True Freedom and The Scarlet Cord

Prologue:

God’s timing is never late, nor is it early, but His plans occur precisely when He wills them.  Today of all days, the post about Rahab and the red cord of redemption came up.  It is interesting that God planned that this particular post should be in the line-up for July 4th.  Why does this intrigue?  Well…I used to be very patriotic.  Serving 20 years of active duty military service and 5 years civilian government service for the military, will do that to you.

I have always been fascinated by the Marine dress uniform.  During service, I had the honor of serving all the divisions of Marines, but for a time, I cared for the First Marine Division in Pendleton California.  This unique division of Marines have always gone into the worse and most terrible battles.  They, being notoriously courageous are known as the oldest, largest and most decorated division of the Marine Corps.  So at Pendleton, I became aware of scarlet cord on the uniform.  It is a blood stripe [that is] worn down the outside leg seams of [the] trousers on the dress uniform.  Tradition holds that this blood cord was added after a particularly fierce battle in 1847 in which many lives were given.

It has always been such – sacrifice and redemption require the spilling of blood.  So today, on this 4th of July as we, in the states, celebrate keep in mind that true freedom, freedom from spiritual oppression and tyranny was bought with a price and Jesus paid it.

Day 2:  Rehab believes in God’s mighty power

Key Scriptures for Bible Discovery Joshua 1-2

“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” (Joshua 2:10-11)

“…And she tied the scarlet cord in the window” (Joshua 2:21b).

Rahab was a very unlikely candidate to become a heroine of the faith.  The bible, in both old and new testaments, openly declares her sin e.g. “a prostitute named Rahab” (Joshua 2:1); Rahab the prostitute (Joshua 6:17; 25; Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25).  And yet, our God who is full of mercy, not only forgave her, but honored her in the Hall of Faith with such notables as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph etc.  Moreover, hundreds of years later, her name appears on the first page of the New Testament.  When Matthew gives the genealogy of Jesus, he includes this section: “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David” (Matthew 1:5-6).  Jesus’ ancestry through Mary’s line includes Rahab.  There are many people today, who research their family trees to discover their lineage and direct descendants.  I wonder, would these same people think it scandalous to discover that a prostitute’s blood intermingles in their veins?  Not so, with God.

Rahab was not in the most ideal circumstance to come to faith in the one true God; the God of the Hebrews.  She was a citizen of a wicked city that was under God’s condemnation and targeted for destruction, as well as participated in a corrupt, depraved, pagan culture whose national religion involved public sex with men in the community to pay homage to the goddess of fertility and war, Ashtoreth.  Still, there are no accidents with God.   God has always been in the rescuing business and He takes great pleasure in saving notorious sinners.  For “there is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still” (Corrie ten Boom, 1971).

For “there is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still” (Corrie ten Boom, 1971). 

It is important to note, that it wasn’t by accident that Rahab used a scarlet cord to identify her home.  This blood-red cord, draped out her window has great significance.  According to Dr. W.A. Criswell, “The scarlet thread of Rahab is [not only] a symbol of her faith that God will provide deliverance in the time of judgment, [but] throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, [the] ‘scarlet’ speaks of sacrifice made on the behalf of the believer…. [It symbolizes] … the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the Cross to wash away sin”.  Andrew Murray also stated, “It was in that blood, the covenant had its foundation and power. It is by the blood alone, that man can be brought into covenant fellowship [with God]”.   We must be covered by the blood of Christ, for without blood there is no forgiveness of sin.  It was true in Leviticus 17:11 and it is true in Matthew 26:27-28 and 1 John 1:7).

Because Rahab believed God, she was saved (Hebrews 11:31).  She believed all that God had done in Egypt and in the cities by the Jordan river.  And she believed that the God of the Hebrews, was the only true God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath (Joshua 2:10-11).  You know, there is a strong association between faith and knowledge.  You cannot believe in a God, you don’t know or even know about.  And for faith to grow, one must know more about Him.   One must know who He is and what He has promised.  God strategically placed Rahab in the right place at just the right time to save her as the first recorded gentile convert.  Moreover, we also have been strategically placed in this part of the world, at this particular time, to expand Jesus’ family tree by telling our own stories of what God has done.  God is preparing people to hear and believe, just as He prepared Rahab.  God will be sending children and their parents to the Bible Chapel and to the church at large, just as He sent the two spies to Jericho.  Let’s be ready and willing, to tell them who God is and what He has promised.  And yes, let’s tell them of His great love and how they too can become part of the family.

PRAYER:

Thank you, Father that you are the God of second chances.  Thank you for saving us.  We praise You for who You are; the All Sufficient, El Shaddai; the Righteous, El Tsaddik; the Truth, El Emet; the Most High, El Elyon; the Everlasting, El Olam; the Mighty, El Gibbor; the Sacred, El Hakkadosh; the Strength, El Sali; the Glory, El Hakkavod; the Great, El Haggadol; the Jealous, El-Kanno; the One Who Sees, El Roi; and God of My Life, El Chaiyai.

Thank You for Rahab, the woman who believed.  Help us to be more like her.  Help our unbelief.  Give us boldness for kingdom work.  Give us Your words to tell the story of Your great love.  Thank you, Father.  Amen.

Additional Prayers:

  • Thanking God for the forgiveness of sin through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
  • For children to see that there is no sin so great that God cannot forgive it.
  • For children to see that there is no work they need to do to earn Gods love. God is love.  Pray that they will be content to live in His presence and be His witnesses.
  • For 4th and 5th graders, their teachers, and their families. Pray that the children will understand that God loves them, is working in their lives, and wants them to know Him better via coming to church, praying, looking for Him in every day events, and reading their bibles.  Pray that the encounter they have with God during VBS would be forever written in their hearts.

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