The Heroes of Faith: Rahab and Waiting Faith 4

Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV) 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

We have been studying Rahab who gave aid and comfort to the enemy Israelite spies when they came to gather intelligence about Jericho. Yesterday we ended with the people of Israel coming out of their camp and marching around the city with their whole army. We read in Joshua chapter 6 that they blew the rams horns as they marched.

Joshua 6:7-8 (NKJV) 7 And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the LORD.” 8 So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.

However, something strange happened. Israel marched around the city and then went back to their camp. There was no attack. Nothing happened at all. The next day the army of Israel came out of their camp. Once again, they began to march around the city. Once again, the trumpets played but no one spoke. Once again Rahab and her family got excited about what would happen next. Once again, the defenders of Jericho prepared for battle. Once again, Israel marched around the city and went back to the camp.

For four more days this same process was repeated. I can hear Rahab’s father now. “Rahab, why are we here? Obviously, Israel is going to do nothing. They are trying to scare us, that’s all. I am going back to my home.”

Rahab knew differently. She had a promise from God. She could not understand what was happening. She had no idea about the plan given to Joshua by the angel. Everything she saw would have been confusing. Yet she chose to keep believing.

The defenders of Jericho must have become bolder every day. The behavior of this army was so strange. They came out each morning for six days and just marched. None of them spoke. The only sound was the shuffling of feet and the incessant playing of the trumpets. I think they would have begun to jeer at the Israelis. “Why don’t you come and fight? Are you all cowards? Why don’t you say something? You will never break through these walls. You better go back to the wilderness you came from. Better to die there than at our hands!”

I am sure Rahab and her family were about at there wits end. It had been six days. They expected their deliverance to come the first day. What makes it more difficult is that every day is the same. Nothing happens. That is the struggle we often find ourselves facing. We know the promise is true, but time goes by and nothing seems to change. Let me say again that just because nothing seems to be happening does not mean God is not working. He is always working. We must continue to believe. We must continue to walk out the conditions from the Word of God. If we do, we will see God move.

Finally, the seventh day comes. It begins the same as every other day. Israel comes out and begins to march. They do not speak but the trumpets play. They walk all the way around the city. As they come to the same place they have for the last six days with no attack, I can see Rahab turning away from the window. She thinks it will be the same as every other day, but it is not the same. Israel does not go back to the camp. They continue to march.

The pressure to quit is greatest when the answer is about to come. God has many reasons for the delays we face in our faith life. Sometimes it is to prove that nothing and no one could meet the need but him. For Rahab, it was a time of testing. She had to continue to trust God. It was evident to her that if Israel could take the city, they would have done it by now. However, God was not finished.

Joshua 6:16-17 (NKJV) 16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city! 17 Now the city shall be doomed by the LORD to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

I want you to notice something from the verse above. Joshua knew about Rahab. She had not been forgotten. It often seems that we have been forgotten by God when we must wait in faith. We have not! God remembered Rahab and he remembers you.

After the seventh circuit of the city all those in Jericho heard something terrifying. The trumpets that have been playing the whole time change their sound. Suddenly Jericho hears the trumpets play one long blast. This was followed by a loud shout from every member of the attacking force. After watching Israel march around the city thirteen times in silence, what must the defenders have thought when they heard these two piercing sounds.

In her house, Rahab and her family were watching intently. This must be the day. Yet how could any of this help Israel take the city? They soon found out. The ground began to shake as if there was an earthquake. The walls vibrated with a ferocity they could not understand. After a few moments the walls of Jericho, so thick a chariot could drive upon them began to crumble. Their defenses were stripped away from them and the city was open. Each Israelite soldier ran straight into the city, killing as he went.

What about Rahab and her family? I want to point out something. Rahab’s home was in the wall. It had to be, or she could not have lowered the spies from her window to escape the city. When the walls began to crumble, all natural reasoning said her house must fall as well. The only protection she had was a single scarlet rope.

Often the first thing that happens as our waiting ends is that things get worse. Even if they do not, we must keep our eyes on the promise of God. Most of the time we have no idea what God is going to do. We do not know how the promise will meet our need or keep us safe. We must continue to trust God, even if things around us crumble.

I can only imagine the terror they could have felt. The walls of the city are down. The bible does not tell us if Rahab’s house remained standing when the rest of the wall fell, but I do not see how she could have survived if it did not. The scarlet rope marked the house. That is how Israel knew where to find her. The soldiers are killing everyone until they come to her house. Will they kill her and her family as well? No! She has a covenant with the God of Israel. They come and take her and her family from the city. She and all with her are safe, just as God had promised.

