Joshua 2:1-24: Difficult Decisions

Read: Joshua 2:1-24

Rahab was a prostitute that lived on the walls of Jericho that allowed the men from Israel to “lodge” at her home. She somehow found out that they were from Israel, and apparently this fact leaked and reached the ears of the king. Rahab was faced with a difficult decision: expose the spies that had come into Jericho and face certain retribution from God or hide the spies from her own king and face possible retribution from her own king. She chose the latter, but in doing so had to make a decision to deceive her king. Rahab and all that were in Jericho and the surrounding area had heard about the awesomeness of God and what God had done for the Israelites in the desert and at the Red Sea. After lying about their presence, she strikes a deal with the spies asking for favor when Israel attacks the city in exchange for hiding them. She honors her side as the Israelites honor theirs (Joshua 6:17,23,25).

Some, however, may question whether or not Rahab was right in lying about the spies or not. The Bible does command the people of God to submit to governments. Governments that exist are established by God and the ones in authority are God’s servants for good. One that rebels against them brings judgment on themselves (Romans 13:1-7). But one has to realize though that the ultimate authority for government is God – that is even those one authority are still subject God’s authority. Sometimes, men in positions of authority make commands that run contrary to the commands of God. In these cases, one has to ask, does one obey man or does one obey God? On two occasions the disciples were brought before the authorities and told not to preach about Jesus. On both occasions, the disciples said that they must obey God rather than man, and they did so (Acts 4:19-20; Acts 5:27-32). Rahab, like the disciples, recognized the authority of God over the authority of man and acted. What is even more interesting is the redemption of Rahab. James 2:25 and Hebrews 11:31 cite her actions as evidence for her faith in God. By all counts, Rahab would not be considered a “good” person because of her occupation and the fact that she lied, but when Rahab is remembered in the scriptures, she is remembered as a woman of faith. And if that wasn’t enough, Rahab is also mentioned in Matthew 1:5 as one of the ancestors of Jesus himself. Rehab is not the only person in the Bible who was faced with difficult decisions. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel all had to consider the consequences of worshipping God. They chose to continue to worship God and were thrown into a fiery furnace because of it (Daniel 2-3). The Egyptian midwives lied about having babies and were blessed by God because they protected the babies (Exodous 1:15-21). The Pharisees attempted to corner Jesus about healing on the Sabbath in John 7, and Jesus said it was better to do good on the Sabbath than be legalistic about it.

In any case, Rahab’s actions do not make lying right — the Bible is clear that lying is a sin. But there are certainly occasions when one has to make a difficult choice, and in some cases the choice is not clear, as it may require one to seemingly commit sin in order to maintain faith and have obedience in God. In any case, the acts of Rahab were courageous and did maintain her faith in God because of her deeds. When faced with difficult decisions, Christians have to consider the circumstances and act, and sometimes there is not a whole lot of time to mull over and weigh the options. In such circumstances it is certainly best to side with God and seek him above all else!

Lord, help to make tough decisions when they come!