Fear or Faith

“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.” Joshua 2:11

When anyone hears what things God has done it will produce either fear or faith in the hearer. This is why sharing personal testimony of what God has done in our lives will always produce a response. That response may not always be expressed immediately.

The people of Jericho had known of the miraculous escape of Israel from Egypt for forty years. They knew of the judgments against the Egyptian gods and of the Red Sea crossing with its destruction of the Egyptian army. They had also heard of the victories over other kingdoms on Israel’s way to Canaan. By the time Joshua sent in the two spies the people of Jericho were very sensitive to Israel’s presence..

When they received the news that Israel had miraculously crossed the flooded river Jordan without getting their feet wet, fear rose in their hearts. All the people of Jericho received the same news but not all responded to that news in the same way. Very likely they all responded in fear but for one family that fear turned to faith.

The people of Jericho knew that the might of Egypt and its gods had not been able to withstand Israel and the Lord yet they chose to trust in the gods, walls and military power of the city. Only Rahab turned from fear to faith. She chose to abandon the former objects of trust and trust the God of Israel of whom she had been hearing all her life. It is very likely she was born many years after Israel came out of Egypt.

Making this decision was not without risk. Rahab wanted her family to be safe as well. For that to happen she would have to tell them the covenant she had made with the spies. Anyone of her family could have turned her in and she would have been killed as a traitor. Further evidence of her new faith is seen in that she was able to keep all her family in her home for at least a couple of weeks. During all this time the scarlet cord hung from her window (2:21).

Rahab and her family were saved because they demonstrated their faith by doing what was asked of them. If they had not obeyed the terms of the covenant they would not have been saved. This is an oft repeated principle in the Bible. As James writes, “faith without works is useless” (James 2:20).

We know our faith is genuine when we are willing to risk all to obey the word of the Lord. Like Rahab we will risk even our lives in order that our loved ones might be saved. When we share the Gospel of Christ along with our own testimony it will produce fear in the hearts of the hearer but, in God’s grace, for some that fear will turn to faith.

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