I do not know what you face today. You may be stuck in a time of seemingly endless waiting for God to move on your behalf. You may be at the point where things are shaking all around you. You may be seeing bad things happening to others. Stay in the place of safety. Stay in the Word of the Covenant you have through Jesus. Continue to meet the conditions even though all the voices around you may be screaming that you will not survive. You will

The last thing we see about Rahab is that she appears in the Genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5.) What a great heritage Rahab gained by continuing in faith. You will see God bring about what you need today. Nevertheless, there is more to it than that. You will see God affect others by your faith. In the end, you will see God use you to bless many because you stayed faithful like faithful Rahab.

Heroes of Faith: Rahab and Waiting Faith 3

Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV) 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

We have seen that there are two kinds of faith we must learn to walk in if we are going to be successful in our Christianity. Joshua, when he took the city of Jericho, walked in aggressive faith. He heard from God. He acted on the plan God gave him and he saw the results almost immediately. Rahab, on the other hand, acted on her faith in the God of Israel by hiding the Hebrew spies and then helping them escape from the city. For her actions she received a promise. From the time she received the promise until she was rescued by the Israelite army, she had no control over her situation.

One of the things she had to do while she waited was obey the conditions of the promise. The Israelite spies told her that she and her family would be safe if they all stayed in her house when the attack came. If any of them left her house, they would be killed, and their blood would not be on the hands of the soldiers. Most of the promises of God have conditions. For instance, the Bible tells us if we give, God will see to it that we will receive back, The implication is that if we do not give we will not receive the blessing.

Some people have a hard time with that today. They say, “God can do whatever he wants. Why does he put conditions on promises? Why doesn’t he just give us what we need? The answer to that question for us is very much the same as it was for Rahab. She lived in the midst of the enemy. If she was in the place of God protection, the soldiers would know to leave her and her family alone. If any of them left that place, they put themselves in a place of vulnerability. I believe God gives us conditions to promises for the same reason. We live in the midst of the enemy. There are many things God can do but he chooses how he will do them. Whatever he requires is for our good and protection not to hinder us or make us prove our worth.

A limited example is the security issues we face today. It can be very frustrating when a website requires yet another password change or level of security. I use a debit card all the time and I travel a lot. I hate it when I am in another area and I try to use my card, but it is declined because of security protocols. I do not like to come up with another password or call the bank, but I understand that they are not doing it to frustrate me. They are doing those things to protect me because the problem of Identity theft or fraud is so dangerous.

The conditions on the promises God has written in the bible are for the same reason. We have and enemy and until the Lord comes, we live in his territory. God sets things up so that we can access his power and the enemy cannot hinder us. The conditions represent the umbrella of God’s covenant protection just as Rahab’s house represented the covenant the spies made with her. As long as they were in that house the devil could not do anything to hinder God from protecting them. If they went out, they left the covering of the covenant promise.

We have a covenant with God through Jesus Christ. The Bible is the book of the covenant. Jesus prayed in John 17 that God would not take us out of the world but that he would protect us while we are here. The reason for that is his desire for more and more children to be saved. We cannot preach to the world if we are not in the world. The world is under the curse of Adam’s sin. We have been delivered from that curse but we are still in the world so we can rescue God’s children by preaching the gospel to them. The Bible teaches us how to live in the middle of enemy territory and still walk in the full blessing of God. We simply follow the conditions of the promises in the bible and the devil cannot stop blessing from coming to us.

Do you remember that the spies gave Rahab one more condition? She had to make sure that her house was marked by the scarlet rope she used to lower them from her house. Scarlet is the color of blood. The scarlet rope was a type of the blood of Jesus. We have been marked by that blood. When the enemy looks at us, he knows we have a covenant with God. As long as we follow the direction we find in the Bible, we will always be safe and the promises will always come to pass in our lives. If we do not keep the conditions, I believe God will still do his best to bless and protect us. However, the farther we go from the Biblical requirements, the farther we go into enemy territory. That is risky.

Rahab did her best to fulfill the conditions of the promise. She brought her family into her house as soon as she thought the attack was coming. We see, however, that her deliverance did not come right away. Israel spent many days in their camp even after they crossed Jordan. We often think the time of fulfillment has come, only to discover we must wait still longer. Stay in the place of protection and blessing. God’s promises cannot fail if we do not give up.

