Red light, red rope

2 02 2012

Wordlive has directed me to the book of Joshua in the Old Testament. It poses lots of problems, not least that it sounds a lot like ethnic cleansing…but that’s for another time.

I’ve been intrigued by Rahab. She is an unlikely believer – she is a foreigner and a prostitute; she tells lies and deceives, and yet God extends his grace to her. The sign for her protection is a red rope at her window. (You really have to read the story to get the picture.)  It seems that she has heard of the God of the Israelites, who rescued his people from slavery, and is convinced that he is the true God -” for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” She is prepared to risk everything for her faith. The spies, whom she protects, in turn promise her protection on condition that she displays, not a red light, but a red rope from her window.

The scarlet lady comes good, so good that she becomes a member of the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11:31) and is named by Matthew as one of Jesus’ ancestors.

I say that I am intrigued by her, and that’s true, but I’m also intrigued by a God who chooses unlikely people to be his followers. Presumably as God he could have managed fine without Rahab’s help, but for some mysterious reason he uses the little guys in his plans. That gives me hope. While I may not have anything special to commend me, may not be a model believer, there is hope that God will extend his grace to me.


“Biblical religion has a low tolerance for ‘great ideas’ or ‘sublime truths’ or ‘inspirational thoughts’ apart from the people and places in which they occur. God’s great love and purposes for us are worked out in the messes, storms and sins, blue skies, daily work, and dreams of our common lives, working with us as we are and not as we should be.”  Eugene Peterson




One response

3 02 2012
Personal details « moses supposes

[…] I said before, the book of Joshua makes difficult reading.  I’ve been puzzling over it and found this […]

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