A Smoking Flax- story of Rahab

Courage in Conflict  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Part 2 in my series "Courage in Conflict"

If you like character plots and contrasts in a story, then you are going to LOVE the book of Joshua. After scene 1, which was Joshua’s commission to the ministry, stark contrasts will be seen in the text.
Joshua, the hero of Israel--------->Rahab, the harlot of Jericho
a man like Joshua who brings the inheritance to the people of Israel---------> Achan, who brings reproach upon the people of Israel.
So, we ready ourselves for a story about a villain. However, in this story, the villain becomes a hero.
ILL. Ebenezer Scrooge-
There was an ancient chaos motif (a cosmogony of sorts) that taught that a sea creature represented chaos, and after the dragon was conquered, order was reinstated and the victorious deity became supreme among the gods.
It’s kind of interesting that this creatures’ name might be something you might recognize:
Isaiah 51:9-11: “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; Awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; That hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, And come with singing unto Zion; And everlasting joy shall be upon their head: They shall obtain gladness and joy; And sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”
Psalm 89:10: “Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; Thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.”
The Bible clearly tells us that Jehovah alone is able to bring order out of chaos. He takes chaotic, desperate and sinful lives and adds His blessing and power.
There is a second symbol in use within the Bible.
Psalm 87:4: “I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: Behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; This man was born there.”
Before we get into this story, I want you to see what God did.
In the New Testament, Rahab is associated with three people:
James 2:21-26: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Hebrews 11:31: “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
Matthew 1:1, 5 “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;”
What, then, is this story really about?
it’s not just about the battle of Jericho
it’s not just about situational ethics
it’s not just about the lessons Joshua, as a spy in Numbers 13, learned when sending spies into Jericho
it’s a story of salvation— the story of how God in His infinite grace and mercy can bring order into chaotic lives!
So, if you feel like a hero or a zero…a villain or a victor…just know that Joshua has come to your condemned town with an offer of salvation. Call out to Him and be saved!
Isaiah 42:3: “A bruised reed shall he not break, And the smoking flax shall he not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”
Matthew 12:18-20: “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.”
This is the story about the development of one’s faith towards God. Rahab becomes a follower of YHWH— a grandmother of Messiah- a Gentile- a woman- surely, surely, Messiah, the God of order, came to Jericho to defeat the monster of chaos— not with a two-edged sword but with the promise of the Word.

Rahab’s Reception of the Word

Joshua 2:8-11: “And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 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. 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. 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.”
-she heard of Jehovah’s salvation
-she heard of the Red Sea parting
-she heard of the treatment of Sihon and Og
-she knew that her city was under impending judgment
Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Rahab’s Faith in the Word

Joshua 2:12-15: “Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: 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. 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. 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.”
She recognized YHWH’s Lordship
Joshua 2:11: the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Rahab’s Salvation from the Lord

Joshua 2:18-24: “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. 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. And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. 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. And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not. So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and cam…”
Joshua 6:20-25: “So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. 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. 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. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of th…”
ABRAHAM- circumcision
SINAI- book and people sprinkled with the blood
PASSOVER- bread and wine
here, it is the SCARLET CHORD- a symbol of blood
Wiersbe- Faith in the living God means salvation, and faith in His covenant gives assurance, but faith in the token of the covenant is religious superstition and can neither give salvation nor assurance.
The word worm used in this Psalm refers to the same scarlet worm. It is called the scarlet worm because of its ability to secrete a scarlet coloured fluid, which was used in the scarlet dye for linen or wool in Biblical times. When you see the word scarlet or crimson in the Bible, it usually refers to this specific scarlet coloured worm. Looking at the life cycle of the scarlet worm however, we see an amazing revelation from the Word of Abba Father.
A life of sacrifice When the scarlet worm is ready to give birth, it would find a tree or the trunk of a tree and plant it’s body firmly into the wood, never to leave again. The worm lays eggs under its shell, and the young would then be born. The body of the scarlet worm is used as protection and food for the young. Until the children are ready to live on their own, the scarlet worm gives “itself” in order for them to live. As the scarlet worm dies, it releases the scarlet fluid that stains the children scarlet red. They receive their identity as scarlet worms by the death of the one who gives them life. Ring a bell? The little ones would then go from that place and live in the “identity´ released over them.
Understanding Scripture After three days, the body of the mother worm turns white and falls from the tree trunk like a snowflake – pure white in colour. Within this phenomenon of nature lies the whole salvation plan of Abba Father. “I am a worm and no man” all of a sudden makes perfect sense. He gave His life for us on the tree (cross) of Calvary. His wounded, battered, and bruised body gives us life as we are “stained” by the Blood of the Lamb to become covenant children of the King when we are reborn! After three days, He rose again to overcome death giving us life in Him and cleansing us from our sins.
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