One day Rahab saw what she had been hoping for. Israel left the camp with their whole army. Surely this was it! I can hear Rahab calling her family to the window. “Look! Here they come. We will be free very soon now.”

I am sure her family was in awe of the sight. Thousands of soldiers marching around the city. Sometimes we think they marched in absolute silence, but the Bible tells us that the whole time they marched the trumpets played. They did not talk but it was not silent. I am sure the soldiers of Jericho got ready. Maybe they prepared pots of boiling oil to pour down on the attackers. They made ready their bows, spears and swords. They made sure gates were secured and everyone was where they belonged. They were ready for the attack.

The Israelite army marched around the whole wall of the city. I am not sure how long it took, but it was a while I am sure. Rahab and her family are ready for their deliverance. They probably lived in fear of being discovered as having helped the enemy. Jericho prepared for battle. This was it. They had heard of the power of the God of Israel, but they were going to defend their home the best they could. I see them braced for the attack as the Israelites march. Israel makes a complete circuit of the city and then…..they go back to their camp.

Rahab and her family are confused and disappointed. They thought sure this had to be the day. Why would Israel march around the city and not attack? It made no sense. After the first day they had to choose if they would continue to believe God or not. They chose to stay in Rahab’s house and trust God’s word. Nevertheless, they must have been a bit shaken.

Jericho’s defenders do not know what to think. Is that all? What was that about? Nevertheless, they are elated. Maybe what they heard about Israel’s God was all exaggeration. Maybe they had never come against anything like the defenses of Jericho. Maybe they came out to attack but had lost heart when they saw the walls. After the first day, they were still concerned but their confidence had grown. No one really understood what was happening.

Many times, we have no idea what God is doing. It seems that something might happen then nothing does. Just because we do not know what God is doing does not mean he is doing nothing. Keep trusting him. We have a covenant promise. As long as Rahab was in her home with the scarlet rope out her window, she was safe. If we are walking under our covenant with Jesus and fulfilling the conditions of the promise, nothing can touch us. We will see God keep his word.

Just like Rahab, we are going to have to wait another day to find out what happens.

Heroes of Faith: Rahab and Waiting Faith 2

Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV) 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

In our last post, we began looking at the “harlot” Rahab. She was a resident of Jericho who hid the two Hebrew spies that came to the city on a reconnaissance mission prior to Israel’s attack on the city. Even though they were certainly not advertising what they were doing, Rahab recognized them and hid them from the King of Jericho even though turning them over would have meant great favor with the ruler.

We have learned some things about Rahab. Though the Bible says she was a harlot, the Hebrew word used can mean an innkeeper. It makes more sense that two Jewish spies would have gone to an inn to rest as opposed to a brothel. We see that she had flax on the roof of her business. She may have been involved in selling the flax to those who made material, or she may have woven it herself. She was an entrepreneur who was doing what she could to support herself.

We also saw that she chose the God of Israel over the safety of her city. She knew that God had given the city to them. This was contrary to what the first spies told Moses. They said the city was too strong and that Israel was like grasshoppers in the eyes of the inhabitants. She told the spies that everyone in the city was terrified of them. She chose God in her everyday life as opposed to choosing the flesh.

When she agrees to hide the spies, she tells them she wants something from them. She wants her and her family to be spared. We know the end of this story. We know what was going to happen. We know the walls were going to fall and that every living thing in the city would be killed. She did not. She did not really know what she was asking. All she knew was that God had given the city to Israel and she wanted their protection. What she got from the spies was a promise.

Joshua 2:14 (NKJV) 14 So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”

There was also a condition given with the promise.

Joshua 2:17-21 (NKJV) 17 So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. 19 So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.” 21 Then 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.

Most of the time our faith walk is like Rahab’s. Rahab chose the God of Israel. Hebrews 11 says she made this choice by faith. She acted on her faith by saving the spies. What she got in return was a promise. From that time until the Israelite soldiers rescued her from her house, she had no control over the situation. All she could do at that point was thank God and maintain her faith walk.

What could she do to cooperate with the promise? She could maintain her word to the spies by not telling the officials of Jericho that an attack was coming. It would have made no difference if Jericho knew about the spies. By the time Israel attacked everyone in Jericho knew they were coming. That did not matter. Rahab had given her word that she would not reveal what she knew.

The other thing she could do was let her parents know that when the time came, they had to come to her house without question. She might have told them why or she might not. I think she would not have risked telling them. Even though it would make no difference in the outcome of the battle if the king found out about her treachery, it would have probably ended in her death.

