Waiting for Favor to Work

Joshua 2:21(NKJV)
21Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.

This week we are looking at the relationship between faith, patience and favor. Rahab received favor when she chose to hide the 2 Hebrew spies rather than turn them over to the King of Jericho. They promised her that she and her family would be protected when Israel attacked Jericho. They left and all she had was their promise. She could do nothing to control her situation. She was completely dependent upon the favor of these two men. She had to wait.

Most of us face this kind of situation in our lives. We have a promise from the bible and we stand by faith on that promise, but there is nothing we can do to make the promise happen. Many times what we are believing for involves God given favor. We must depend on someone else to do something for us. When God is the one who gives favor, he will move on whomever he needs to in order to do meet our need. We must wait in patience until that happens.

Patience is the ability to wait with consistent faith. When patience is working in us, we will not waver in our faith. We will not worry about what God is or is not doing to meet our need. We will be consistent in thanking God for his provision and praise him until we see the results. Most important, we will not quit.

Rahab had to let patience work. She had shown favor to the two spies and she received favor in return. However, she had no guarantee beyond her trust in them and their God that anything would happen. She had risked her life by betraying her city and the king. She could do nothing in her own strength except do what the men had required of her.

We pointed out yesterday that Rahab had to wait quite a long time. It is hard to say exactly how much time passed between Joshua 2 and Joshua 6 when Jericho fell, but it was not days. It was a matter of weeks and maybe more. In that time, Rahab is waiting patiently for her deliverance. Imagine yourself in her situation.

The spies tell Rahab that for her family to be saved they must all be in her house. She lists a father, mother, brothers and sisters as part of her family. We have no idea if there are spouses or children of her siblings, but even if there were not, this is quite a few people. She must get them all into her house.

I can imagine that during the weeks after the spies left she began to speak to her family about the need to come to her house when she called them. I doubt she would want to confide in them as to why. If they knew of her treason and did not turn her in, it would make them guilty as well and put their lives in danger.

Weeks go by and she hears nothing. There would have been no way to communicate with the men upon whom her life depended. I can imagine that every day she looked out the window through which she had let down the two spies, wondering if this would be the day she would see the army of Israel outside the city.

It is possible that there would have been news of Israel crossing the Jordan. The city would have heard that once again God was fighting for the Israelites as the flooded Jordan simply dried up while they crossed and flooded again when they were on the other side. At this point, she might have gone to her family and said, “Come. Stay at my house for a while.” I can hear her father asking, “Rahab, why would we need to do that? We can come for dinner or something, but we live right here in the city. We don’t need to stay with you.” However, Rahab would have insisted and, at some point, her family relented.

Once Israel crossed the Jordan, they underwent circumcision. The generation that did not die in the wilderness had never been circumcised, so it was necessary for them to fulfill the covenant before they could enter the Promised Land. This meant even more waiting for Rahab.

Very often when we are waiting for God to move it seems that the time for victory or provision has come. Then something happens and it seems that our answer is delayed even longer. This is when we must apply patience so that we will not become discouraged. I can imagine how Rahab must have felt as she waited for this army, now on her side of the river, to do something. Day after day, she looks out the window and there is no change. I can only wonder what her family was thinking as Rahab insisted that they either stay with her or come to her house every day.

Finally, the day arrives! She looks out the window and the army of Israel is leaving their camp and approaching the city! She tells her family, “This is it. This is what I have been waiting for. Now you will see why I want you in my house. Please do not leave again. Soon you will understand.”

The time when we feel the greatest pressure to quit believing in favor is the time when it is almost ready to produce results. Rahab has waited patiently to this point. However, the greatest challenge to her faith is about to come upon her.

Join me tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!

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