Yesterday we said goodbye to Moses.
Left him on Mt. Nebo,
overlooking the Promised Land as he took his final breath.
We turned the page on the early history of the Israelites,
completing our reading of the first five books of the Old Testament.
Forty years in the wilderness slipped by for us in just a couple of months,
but for the Israelites these years were long and tiring.
Today, Joshua takes center stage.
God promises to be with him just as he was with Moses
and the people promise to do everything he commands.
The Promised Land is just across the Jordan,
and I can only imagine how eager the Israelites are to enter it.
I wonder sometimes if they were surprised to discover that even this land wouldn’t be theirs without a fight.
Joshua, who had been promised “every place the sole of his feet would tread” sends two spies to “scout out the land.”
Aren’t battles easier to face when we know what we’re up against?
This morning, I’m thinking of so many people I know and love who are facing battles.
Loss of a loved one
Loss of a job
The list is endless.
If only we could send spies ahead of us to bring back word of what we’ll encounter next.
Rahab enters the Israelite story,
a prostitute who risks her life in order to hide the two men investigating her city.
Somewhere along the way,
she has heard the story of the Israelite people.
And she quickly acknowledges the fact that God is going to give them the land in which she and her family live.
Maybe this is what the spies needed more than anything –
Verbal confirmation from enemy territory that the victory was already theirs.
Don’t we need that today?
Don’t we need to know that no matter what we’re up against,
God is already there?
Announcing our victory to the enemy.
Joshua knew the battle was theirs.
The Israelites knew too.
But there had to be something incredibly empowering about hearing someone on the other side say,
“I know the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us.”
I’m thankful this morning that I don’t need a spy to go ahead of me.
Jesus already did.
He conquered death and won the final victory before I even reached the battle line.
The Promised Land is already mine.
The Promised Land is yours too.
So today, we can face whatever this world hurls at us, with confidence,
because the scarlet cord of Rahab hangs from the enemy’s window as a reminder –
even he knows the war has already been won.
This scarlet cord protected Rahab and her family.
But this morning, this same cord reminds me we are protected too.