The only other thing she could do is wait. Most of the time when we go to God for help, we find a promise in the Bible that we can stand on but have no control over how God brings the result. We must wait for God to do what he said he would do. We have no idea how he is going to do it. We simply have to trust that he will. While we wait, we thank God for his Word and his faithfulness. If there is something we can do to put our selves in the right position to receive, we do those things. In the end we are at the mercy of God’s faithfulness and we must stand and believe that he will never let us down.

A great deal happened after the spies left Rahab. We know that it was three days after Joshua sent them out that Joshua went through the camp to find out if Israel was behind his leadership. After that there was the process of crossing the Jordan. I do not know how long it took, but it was more than a day.

After they crossed Jordan, God tells Joshua to circumcise all the males of Israel. This included those of fighting age. The Bible tells us that they stayed in the camp until they were healed. I do not know how long it takes for a grown man to heal from circumcision, but it was a while. As they were healing Joshua has the encounter with the Angel of the Lord and receives the battle plan for Jericho.

For all this time, Rahab must wait on God. She would have heard that Israel crossed the Jordan. The Bible tells us that the people heard how God dried up the river for them and they were even more afraid of Israel at that point.

I can see Rahab running to her family to tell them they must come to her house. If Israel has crossed Jordan the attack must be imminent. Many times, it looks like what we prayed for will happen very soon. Often it does not. Like Rahab, we are left to continue our waiting. I do not know if Rahab’s family stayed in her home until the actual attack. We do know they must have been there when the walls fell. I wonder what the conversation would have been like if they did.

I can hear her father saying, “Rahab, why are we here? You said it was important that we be in your house when Israel came. They crossed the river but they are not attacking. I want to go home!”

“Father please trust me. I know it doesn’t look like anything is happening, but I have a promise from their God. You must stay.”

“I will give it a little more time, but can’t you tell us what is going on. How do you know these things? How can you trust this foreign God and where did you get this promise?” She answers her father, “I can’t tell you how I know, I just know!”

Does any of that sound familiar? Have any of you had family or friends question you about God’s promises like Rahab’s father may have questioned her? I have. Most of the time it is not outward questions that are the problem. What would Rahab be thinking? The same as you and me I suspect.

Where is God and when will things change? How is God going to protect me? Did I really receive a promise? Can I trust the Word of the spies? In our case we must decide to continue trusting the Word of God, but the principle is the same. Much of our faith walk involves waiting. I hate to wait but it is an integral part of faith in God. Next time we will see the results of Rahab’s waiting faith.

Heroes of Faith: Rahab and Waiting Faith

Hebrews 11:30-31 (NKJV) 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

In our study of Hebrews 11, God’s Hall of Fame of Faith, we have come to Joshua and Rahab. In our last post we spent time looking at the faith of Joshua. Verse 30 of chapter 11 says that the walls of Jericho fell by the action of faith upon them.

In the taking of Jericho, Joshua was operating in a kind of faith we will call “active faith.” We see how active faith works in the story of what happened in Jericho. First God gave Joshua a Word. This was an active command from God. In his case it was delivered by an Angel. It may come from a Word from the Bible that God makes alive in your heart. It may come from the still small inner voice of God. It may come through prophecy or a sermon that speaks to you. The Greek word for this kind of direction from God is “rhema.”

There are two Greek words translated “word of God” in the New Testament. Logos means a word that God said, past tense. The Bible is the primary source of what God said. The Bible is always true. It contains everything we need to know about God and every promise for our life. We can stand on what God said and it will change our lives and circumstances. The word Rhema means what God is saying now

Active faith must start with a Rhema word of God. In Jericho, God spoke to Joshua through the angel. He gave him a plan to follow. Joshua followed the plan. He acted on the Word of God. The result was that in seven days the walls fell. You can see the force of faith being applied to the object obstructing the will of God and in a relative short time the results were manifest. I have applied active faith many times in my ministry. The results often took longer than 7 days, but they were actively obtained by hearing from God and acting on what I heard. I like active faith! It is usually spectacular as are the results. It is not the kind of faith we usually are required to walk in. There is another kind of faith we will call “passive faith.” Today we will begin to look at that.

Hebrews 11:31 says that Rahab did not perish with those who did not believed “when she received the spies.” It almost seems that it was the act of receiving the spies that saved her. The problem with that thought is that Hebrews 11 says she did not perish because of her faith. Receiving the spies was how Rahab released her faith in God. However, her faith worked very differently from Joshua’s. We are going to see how, and we will find that most of the time, our faith will be more like Rahab’s than Joshua’s. First let us find out about Rahab.

