The Scarlet Cord

As we enter into a new year, I am praying for a year of personal breakthrough, both for myself and for my readers.  I often become fearful as to how I will manage my finances and how I will make it through another year as a single mom of three growing teenagers.  There are very real fears that grip me when I try to plan and predict how to remain in control of my bills, maintain my home, and stay focused and successful at my workplace.  I have heard it said that 85 percent of what we worry about will never happen.  Still, the possibility of calamity feels very real.

I don’t know what your fears are today.  Maybe they are related to health, finances, relationships, or to all of the above.  Maybe the fears that grip you concern ailing parents, lack of security or threats of terrorism and natural disasters.  Whatever fears you harbor, tie them to the scarlet cord of Jesus. I believe the Bible has a very simple, yet clear answer as to how we should handle our troubles.  Our heavenly father calls us to have faith.  He calls us in Isaiah not to fear.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

In the book of John we are encouraged in this way.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

A clear example of faith in the Bible, comes to us through the story of Rahab found in Joshua 2 and 6. I would encourage you to read it for yourself and to ask the Lord to speak to you through it.  Rahab’s journey begins with fear.  She is living in Jericho which has always been a well-fortified city and a bastion of strength and power for those who live within its walls.  Yet, within those walls are very real problems.  Rahab, for one, works as a prostitute; a clear indicator that she has a real need for finances.  Still, she is not the type of prostitute one might expect.  She is not estranged from the ones closest to her. She loves her family.  In fact, she goes out of her way to protect all of her family and to keep them from harm’s way when the walls of Jericho crumble.

When Joshua sent two spies to spy out the Promised Land for the Israelites, they ended up at Rahab’s home adjacent to the walls that were bound to come down.  She made a deal with the spies to protect them in exchange for the protection of her family.  She had faith that caused her to believe in the God of Israel and in his power to defeat her people.

So the spies agreed to the bargain.  The most beautiful part of the story to me is the way in which Rahab’s family is protected.  She agrees to hang the same “scarlet cord” that she used to help the spies as a mark signifying that her home is to be protected.

Jesus’ blood is our scarlet cord.  When we grow weary and concerned and the walls protecting us seem to crumble and collapse, we have a scarlet cord to hang from our lives signifying to God that we are covered by the blood of Jesus.

When I first heard this story, it was pointed out to me how sinful Rahab was, but how the Lord redeemed her.  While this may be true, the knowledge that she brought “her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her” (Joshua 6:23b) speaks of someone beyond merely a sinful prostitute. She is a woman who has faith in God and a desire to protect those she loves.  Since Jericho’s collapse, Rahab has been remembered as a woman of great faith as documented in the Hall of Faith chapter in Hebrews.

His Word tells us…

When Rahab encounters the spies, she tells them of the fear gripping her people.

When we [the Canaanites] heard it [how the Lord your God was with you], our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. – Joshua 2:11

Once Rahab makes an agreement with the spies, she follows through on her commitment.

And she tied the scarlet cord in the window. – Joshua 2:21b

Then, she and her family are spared.

But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.- Joshua 6:25

Faith is defined in the Hall of Faith chapter.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. –Hebrews 11:1

Finally, Rahab is noted for her faith.

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. –Hebrews 11:31

Let’s Pray…

Heavenly Father,

Help us to remember the legacy of Rahab who took action in the face of her fears.  Help give us the faith to trust in You and not to fear when we feel the potential for walls in our lives to crumble.

I pray that this year would be a year of breakthrough for my readers as well as for myself.  Protect us and watch over us.  Help our hearts not to be troubled as we put our trust more and more in you.  We lay our fears at the feet of Jesus and ask that you would bless us and redeem us.  We pray that in our troubles, our faith will grow and be an encouragement to those around us that You are on the throne and that You are the only cord of safety worth holding on to.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

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