith

4. Despite being a heathen, what strong faith did this woman have? What did she and her people know?

Joshua 2:8-11 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 9 And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. 

“In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt a knowledge of the power of God spread far and wide. The warlike people of the stronghold of Jericho trembled. ‘As soon as we had heard these things,’ said Rahab, ‘our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for Jehovah your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.’ Joshua 2:11. Centuries after the exodus the priests of the Philistines reminded their people of the plagues of Egypt, and warned them against resisting the God of Israel.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 369.

“The advancing hosts of Israel found that a knowledge of the mighty workings of the God of the Hebrews had gone before them, and that some among the heathen were learning that He alone was the true God. In wicked Jericho the testimony of a heathen woman was, ‘The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.’ Joshua 2:11. The knowledge of Jehovah that had thus come to her, proved her salvation.” –Review and Herald, June 17, 1915.

Agreement between Rahab and the spies

5. What earnest request did the woman make? What did the spies promise her for protecting them?

Joshua 2:12-14 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have showed you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: 13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. 14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. 

“They were, however, preserved by Rahab, a woman of Jericho, at the peril of her own life. In return for her kindness they gave her a promise of protection when the city should be taken.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 482.

6. What other agreement did the spies make with Rahab before departing?

Joshua 2:15-21 Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. 16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. 17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. 18 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. 19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him. 20 And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. 21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window. 

“God had said that the city of Jericho should be accursed, and that all should perish except Rahab and her household. They should be saved because of the favor that Rahab showed the messengers of the Lord.” –Review and Herald, September 16, 1873.

Salvation accomplished

7. In according with this agreement, what happened to Rahab and her family when the walls of Jericho fell and the city was occupied by Israel?

Joshua 6:17, 22, 23, 25 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent…. 22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. 23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel…. 25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. 

“Jericho was a city devoted to the most extravagant idolatry. The inhabitants were very wealthy. All the riches that God had given them they accredited to the gifts of their gods. Gold and silver were in abundance. Like the people before the Flood, they were corrupt and blasphemous. They insulted and provoked the God of heaven by their wicked works. God’s judgments awakened against Jericho. It was a stronghold. But the Captain of the Lord’s host came Himself from heaven to lead the armies of heaven in the attack upon the city. Angels of God laid hold of the massive walls and brought them to the ground. God had said that the city of Jericho should be accursed, and that all should perish except Rahab and her household. They should be saved because of the favor that Rahab showed the messengers of the Lord.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 264.

8. According to the New Testament, what compelled Rahab to protect the two Israelites? By the grace of the Lord, what prominent place did she have in the royal, messianic line?

Hebrews 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. 

James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 

Matthew 1:1, 5 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…. 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse.

“The advancing hosts of Israel found that knowledge of the mighty workings of the God of the Hebrews had gone before them, and that some among the heathen were learning that He alone was the true God. In wicked Jericho the testimony of a heathen woman was, “The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.’ Joshua 2:11. The knowledge of Jehovah that had thus come to her, proved her salvation. By faith ‘Rahab perished not with them that believed not.’ Hebrews 11:31. And her conversion was not an isolated case of God’s mercy toward idolaters who acknowledged His divine authority.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 369.

For reflection

  • If you were to find yourself in a situation similar to that of Rahab, would you be willing to risk your life for someone you had met for the first time?
  • Considering her heathen background, how can the great faith that resulted in her salvation be explained?

For further study

Ezekiel 18:20-23; 33:11-16, 19.

“All who, like Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God, were to unite themselves with His chosen people. As the numbers of Israel increased, they were to enlarge their borders, until their kingdom should embrace the world.” –Review and Herald, January 25, 1906.

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