Joshua: An Unlikely Story of Salvation

Joshua 2:1-24

Visiting his grandparents, a small boy opened the
big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered
through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell
out. He picked it up and found that it was an old
leaf that had been pressed flat between the pages.
“Mama, look what I found, ” he called out. “What have you got there, dear?” his mother asked.”
With astonishment in his voice, the boy
answered, “I think it’s Adam’s underwear!”

We have seen how God selected Joshua to be Moses’
successor to lead the nation of Israel. He was God’s man, it was God’s Plan and it was the fulfillment of God’s Promise. We also saw how God helped Joshua and His people prepare to cross the Jordan.

Today we are going to see an unlikely story of Salvation.
Our text is found in the second chapter of Joshua.

Most of us know the story of Rahab pretty well. We also know that she is in the lineage of David and that she is listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11.
James writes that she was justified by works when she sheltered the spies.

My premise for this sermon is that God selected Rahab to give the Gentiles (you and me) hope unto salvation. He provided mercy and grace to an unlikely, undeserving prostitute. His grace is sufficient for all who would believe and call upon His name.

Let’s begin by reading Joshua 2:1

Joshua sends out two spies to scout out the land of Jericho.

This should sound familiar to you because in Numbers
13-14 we read about Moses sending out spies to view the land of Canaan. If you remember that story correctly, Moses sent out 12 spies. And only two of them gave a good report. Everyone else was worried about the size of the people who were possessing the land. The two who gave the good report understood that God had already given them the land.

It’s the same here in Joshua. Spoiler alert: Israel is going to conquer Jericho, but not like they think. They are actually going to march around the city and shout
and overtake the city.

My point – this story isn’t so much about the scouting out of the city. It’s a divine encounter between a prostitute and the one true God.

Why did the spies end up at Rahab’s place?
God directed them there. He had already been working in the life of Rahab.
We will see it more clearly very soon.
But the truth is…
God Chose Rahab
He led the spies directly to her house and she welcomed them in.

Joshua 2:2-7

Here’s how we know God was at work in Rahab.
When the king sent word to her that the two men who
had come in to her were spies from Israel, she risked her life by hiding them and saying she didn’t know where they had come from or where they had gone to.

Rahab Protects the Spies

Why would this prostitute risk her life to protect men from another country that would eventually overthrow the entire city? God’s Providence.
Why would she lie to the king’s men and hide the spies in her house? God had plans for Rahab. Plans bigger than her, plans to show that His grace and mercy is bigger than race, nationality, color.

Rahab took the spies to the rooftop and told them to hide behind the stalks of flax on the roof.

They were safe there until the king’s men left to go look for them elsewhere.

Joshua 2:8-11

Rahab’s Faith

Rahab states that she knows the Lord has given the land to the Israelites. She also knows the terror that her people have experienced. They too, are aware that God has promised them their land and it will be theirs because when God makes a promise, God keeps a promise. She also knew that their courage had melted away. They have nothing to hold onto. They are doomed to fall to Israel.

How do you think Rahab knew all of this?
God has made it known to her.

Plus, she has also heard of how God led them across the Red Sea on dry ground. That miracle wasn’t kept a secret. Rahab heard about it and it helped her to know God is real.

They also heard of how they conquered the two kings of the Amorites in Sihon and Og. And how they utterly destroyed them. God was with them.

Most importantly, she recognized God as the one true
God. She professes Him with her mouth, saying He is
God and the God in heaven above and on earth beneath. This coming from a pagan who would have worshiped many gods. None could do what the God of heaven could do. He has chosen her and she has responded in faith.

Joshua 2:12-16

Rahab Protects her Family

Rahab uses the kindness she has shown the spies as leverage to receive protection from them when they return to conquer the city. She even asks them to swear by the Lord that they will return the kindness and keep her safe.

She wasn’t doing this for herself, she wanted to protect her loved ones. She was thinking of her parents, her brothers and sisters.

She directs the spies where to go to be safe from the king’s men and lets them know how long the search will last. She gives them everything they need to be safe.

Joshua 2:17-22

Spies Give 3 Conditions for Rahab

The spies agree to keep Rahab and her family safe if three conditions are met.

1.She must tie a scarlet cord in the window she let the spied down
2.Gather her entire family in her house. If anyone goes out they are not responsible for their death.
3.Keep it a secret. She must not tell anyone the plan. If she does, the agreement is off.

Joshua 2:23-24

Now when the 2 spies returned they had nothing but good things to report to Joshua. They were convinced that the Lord was giving Jericho into their hands and that the inhabitants were going to melt away before them.

God had shown them that He had done the work and
prepared the way for them.

They only had to have faith.


I found some insights about Rahab in a prayer letter from Mary Tapley, who works with Campus Crusade for Christ. Mary wrote, “She proved to be a
woman that God had completely prepared to put her faith in Him. She was already convinced of His existence and knew of His character (Josh. 2:11).
When the spies came to her house, she immediately allied herself with God.”

In her letter, Mary then told about witnessing to her new friend, Bliss. When she first talked with her about Jesus, Mary moved cautiously, not wanting to scare her away. But Bliss was ready, and before that initial conversation was over she
asked Mary,

“Will you teach me how to become a Christian?” In a few moments she was on her knees, asking Jesus to forgive her sins and become her Savior.

Rahab was ready, and Bliss was ready. Around you may be people who are ready to trust in Christ. Maybe all they need is a word from you! By: David C.
Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted
by permission. All rights reserved)

This was an unlikely story of salvation, but isn’t everyone? None of us are worthy of God’s mercy and grace. None of us deserve His love. We are all sinners.

Here’s the takeaway.

We don’t get to decide who gets to hear the good news. Share the Good News
God wants us to share it with those He puts in our path. Failing to share when God prompts us is disobedience.

Who is He asking you to share with?
Will you share your story or share His story?