This week’s treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson (for June 19) is written by Don Hinkle, pastor at Yucaipa (California) Christian Church.
God Protects His People (Joshua 2:2-9, 15, 16, 22-24)
By Don Hinkle
Joshua 2 would make an amazing film. It has all the ingredients—spies, intrigue, a double cross, humor (“I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly”—Joshua 2:5), midnight escapes, secret deals, and chase scenes. God is at work protecting his people throughout the entire story.
What makes this account so appealing is seeing exactly who God’s people are. Are they the “two spies from Shittim” (that could be the title of the movie)—are those men God’s people? Yes.
What about the nation Joshua is leading into the promised land—wouldn’t they be part of the forever family? Yes, obviously. God has brought them safely through 40 years of wilderness training. He has fed them, kept their clothes from rotting and their sandals from wearing out, and brought them victory over the Amorite kings. Absolutely, they are God’s people.
A tragic part of this story is God was ready to do many more things, but the people’s faith faltered. One reason Joshua is told “be strong and courageous” four times in the first chapter is because the Israelites have a history of being fearful and not moving ahead. Rahab indicates a generation of Jericho inhabitants knew that once God’s people finished whatever they were doing out in the desert and came across the river, they (the Jerichoians—is there such a word?) would lose everything.
It’s good to know God protects his people even when they miss opportunities. It’s also helpful to recognize the moments God is calling us to trust him and move ahead. Too often we’re spinning our wheels in the deserts of discussion rather than stepping out.
Clearly Joshua, the spies, and the people of Israel are under God’s protection. But was Rahab included? Was she part of “his people”? It would seem so. A New Testament writer says she welcomed the spies by faith and, in so doing, demonstrated obedience to God (Hebrews 11:31). Her trust transformed the lives of her extended family.
When and how Rahab eventually met her husband, Salmon, isn’t known. Matthew 1:6 says she became the mother of Boaz, the great-grandfather of David. It’s evident she became part of God’s family.
God’s desire is that all people recognize his claim on their lives. It is important to treat all people with that thought in mind. No one we meet will be an ancestor of Jesus like Rahab was—you did figure that out, right? Rahab (a one-time prostitute, clearly not a good career path) is part of the genealogy of the Messiah.
If we met Rahab today, it’s unlikely we would bring up her past because of her connection to Jesus. We need to be able to both love and confront people with his grace—treat them “kindly and faithfully” (Joshua 2:14).
In God’s mind, Rahab was part of “his people”—and in protecting her, he was, through Jesus, protecting all who would come after her, and that includes us.
Why would the king have known what was going on at Rahab’s house?
If you knew the enemy was melting in fear because of your faith, what would you choose to do?
Why do you suppose the spies wanted Rahab to use a scarlet cord?
What has God given you that you’ve not used yet?
If “Prostitute” was on a sign Rahab held in her past—what word or phrase would have been on the other side?
*Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.
|HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS|
|June 13: 2 Corinthians 1:16-20|
|June 14: Joshua 21:43—22:6|
|June 15: Joshua 2:10-14|
|June 16: Joshua 2:17-21|
|June 17: Joshua 6:22-25|
|June 18: James 2:18-25|
|June 19: Joshua 2:2-9, 15, 16, 22-24|
ABOUT THE LESSON WRITER: Don Hinkle, pastor at Yucaipa (California) Christian Church for the past 18 years, is a lover of Old Testament stories, and has not yet made it to the Holy Land. He is a father of three, all of whom are involved in church ministry; he considers this his best ministry accomplishment.