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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the Israelites burned the town and everything in it. Only the things made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron were kept for the treasury of the Lord’s house. So Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute and her relatives who were with her in the house, because she had hidden the spies Joshua sent to Jericho. And she lives among the Israelites to this day. At that time Joshua invoked this curse: ‘May the curse of the Lord fall on anyone who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn son, he will lay its foundation. At the cost of his youngest son, he will set up its gates.’ So the Lord was with Joshua, and his reputation spread throughout the land.”—Joshua 6:24–27 (NLT, emphasis added)
There is a lot to unpack here from the sacking of Jericho to the fulfilled promise to Rahab to the curse Joshua invoked. But in all of this, I see one huge, in-your-face, amazingly simple and yet profoundly important principle at play . . .
In Exodus 19:5 (ESV), God says, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples.” Romans 2:6–8 (NIV) declares, “God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” And in John 15:10–14 (NIV), Jesus says, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love . . . I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you . . . You are my friends if you do what I command.”
I know that’s a lot of Scripture to take in on top of our passage, but here’s what I want you to see: God lifts up and blesses those who are faithful to Him, obedient to His Word, and devoted to His ways.
The people of Jericho were exceedingly wicked. Their sinfulness, idolatry, and depravity had stood unpunished for a long time. Why? Because our compassionate and gracious God is “slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:6–7 NIV). They had chance after chance but didn’t repent of their wickedness and turn to God, so eventually punishment came.
Rahab put her trust in God and turned from her ways. She devoted herself to Him and God exalted and blessed her, even seeing her included in the lineage of the Messiah! And Joshua, who was obedient and faithful to the Lord, saw his fame grow throughout the land.
You see, those who serve and worship the Lord and obey His commands are blessed and exalted; they are set apart. Now, these blessings are not always material or physical. We may never reap earthly, physical blessings for our obedience and devotion. We may even lose it all as Paul did, but we will always receive every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:3) and He will always be with us, His joy will be in us, and our joy will be made complete.
I pray we remember the rewards for obedience and what we will miss out on when we’re not.
DIG: What’s the key principle at work here? Why is it so vital for us to understand it?
DISCOVER: How have you seen Jesus’ words and this principle of obedience and devotion played out in your life?
DO: Is there any area of rebellion or disobedience in your life? Know that when you leave it undealt with, you are cutting yourself off from experiencing the fullness of Christ’s joy and God’s promises. Pray and ask the Lord to help you surrender that area of your life.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.