The Scarlet Chord

So the men said to her . . . ‘bind this line of scarlet cord in the window . . .’”—Joshua 2:17-18 (NKJV) 

Rahab was in a difficult position. In fact, you could say it was impossible. On one hand, she was convinced that the God of the Israelites was unlike the other deities of her ancient world. He was the true and living God, capable and committed to bringing just judgment upon the earth. On the other hand, as a resident of Jericho, she lived among the people God was about to bring judgment upon, a judgment she knew to be just.

You can see her dilemma. But just as He always does, the Lord provided a way of salvation. The spies, recognizing Rahab’s trust in their God, told her to tie a scarlet cord to her window that would be visible to every onlooker. They told her, “And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear” (Joshua 2:19-21 NKJV). The Bible says Rahab agreed, sent them on their way, and bound the scarlet cord in the window. 

Sure enough, when the time for judgment came, the soldiers of Israel took note of the scarlet cord tied in her window and passed over her home. Rahab’s faith in God, evidenced by her protection of the spies, secured a sign of this special agreement that spared her life.

This entire exchange foreshadowed Jesus’ work on the cross. Like Rahab, we are in an impossible position. By God’s grace, we are awakened and alerted to the reality that He is true, holy, and just. But we also understand that we’re part of a sinful race, deserving of His just judgment. We are caught in the middle.

But God provided a way of escaping the judgment for our sins. Jesus, whose sacrificial death on the cross is typified by scarlet, the color of blood, died in our place to satisfy the penalty for our sin. And when we fully trust in this truth, when we affix Christ’s work to our window, as it were, God’s judgment passes over us, resulting in spiritual life rather than death.

The scarlet cord represents the Gospel that would be fully revealed centuries later on a Roman cross, and both attest to the fact that God is able to save us from our impossible positions. 

DIG: What did the scarlet cord accomplish for Rahab? 

DISCOVER: How does this scarlet cord relate to us today?

DO: Take some time today to think deeply about what Christ did on the cross for you, and thank Him for it.

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.