Grace: Joshua 2

Coincides with Sunday, September 11, 2016

The story of being sent on their mission to Jericho becomes the story of Rahab, the redeemed prostitute. In the re-telling of the Old Testament story through Christ, Rahab becomes an important figure. She is the second of two women mentioned in the New Testament (the first played the role of a prostitute while Rahab actually was one), and then is listed as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11.

Preliminary question

  • Which position do you think people most generally assume: judges or grace-givers?

TAKING IN: Understanding

  • What are the repeated words and ideas?
  • What is the mission of the spies?
  • Who is the main character in the story? (Hint: observe who speaks the most.)
  • The LORD (capitals) is the English translation of Yahweh. Who speaks about Yahweh in this story? What is said about him?
  • What is the promise that Rahab receives? Who will be included in her salvation?
  • Compare the mission of these spies with those sent out 40 years earlier in Numbers 13:17-20? How are the two missions different? How do the conclusions differ? (See Joshua 2:24 and Numbers 13:31-33.)
  • Observe the repeated phrase, “search out the land” (2:2-3). They didn’t really “search out the land” (in this story). What do you think they were really exploring? What did they discover?
  • Why do you think the spies went to Rahab’s house?
  • In Hebrews 11:31, Rahab is mentioned as someone with faith. How does she express her faith?
  • What do you think the scarlet cord represents?
  • Context: in the book of Joshua, this is the FIRST story about Israel’s interaction with Canaanite people. As the first story, in what way do you think it is significant?

LIVING OUT: Applying

  • This first story of Israel entering Canaan demonstrates the principle of “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). In what ways should this set a tone for Christian living and for church community?
  • Which comes easier to you: mercy or judgment?
  • What do you learn from Rahab?
  • In the first spy story (Numbers 13-14), the spies had unbelief because they saw the obstacles. In this one, they had faith because of what they heard from a prostitute. (Observe that their words to Joshua in verse 24 are similar to Rahab’s words to them in verse 9.) What do you learn from these differing results?
  • Like Noah’s ark, Rahab’s “house” is a picture of the church, set apart in world subject to God’s judgment. Share together as a group about how we can get more and more people into this “house.” 
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