Promises and Power – Message 2
January 15, 2023
I. Introduction: Continuing series, Promises and Power.
Joshua 2:1; Matthew 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:28-29; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25
- When we believe and pursue God’s promises, He provides power to fulfill His plans.
Today’s title is Faith; it refers specifically to the faith of
Rahab, but also to ours.
Theme verse: James 2:25 (NLT)—Rahab… was shown to be right with God [not made right] by her actions when she hid those messengers…
Text: Joshua 2:1 (NLT)—
Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at
Acacia Grove. He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side
of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out
and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that
[Would allow these men to enter without attracting notice. Nothing immoral
occurred, or wouldn’t say, “the house of…”]
In this passage, see that God does not reject us for our sin before we know
He reaches and uses people who admit their sin and see their need of
Jesus was “the friend tax collectors and sinners.” (Luke 7:34,
1 Corinthians 1:28–29 (NLT)—
God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at
all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers
important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the
presence of God.
[All saved by grace!]
So, what enabled this ridiculed and shamed woman to help the Israelite
Hebrews 11:31 (NLT)—
It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the
people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a
friendly welcome to the spies.
[This woman was honored to be listed in the family line of Jesus; Matthew
This morning we will examine faith.
B. The content of faith includes… (Joshua 2:1-24)
1. Courage facing opposition.
(Joshua 2:2-7. C/R: Ephesians 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 13:6)
- The spies were recognized, perhaps because of their clothing, manner, or
Joshua 2:2-7 (NLT)— 2 But someone told the king of Jericho [towns of
Palestine were independent city-states, rulers were called kings]
, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out
the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy
out the whole land.”
[Imagine her fear! Treason was likely punishable by death!]
Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here
earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 They left
the town at dusk, as the gates
[city gates sealing off the town]
were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you
can probably catch up with them.” 6 (Actually, she had taken
them up to the roof and hidden them beneath bundles of flax she had
) 7 So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the
road leading to the shallow crossings of the Jordan River. And as soon
as the king’s men had left, the gate
of Jericho was shut.
Rahab lied and deceived the king’s men; by hiding the spies, she risked her
life by siding with Israel against her own people.
She told them to hurry after the spies, if the king’s men searched
Rahab’s house, they would have found the Israelite scouts.
A question many ask: Was Rahab right to lie or did she sin by her deceit?
The Bible identifies lying as sin (9th Commandment; Exodus
20:16; Proverbs 12:22; Colossians 3:9), yet Rahab is commended for her
active faith in protecting the spies (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25), but
notice she was not commended for her deception.
Is this related to lying to Nazis to protect Jews in WWII or to giving
false information during wartime?
I think Christians should resist a government that commands or compels evil or directly violates God’s laws, commands, plans and
purposes, but this doesn’t approve lying or dishonesty for personal matters
like income tax or to avoid social embarrassment.
Rahab’s faith provided her with courage to face threatening opposition.
We are saved when God’s Spirit regenerates us (imparts faith), but when
that happens, He also strengthens us for challenges.
What was true of Rahab is true of you and me: when our beliefs are
challenged, when we face opposition, we can stand firm by faith,
without withering from fear.
Do you wonder why Communist countries and tyrannical dictators suppress
Christianity? Because they cannot control Christians, even with threats!
(We follow God first!)
We are brave facing opposition and demonstrate courage amidst threats, even
2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)—
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power,
love, and self-discipline.
APP.: Are you facing a challenge or opposition? Are you receiving the
The content of faith includes…
2. Conviction about truth.
(Joshua 2:8-14. C/R: Matthew 16:17; Romans 10:10,17; Hebrews 11:1,6)
- Joshua 2:8-9 (NLT)—
Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to
talk with them. 9 “I know the Lord has given you this land,”
she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is
living in terror.”
This fear of God in the land of Canaan was prophesied at the crossing of
the Red Sea (Exodus 15:15b-16) and at the end of Moses receiving the law on
Mt. Sinai (Exodus 23:27-28).
Joshua 2:10-11 (NLT)—
“For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red
Sea when you left Egypt.
And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of
the Jordan River
, whose people you completely destroyed. 11 No wonder our
hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after
hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the
heavens above and the earth below.”
[God destroyed their desire to fight!]
Rahab confessed belief in Yahweh as the supremely powerful God, which was
surprising, because Canaanites worshiped numerous gods (Exodus
23:23-24,32–33; Deuteronomy 12:2-3,30–31).
How did Rahab recognize the truth when others in the city rejected it?
Sure, she had heard stories of the Israelite’s God, but she heard stories
of the power of other gods as well.
She observed her townspeople worshiping other gods, even sacrificing their
children in the fire to these gods; yet, she knew that Yahweh was the true
and supreme God! How?
It was revealed to her by the Holy Spirit, just as the truth about Jesus is
confirmed to us!
Matthew 16:17 (NLT)—
Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father
in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any
Faith, which is a gift (Ephesians 2:8), is being convinced of certain
truths about Christ.
Hebrews 11:1,6 (NLT)—
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it
gives us assurance about things we cannot see. …
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to
come to Him must believe that God
[true] exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.
Joshua 2:12-14 (NLT)—12 “Now swear to me by the Lord
[their God and now hers]
that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give
me some guarantee
[Hebrew lit., sign or signal of truth]
that 13 when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live,
along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their
“We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men
agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind
to you when the Lord gives us the land.”
APP.: Are you convinced of the truth of the Gospel so nothing could change
The content of faith includes…
3. Commitment to obey.
(Joshua 1:15-24. C/R: Exodus 12:13; Matthew 7:21; James 1:22; 2:24-25)
Joshua 2:15-20 (NLT)—
Then, since Rahab’s house was built into the town wall
[Jericho likely protected by a double wall; poorer citizens built homes
between inner and outer walls], she let them down by a rope through the window. …
Before they left, the men told her, “We will be bound by the oath we
have taken only if you follow these instructions. 18 When we
come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the
window through which you let us down.
[to identify Rahab’s house]
And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your
relatives—must be here inside the house. 19 If they go out
into the street and are killed, it will not be our fault. But if anyone
lays a hand on people inside this house, we will accept the
responsibility for their death. 20 If you
[plural, directed to Rahab and her family] betray us, however, we are not bound by this oath in any way.”
Rahab was given instructions she and her family had to follow to save their
lives: 1) place scarlet rope in the window; 2) family remain inside the
house; 3) no one betray the spies.
Joshua 2:21 (NLT)—
“I accept your terms,” she replied. And she sent them on their way,
leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window.
When we believe in Jesus, forgiven and born again, we agree with God
regarding how we will live, what we will do, not as a condition of
salvation, but as evidence of it.
James 2:24-25 (NLT)—
So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by
Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with
God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely
away by a different road.
Our lives will reflect our faith; our behavior reveals that we have been
[Conclusion:] Joshua 2:22-23 (NLT)—
The spies went up into the hill country and stayed there three days. …
Then the two spies came down from the hill country, crossed the Jordan
River, and reported to Joshua all that had happened to them. 24 “The Lord has given us the whole land,” they said, “for
all the people in the land are terrified of us.”
APP.: Do our lives reflect our faith; are we faithful in obeying God’s
Memory verse: James 1:22 (NLT)—
But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says.
Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.