Joshua 2:1 (NKJV) 1 Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.

We see here that Joshua sent out two spies on a reconnaissance mission to the west side of Jordon. He wanted to know what they were up against. Of course, the first thing they see is the city of Jericho. It is not hard to understand that if the children of Israel are going to take Canaan, they must take Jericho, so they enter the city. They will need a place to stay. The Bible says they came to the house of a harlot named Rahab.

I have heard messages of how God could even use this “evil” harlot for his purposes. He protected her because she repented of her evil ways. I believe God’s love did reach out to her, but I do not see any repentance. What is even more interesting is why these men of Israel who were hand picked by Joshua would immediately find a house of prostitution. Did they get a little distracted from their mission? I hardly think so. We need to find out about this “harlot.”

The word translated “harlot” in this verse certainly means just that. It was the common term for a prostitute and for prostitution. In the Bible, it usually referred to spiritual prostitution with other gods. However, according to Adam Clarke’s Commentary it could also be used in another way. If a woman kept an inn, it would be assumed that she was of questionable character. She would often be called a “harlot.” I think it is likely that Rahab was such a woman.

We do not know what her character was. She may have included prostitution as part of her business. Again, I find it hard to believe that two trusted Israelite men would enter the city and go to a place the was against the holiness of God. One more piece of evidence comes from Matthew 1:5. Here we find that Rahab married a prince of Israel named Salmon. Would such an important man marry a common prostitute even if she had been reformed? Maybe, but I find it doubtful.

I think Rahab was probably a woman who was single for reason’s we do not know. As we read on in Joshua 2, it becomes clear she has a family. Verse 18 says she must bring herself, her father, her mother, her brothers and all her father’s family into her house when the time of deliverance comes. Could it be that she was helping to support these people? We do not know, but we do know that she hid the spies among flax drying on her roof.

I cannot completely prove this but it would seem that she ran an inn where travelers lodged. It makes far more sense that the two spies would have gone there to rest than they would have gone to a brothel. Flax was used to make cloth. Could she have been in the weaving business as well? She had a scarlet rope she used to lower the men to safety and as a sign when they returned. Colored dye was not cheap in the ancient world. Could she have traded in such things. I see a woman who is entrapreneurial doing many things to support herself and maybe her family. Her reputation probably was not good in the city. I see her as someone who did not care what people thought. She did what she had to. I am inclined to doubt that sex for money was part of her business.

Here are some other things we do know. Whatever brought the men to her caused her to be in position to make a choice. These Israelites came to her. They were simple travelers who went to an inn to rest and probably eat. They were not advertising who they were. Even so, Rahab recognized them. She knew they were Israelites and figured they were there to spy out the city as a prelude to attack.

Another interesting thing about Rahab is that the king of Jericho knew to look there for the Hebrew spies. It says that some of the king’s agents heard the spies were in the city. When he was told of this it says the “King of Jericho sent word to Rahab, “Send out the men who entered your house.” Does the mayor of the city know the madame of the brothels in the red-light district of town? Only if he has a “special relationship” with them. Rahab’s inn was known by the king himself.

Let us look at this for a moment. Spies have come to Rahab. The king knows they are there. It would give her great favor with the king if she sent them out. Instead she chose to hide them. Why would she do that? She tells us in verse 9

Joshua 2:9 (NKJV) 9 and said to the men: “I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.

Rahab makes a choice. She chooses the God of Israel over the safety of Jericho. Her faith puts her in position for one of the greatest stories of deliverance and restoration in the bible.

Heroes of Faith: Joshua and Aggressive Faith

Hebrews 11:30-31 (NKJV) Heb 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

We have been spending time looking at God’s Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11. We have studied several Old Testament Characters who God deemed worthy of inclusion among those who exhibited great faith. The reason for looking at them is to determine what made them hall of fame worthy. We have seen that it is not what they did which is emphasized here, but who they were and the characteristics of there lives and relationship with God that was important.

This is not a complete list of those who did great things by faith in God. Many that I might have included get no more than honorable mention. What God has done is give us a list of things we can cultivate in our own lives that will make our faith Hall of Fame caliber.

I want to move on to my favorite teaching from this list. I have shared this message all over the world and I want to share it with you over the next few posts. We see two people mentioned in today’s verse. One we are very familiar with and one we may only have heard about. We all know Joshua. By his faith in God, the greatest opposition to the destiny of God’s people Israel, was removed.

