Just How Important are Your Actions?
- Monday, November 17, 2008
Have you ever wondered if your actions matter at all or if anything you do amounts to a change in the world’s history? For that matter, your own history?
One Important Paragraph
In the book of Joshua, in its 6th chapter, and between the 17th and 19th verses, we find the names of two important people:
- Rahab, and
Joshua was about to lead the people of Israel into their very first battle toward conquering the Promised Land. They had traveled far and for a very long time. The generation who had witnessed Moses’ deliverance of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, who had crossed the Red Sea on dry land, who had witnessed the presence of God as He spoke with Moses, and who had wandered in the desert for nearly thirty years, arguing and complaining, crying and moaning, had died. A new generation had been circumcised and had tasted the joy of the Passover celebration (Joshua 5). It was now time to do what they’d come to do.
Joshua 2 tells us that the actions of the advancing Hebrews would come as no surprise to the residents of Jericho.
Joshua had sent two spies into the fortified city; they entered into the house of a prostitute, Rahab. Rahab, in an act of bravery and honesty, hid the spies from the king’s men sent to bring them out (no doubt for killing). Such an act on Rahab’s part held two possible consequences:
- Death (if caught), or
- Life (if taken into the protective order of the spies).
Rahab laid her bets on the second. She lied to the king’s men, deceiving them as to where the spies had ventured off to, and then, when they had gone, gave the spies some pretty valuable information.
"I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. (Joshua 2: 9b-11)
Then she asked the spies to promise that when they returned to conquer Jericho, they would spare the lives of her and her family. The men swore an oath (Our lives for your lives!) to do just that.
Later, when the Hebrew army prepared to take victorious possession of the city, Joshua said, “The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.” (Joshua 6: 17)
So, what happened? Jericho fell. Literally. The walls collapsed, the Hebrews charged in, and—as in accordance to God’s orders—they destroyed every living thing… except Rahab and her family.
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