Fearing God

Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’”—Joshua 2:1 (NKJV)

Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land had begun. Instead of an all-out invasion, Joshua decided it would be wise to send a reconnaissance mission to spy out the land in advance. In particular, they were to scout out the city of Jericho—the first stronghold that Israel’s forces would need to target given its strategic position in land.

Two spies were sent out. They secretly made their way to the city of Jericho and lodged in the home of a woman named Rahab who had a background that we might consider to be “colorful.” She wasn’t what most people would consider to be the most likely spiritual ally. 

As it turns out, the spies’ presence was detected, and they were seen entering Rahab’s home. Word of this reached the king of Jericho, who commanded Rahab to give up her two visitors. Rather than obey the king, she hid them and concocted a story about them vanishing into the night. That was a gutsy move on Rahab’s part; if her deception had been uncovered, she surely would have been punished. 

Why did she risk her well-being for the sake of these spies? We don’t have to guess, because she tells us herself in Joshua 2:9-11 (NKJV): “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. 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.”

She, along with the rest of the city, had heard about the miraculous exploits that God had performed on Israel’s behalf. Everyone there knew something supernatural was happening with these people, and it caused great fear in Jericho. But here’s the important thing we see with Rahab, and why she risked her life to save the spies . . . she feared God more than anything else. And because she did, she was willing to side with God rather than man, regardless of the risk.

We can’t condone her lying, but we ought to follow her example when it comes to fearing God above man. There will be times when we’ll be tested and tempted to side with what man wants us to do and with what’s popular, expedient, and convenient. But like Rahab, and the apostles in Acts, our soul needs to be made of sterner stuff. We need to be people who understand and live by the principle that it is always better to please God instead of man.

DIG: What was Rahab’s reason for protecting the Israelite spies?

DISCOVER: How ought we follow her example?

DO: How have you been tested or tempted to fear man above God? Consider how you can learn and grow from this experience.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.