I was doing some research this week into Jericho and found it most exciting. Many of you know the story of Rahab the prostitute who hid the Israeli spies, keeping them safe. In exchange for saving their lives, the spies promised that when Israel took the city, she and her family would be saved. Now imagine this: as the army of Israel marched around the city, with sounds of trumpets blowing, the city was overcome in great fear. The reputation of the God of Israel was well known. For six days the Israeli army marched around the city blowing trumpets. It must have been unnerving. Now imagine the seventh day. Once again the Israeli army marches around the city blowing trumpets, but then they also shout! At the sound of shouting the walls begin to shake. Why is that significant where Rahab is concerned? Her home was built in the city’s walls, and the walls were crumbling and falling!
What would you have done? Would you have run outside in fear, hoping to save your own lives? That would have made human sense, but Rahab chose something different; Rahab chose to believe the message of God’s representatives. She and her family stayed put. They chose, in the midst of everything more logical in the realm of human reasoning around them, to be still and trust God. We know they were saved. We also know that Rahab married into the the bloodline of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Boaz was the son of Rahab who had a son named Obed who had a son named Jessie who was the father of King David. Oh, how she was blessed for her faith in God. Blessings await all who trust in Him.
How was Rahab and her family saved when the walls fell? This is where the research became exciting. In 1907, a German archeologist named Carl Watzinger excavated the city of Jericho. In 1950 a British archeologist named Kathleen Kenyon also excavated the site. They came up with the same findings. They believe it was an earthquake that destroyed the city. The wall in the north, although also destroyed, had an area that was intact. The area was a section of rooms about 8 feet in height. This north wall is known to have been inhabited by the poor and undesirable. Were these the rooms of Rahab, the undesirable prostitute? It is in total keeping with the Biblical account recorded in the book of Joshua.
While this archeological discovery is exciting, what thrills me more is the fact that Rahab didn’t leave. She didn’t run out of her home in terror. The walls were shaking around her, crumbling to the ground. She would have heard the screams of others in the city. It must have been horrific, but she did as the messengers of God told her; she stayed and waited for her salvation. She trusted God to save, even her, with her murky past. God receives all who come to Him, no matter the sin that has grabbed hold. When we come to Him, seeking His forgiveness, He wipes the slate clean, turning our tears into joy.
Today is Christmas Eve. Around the world there are crumbling walls of poor health, death, weather calamities, threats of war, and a list of other equally concerning matters. Even so, whatever is happening in your personal world, no matter that your walls of security seem to be crumbling, remember Rahab. Take her example to trust God in what seems impossible.
This Christmas and throughout the New Year, may we all remember Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”