We have only lived here on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation for a couple of years. In those years, I can’t count how many times we have had strangers come to our door for help. We live right at the church, literally. People see the church and know they can get help. Many times the knock comes in the middle of night, when there is nowhere else to go for help. The latest knock came one Sunday morning, when we were getting ready for church. A young man, probably right out of high school, had been out the night before with friends. Apparently, he had too much to drink and passed out. The next morning he woke up wet and cold in a field near our house. He was confused and scared. He managed to walk over a barbed wire fence and find his way to our house. At some point, he received an injury to his nose, but he couldn’t tell us if it was from falling or if someone had done that to him. We were able to get in touch with his mother, who was working a night shift thinking her son was at home with the rest of the family. It was a very scary situation for this young man. It was the beginning of winter and he understood that he could have died in that field. During the time at our house, my husband was able to share how the mercy and grace of God spared him from a fate more terrible. He was able to tell him about Christ at a time when he needed it most.
You never know how a knock on the door can change your life. In Joshua 2, a knock on the door came for Rahab, a harlot in Jericho. She allowed two men to lodge at her house that forever changed her life. Let’s look at Joshua 2:1-7.
Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, and view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.” Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.
Joshua had sent two spies to Jericho to get an idea of what would be necessary to overtake Jericho. From early passages, God had given this land to the Israelites. They just needed to take it. So these two men went for lodging and cover at Rahab’s house. With Rahab’s profession of being a harlot, two out-of-town men staying there would not be that suspicious. However, the king of Jericho got wind that there were spies in the neighborhood and someone saw them go to Rahab’s house. So the king sent men to capture the spies. Did Rahab give them up? No. Why? Let’s read on. Joshua 2:8-13.
Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 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. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”
Rahab had heard all about the Israelites. Not only of the Israelites, but she had heard of the God of the Israelites. When she heard about God, she and her family believed in God. She knew what the Israelites were about to do to those in Jericho and begged for the men to spare her and her family’s life. Do you believe this was just a coincidence? She begins to believe in God and then these two Israelite men come to her house. This was not by chance. God had a plan for Rahab, the harlot, and wanted her spared from death. If you look at Matthew 1:5, you will notice that Rahab’s name is mentioned in the Genealogy of Christ. She was the mother of Boaz, who was the kinsman redeemer of Ruth. Her legacy stretched through time so much that she is still having an effect on people. This was not a chance knock on the door. God planned it, just like how He plans for people to come into our lives. Let’s continue quickly and look at the response of spies. Joshua 2: 14, 17-21.
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.”
So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 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. 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. And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.” 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.
The Israelites gave her a chance to be saved. She had saved their lives. In return, they would spare her family if she hung a scarlet cord in the window and remained inside during the siege. Rahab did not waste any time. When they left, she hung the cord up and waited to be spared.
Rahab is mentioned in Hebrews 11:31 for her faith. She answered the knock at the door and received the two young men with peace. What we think is chance encounters, may be God giving us an opportunity to change our lives dramatically. God did not leave her to perish when she began to believe. Instead, he gave her an opportunity to act on her faith. She took that challenge without a hesitation. What opportunity has God given to you today? Who is knocking on your door?