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All In

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Joshua 2:1–7

Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

Why did the spies stay at Rahab’s house? Did they know she would protect them? Was there some connection to Joshua’s previous trip when he was a spy?

Apparently not. Scripture says none of that. Since the spies stayed there, she must have had rooms for guests. That explains it.

It’s not simply that they stayed there because there were rooms; it’s that it was a prostitute’s house with rooms, in other words a house of prostitution. Travelers staying there would be completely unremarkable; everyone thinks they know exactly why they’re there. That provides a perfect cover.

 Except that the king finds out who they are and that they’re not there for sex. So he sends a message to Rahab to produce her guests. That sets up the lie heard round the world.

There’s no denying that Rahab’s action violates the commandment against bearing false witness; she did that in spades. She probably had never heard of the Ten Commandments, but that’s no excuse. Every culture prohibited lying. CS Lewis documents this extensively in the appendix to The Abolition of Man.

She also committed treason. Had she been caught, capital punishment would have been proper. Yet scripture holds up her faith as noteworthy. How can that be?

While Rahab’s faith is commended in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25, it’s an example of normal faith in action, not some superhuman instant sanctification faith that we can’t aspire to. She’s just like us.

She made a snap decision to hide the Israeli spies. She made this decision based on what she observed.

We’re not told how mature her faith was at this time—it had to be green—but she was “all in” based on it.

Rahab’s faith is rightly held up as an example. Faith that’s not “all in” is dead.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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