the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”
This he knew, but the impressive circumstance was mentioned to awaken his mind to a sense of his own responsibility and the need of his at once proceeding to act. The deaths of good men are calls to others to bestir themselves.
This was easier said than done; but Joshua’s faith staggered not. He knew that the Lord was master of the river as he had been of the sea.
Here were exceeding great and precious promises to cheer him. A promise of conquest in war, guidance upon the judgment seat, and of blessing for himself personally. The Lord abounds in tender promises. May he, by the Holy Spirit, speak home some gracious word to our hearts. It would be a joy, indeed, to hear him say, “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
The oath and covenant of God are a mainstay to faith, hence the Lord mentions them to his servant. There is no better rock of confidence than the immutable promise of a faithful God.
It seems, then, that it needs strength and courage to be obedient to God. Some count the godly cowards, but the Holy Spirit thinketh not so. He is a brave man who is afraid to sin, and he is a hero who flees youthful lusts which war against the soul. Note that Joshua was to avoid a turn to the right hand as much as a turn to the left: we are no more permitted to offend with the view of doing more good, than with the idea of doing mischief.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, talk about it
but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, think about it
that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein, practise it
for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success, rejoice in it
Before the Lord obedience is prosperity, and transgression is a root of bitterness. In order to practical obedience, however, there must be a delight in the Lord’s law. Those who forget to meditate soon cease to obey, in fact their heart has never been truly in accord with the divine statutes.
Where God’s command is our authority we can afford to be bold. Who shall gainsay us when the Lord of Hosts gives us leave? Fear, in such a case, is dishonour to our Invincible Commander. When the Lord is on his side, confidence is but the reasonable condition of a believing man.
By faith I on thy strength lay hold,
And walk in Christ my way,
Divinely confident and bold
Thy precepts to obey.
I would perform thy utmost will,
With heart most fixed and true;
And dare to follow onward still
Where Jesus bids me go.
We of Jehovah’s wrath have heard
The thunders from above;
And trusting his prophetic word,
Take refuge in his love.
Now in the window of our soul
The scarlet line we tie;
When judgment o’er the earth shall roll,
Its sword shall pass us by.
“By grace are ye saved through faith.”
AS it is not possible to divide this narrative at an appropriate place, we must take, on this occasion, a little extra time for our reading.
There is no pretence for believing that Rahab was, originally, better than her name implies. She had been a sinful woman, but God’s grace had appeared to her and enabled her to believe in Jehovah, the only living and true God. Perhaps, on this account, she began to practise hospitality, and therefore, when the two men came to the city gates she was waiting to give them shelter. At any rate, providence cooperated with grace, and brought the believing woman into communication with those who could secure her safety. It was a work of faith on her part to receive the spies.
Israel’s enemies do not sleep, but keep good watch, and we also may rest assured that Satan and his legions will soon find us out if we go to war with his kingdom.
This must have been a trying moment for Rahab, and she had at once to decide whether she would give up her country or her God: whatever error she committed in her mode of action, her decision for the living God had no flaw in it.
This was a gross falsehood, and is not to be regarded in any other light. Her faith was weak, and therefore she adopted a wrong plan for accomplishing a right thing. We may not lie under any circumstances; but Rahab was very imperfectly aware of this. Orientals do not condemn, but rather admire clever deceit, and therefore her conscience did not condemn her upon this point. This fact shows that although faith may be marred by failings, it will save the soul if it be sincere.
Does not this look as if she had already, through her faith, become a virtuous and industrious woman, diligent in business proper to her sex? Vice is very seldom industrious.
Rahab had effectually misdirected the pursuers, and lulled to sleep all suspicion against herself. Her success does not, however, justify her deceit. Whether it succeed or fail, falsehood is always wrong.
She avowed her faith and gave her reasons for it, reasons which show that she had diligently gathered all information, had been a shrewd observer, and was fully convinced that Jehovah alone was the true God, ruling both in heaven and earth. She had heard no sermons, and seen neither Moses nor the prophets, and yet she believed. She will surely rise up in judgment against those, who, living in the midst of the means of grace, remain unbelievers still.
She sued for her own life, but like a true child of God she did not forget her kindred. One of the certain results of grace in the heart is a holy care for others. Grace and selfishness are as opposite as light and darkness. O may none of us forget to pray for our fathers, and mothers, and brethren, and sisters. May we live to see the whole family saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.
Thus she obtained a promise of safety at once, and it was couched in very cheering words. “We will deal kindly and truly with thee.” This is the manner in which the Lord Jesus deals with all who put their trust in him.
When the men were leaving her they gave her a token, and made with her an agreement which is full of instruction. The scarlet line was to her house what the blood upon the lintel was to Israel in Egypt: the blood-red standard is the national flag of believers. Those who would share with God’s people must enlist under their banner, and therefore Rahab was instructed to hoist the sacred ensign. Safely was promised to all beneath the scarlet line, but to none else, however near and dear to her they might be. The like benefits belong to Christian households. Those of us who believe in Jesus, and rest in his precious blood, will be saved, but none besides. O let us see to it that we do not rest content until we lodge where the blood-red standard is displayed, for that house alone will stand when all others fall with a crash. In Jesus we must dwell, if we would escape the general doom. The sole token by which our faith realises her security is the blood of the covenant.
She complied with the stipulation. We must neglect no gospel command, however trifling it may seem to those who understand it not. By a public profession of faith we must bind the scarlet cord in the window. Neither Baptism, nor the Lord’s Supper, nor any other Gospel statute must be neglected, and we must note well that the gospel runs thus He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.
In Rahab’s case faith was most prominent, as Paul reminds us in Hebrews 11:31.
James 2:25 , James 2:26
But at the same time good works were not wanting, for we are reminded of the practical nature of her faith in James 2:25, James 2:26.