Advent Day 11: By Grace Alone

The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household.

Joshua 2:17-18

Rahab was an innkeeper and a prostitute residing in Jericho. She belonged to the corrupt, pagan Canaanite culture. From outward appearances, she seems an unlikely candidate for God’s love and mercy. God lavished his grace on her anyway.

When the Israelite spies stayed at her inn, Rahab hid them from the Canaanite soldiers and helped them escape. God revealed himself to her and she believed. She was confident the God of Israel was the true God and she eagerly served his people. As a result, the spies gave her a scarlet cord to tie in her window. When the Israelite soldiers saw the cord, they would spare her family inside.

The walls of Jericho came tumbling down, but Rahab’s household survived. The Israelites embraced her Gentile family into their community. The woman who once sold her body for evil would be remembered for her hospitality.

God, in his mercy, not only spared Rahab and her family, but he also lavished his grace on Rahab, placing her in Jesus’ bloodline. Rahab is one of only four women named in the lineage of Jesus. The Canaanite prostitute’s descendent was the Lord.

God often works in ways we least expect.

Rahab is not remembered for her prostitution. She shows up again in Hebrew’s Hall of faith. The Bible lauds her for her faith and generosity.

Rahab’s story reminds us that when we come to the Lord, our past sins are wiped clean. The scarlet cord that saved her life echoes the Passover, when God spared the Israelites in Egypt as he saw the lamb’s blood covering their doors. Just as the Passover lamb points to Jesus’s blood shed for us, so does the scarlet cord. When Jesus’ blood cleanses our hearts, he makes us into someone new.

Rahab’s story also reminds us that God always saved people by his grace and mercy and never because a person deserved salvation. He calls both the best and worst of humanity to surrender their hearts to him.

For this ornament, I used red cord and tied it to a wood tag. One side is to hand the ornament and the other is to display the red cord as representation of Rahab's red cord.

Read Day 10: The Law of Brokenness

Read Day 12: The Redeemer

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