We find the story of how this happened in Joshua chapters 5 and 6. The people of Israel had come to the end of their journey from Egypt to Canaan. They had lost their great deliverer, Moses. Before he died, Moses anointed Joshua to take his place. This was no easy thing. Moses had done things no man had done before. We tend to think the people in the bible lived from miracle to miracle. The truth is that none of the people living at that time had seen God do anything remotely like a miracle. They had lived in Egypt for 400 years, much of it in bondage.

I can only imagine what they thought about the 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the pillar of fire and cloud. Imagine waking up every day to gather Manna from the ground or getting your water from a rock that follows you everywhere you go. All these things happened under the ministry of Moses. It is little wonder that the first thing God told Joshua after taking over from Moses was, “Fear not. Be very courageous.” Moses was a tough act to follow.

By the time we come to chapter 5 verse 13, God has assured Joshua that he will be with him as he was with Moses. The people told him they would be with him as well. He had led the people across the Jordan river. Moses led Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. Now Joshua lets everyone know that the same power is available to Joshua that was available to Moses. God dried up the Jordan river, which was at flood stage, so the people again crossed on dry ground.

What he sees when he gets to the west side of the Jordan River is the biggest, baddest city he has ever seen, and it was blocking their way. This city was known for its impregnable fortifications. The walls were so thick it was said you could race chariots on them. If they are going to take the promised land, they must get past Jericho.

As Joshua is preparing to move forward an angel of the Lord appears to him. I want to give you the first thing we learn from Joshua that set his faith apart. Joshua asks the angel, “Are you for us or against us.” The angel’s answer is not what most of us would want to hear.

Joshua 5:14 (NKJV) 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

The angel is not for or against any human being. He is there as the commander of God’s army. He is for the will of God, nothing more and nothing less. If we are going to have hall of fame faith, we need to understand that God is not going to move to validate us or to hurt other people. God’s power will manifest to accomplish his will and build his kingdom. Jesus said something similar in Matthew 6.

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Jesus lets us know that the Father knows what we need. If we seek his Kingdom first, everything else will fall into place. There are times when people set themselves against God and as a result the establishment of his Kingdom can be a problem for them. However, as far as you and I are concerned our faith is to establish God’s kingdom. If that happens everyone who flows with God or repents so they get into a flow with God will be blessed. Hall of Fame faith builds the Kingdom of God and not our own kingdom.

In Joshua’s case, it was the will of God that Israel occupy the promised land of Canaan. The Kingdom of God required this to happen so the “Commander of the Lords Army” was there to help them accomplish that goal. I have often thought of the plan that God gave Joshua and how it might be received at a church board meeting today. The angel tells Joshua that he is to take his whole army out and march around the city.

The angel continues by saying they should march around the walls once a day for six days. How is this going to help them take the city? I believe the plan of God was for them to be absolutely certain they could not take the city by their natural power. They had to look at the wall for many hours a day for six long days. They would have known every brick. They would have seen how tall it was. They would have seen the enemy soldiers ready to stop them. The enemy was afraid of Israel because of what God had done. They were probably quiet at first but as Israel kept marching without attacking, I imagine they would have started to hurl insults from the safety of the wall.

This was to go on for six days and on the seventh day they would march around the whole city seven times. During this whole process the musicians were playing the trumpets. Every Israelite soldier had his ears tuned to the sound of the trumpet. He could not mistake what it was. On the seventh time there was to be a long blast of the trumpet and Israel would shout a great shout. When they did the walls would fall and they would march straight into the city as one man. They would completely destroy the city and everyone in it.

I can hear the elders now. “Um Joshua, that’s an interesting plan. You say an angel appeared and gave it to you. Well, that’s great but I’m not sure how it’s going to work. Do you have details. Maybe a weapon we do not know about?” When Joshua says, “No that’s all the angel said.” I can see them asking for a vote on Joshua’s fitness to lead! In the end they followed Joshua, and everything happened exactly as the angel said it would.

In Joshua’s case. hall of fame faith came from hearing a supernatural plan in a supernatural way, carrying out that plan and seeing the almighty power of God change everything in a moments time. I like that kind of faith. We will call it aggressive faith. We hear from God; we act on his word and we see the impossible. Sometimes that is how God will use us. However, I am sure you have found that those times are not the norm. There is another person mentioned in today’s verse. Her name is Rahab and her hall of fame faith works in a very different way. I believe most of the time our faith must be more like Rahab’s than Joshua’s. We will learn about her next time.