This Week's Focus Passage

Joshua 2:13 ‘Save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters.’

This Weeks Focus Passage: Joshua 2:13

‘Save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters.’


More often than not when the question of Rahab the harlot is admitted into any conversation, whether it be about the sinfulness of harlotry, or whether or not she lied about having knowledge of the whereabouts of the two spies, the matter of her surprising faith is, sadly only infrequently, brought to bear upon this truly amazing Old Testament narrative. Many have suggested that her faith was not very strong, else she would have trusted God to preserve her from harm even though she were to admit the truth that she knew about the Israelitish spies. There are even some non-supporters of Rahab who have held that the Scriptures teach that believers are to ‘honor the king,’ something that she conspicuously failed in dong. Many are they that have defended, in a manner, her questionable ‘occupation’ by alleging that surely she had given that practice up prior to this visit from the spies. But we have no word given us for or against that concept. We only know that she continued to be known by that unhappy epithet, harlot, long after this incident. She is still referred to as Rahab the harlot by the author of Hebrews, all the while he is extolling her remarkable faith in not giving up the spies to her king. I have read very few that pointed out the remarkable feature alluded to in our focus passage this week. In other words, not very many have brought out this behavior of Rahab that surely evinces in her a ‘Christian spirit,’ in that an immediate concern for her was her family; save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, she begged of them. She did not immediately ask of these men that when God gives to them the city of Jericho, that they would come rushing after her like a damsel in distress; to rescue her from some tower dungeon taking her to live happily ever after. In fact, her first thoughts, after the safety of Jehovah’s spies, was her family. Have mercy for my father, mother, brothers, and sisters, was her very next concern.

Have we ever considered this family of Rahab? What were the means by which they were saved? It is evident that Rahab was not a married woman. We don’t know this with certainty, but rather gather it from the subsequent fact of her being included in the lineage of Jesus Christ recorded in Matthew 1:5. So then we have this young, apparently single, woman of Jericho who, along with her countrymen and her kindred, have heard the reports of the Israelites being brought out of Egypt. She made this effectively clear to the two spies when she came upon the roof to settle them in for the night. Her expressions are abundantly laced with powerful language:

I know that Jehovah hath given you the land, and that the fear of you is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how Jehovah dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did to the two kings of the Amorites. And as soon as we had heard it, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more spirit in any man, because of you: for Jehovah your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath.

Her confession of faith, if we may put it that way, is not in word only. Even as James speaks of her faith, that it is not without works. A godly fear has been planted in her heart through God’s regenerating power; her eyes have been opened and she has seen the terrible plight of Jericho before the wrath of this one and only Sovereign God of the Israelites. She knows by faith that the city is doomed to destruction, but she is not satisfied to ask simply that her own life be spared, but begs—prays—after the fashion of Paul, we might say, for her kinsmen according to the flesh. She supplicates earnestly, arguing her own kindness toward them and asking for some token:

Now therefore, she says, I pray you, swear unto me by Jehovah, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a true token; and that ye will save alive my  father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and will deliver our lives from death.

Is not this absolutely unselfish prayer an incredibly wonderful evidence of divine grace in the soul of that individual? We confess that we do not have in ourselves any registry or means of determining with certainty the spiritual state of another. Praise God that it is His business, and not ours, to know who they are that belong unto Him. At the same time, it must be said, and has been said by our Savior Himself, that we may know them by their fruits. Has it not always and ever intrigued each one of us how that none of the disciples knew who it was that was going to betray the Christ? None of them knew of whom Jesus was speaking when He said, One of you will betray me. In fact, it caused them each to question themselves, Is it I? We do not speak of absolute certainty here, but still, is it not a marvelously gracious fruit of regenerating grace when a soul becomes much more concerned about others than themselves? When we are constrained to pray for others; to seek to do for others? This is not a fruit of the old Adamic tree. This is a fruit of the Living Vine Himself.

Well, how are we doing? Do we find that we are so greatly concerned for our unregenerate kinsmen according to the flesh that we cannot forbear praying for them, but are rather driven to our knees for them? Does a day pass without our minds being busy trying to imagine something that we might do to save them, even though we know perfectly well that salvation is of Jehovah from beginning to end, and we are entirely helpless in ourselves to bring them to the Savior? Yet we know as well that Christ has given to us the privilege of prayer, and He has promised that He hears our prayers; that the Father hears our prayers when we ask anything in His Name. And while it is no conclusive evidence of grace in our own hearts, yet we are convinced that Somebody has been doing something when we recognize this ‘fruit’ in our behavior that, like Rahab, we can do nothing other than cry unto God through Christ, please save alive my father, my mother, my brother, my sister, my children, my wife, my husband, my neighbors, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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