The Scarlet Cord
Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house.”
— Joshua 2:17-18
Rahab helped the Israeli spies on one condition. She asked them to promise to save her family. The spies agreed with their own condition. Rahab must hang a scarlet cord outside her window. Unpacking the rich symbolism of this cord is beyond the scope of a devotional so I hope you will dig deeper into the meaning of the words, “scarlet cord.” To whet your appetite, consider that the Hebrew meaning of “cord” is a future hope that cannot be cut. Rahab’s hope was in that scarlet cord. For the cord to “save her” it could not be cut. God uses the same word in Jeremiah 29:11 where He promises the exiled Israelites:
I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.
— Jeremiah 29:11
God promises the Israelites a “hope that cannot be cut.” Throughout the Old Testament, we see the “scarlet cord” of Jesus. God could not break His promise of the Messiah. This future hope of a Messiah strengthened and encouraged the Israelites when all hope seemed lost. As children of God on this side of the Cross, we cling to the promise of God that those who love Jesus are safely in His grip, that not one of His children will be lost. He promises that nothing will separate us from His love. Our covenant-making, covenant-keeping God, Yahweh, promises to give each of us a hope and a future. Like the Israelites in Jeremiah 29, many of us will experience the culmination of that hope after a lifetime in this broken world – when we see Jesus face to face. Such a hope encourages us to trust that when all seems lost, God has not lost control and will keep His promises. We trust that He sees us and holds us tightly in His love.
Just as God saw Rahab. He called Rahab. He turned her heart toward Him.
God sees you. This Christmas, cling to the hope of that scarlet cord and the promise of a future that cannot be broken. Accept His call to trust Him with His plans for you, surrender to His purposes, walk in obedience in response to His perfect love and the gift of Jesus. Do you long for unwavering faith and strength to stand alone in response to the call of Yahweh? Let God’s Word strengthen and encourage you to trust our promise-keeping God.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:9
Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, LORD,
have never forsaken those who seek You.
— Psalm 9:10
But I trust in You, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
— Psalm 31:14
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 3:5-6
Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.
— Psalm 37:4-5
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
— Isaiah 26:3-4
When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
— Psalm 56:3-4
For more about Rahab’s life, read Chapter 2 in Harlots and Heroines, The Midwives of the Messiah. Note the difference in the reactions between Rahab to the God of Israel and her countrymen’s response. The countrymen heard the same stories Rahab heard, but ignored the truth. The facts about God’s protection over Israel stirred Rahab’s soul. Ask the Lord to transform the facts of His character into a deep faith in your soul.
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