“I Will Not Forsake You”

Have you ever had the thought that you are all alone and there is NO ONE to help you and felt the sickening dread that comes with this realization?  It usually happens when we see no way out, no one to come to our aid, no one seems to care, and worse – you think God is not there to help you.  Some dig in their heels and charge forward generally in a self-destructive manner, ignoring the deep pain, and others crash and burn, giving up and allowing the pain to color life with grey.  Both responses end in lack of faith that Yahweh will provide.

No matter where we are in our quest for having a relationship with God, He is always there to help us to have faith in Him.  He made us; and therefore, He knows our weaknesses. When we reach out to Him even with a very simple prayer of “God, please help me,” He is there to answer.  Whether we are well versed in the Scriptures or new to learning God’s Word, we are met where we are by our heavenly Father who tenderly cares for us and will move the walls that seem unmovable.

The book of Joshua in the Old Testament begins with Joshua, the leader of Israel after Moses’ death, grieving the loss of his dear leader and friend. Joshua was a boy when the Israelites were in Egypt as slaves. He experienced the cruelty of slavery and saw Yahweh’s power through the 10 plagues and the 2 million people crossing the Red Sea on dry ground.  He experienced manna every morning and quail at night; he saw the pillar of fire at night and the cloud by day that represented Yahweh’s presence with His people; he lived in the wilderness for 40 years due to Israel not having faith that Yahweh would provide the land for them.  Israel chose to let what the spies reported about the size and number of those living in the Promised Land to cast doubt in their minds that Yahweh would provide – all while eating the manna He faithfully provided each day. Joshua was one of the ten spies that were sent to scout out the land. He was one of two that had faith that what Yahweh promised, Yahweh would provide.

Now, in Joshua chapter 1, we find him poised with Israel on the east side of the Jordon, ready to have entrance into this Promised Land.  The people inhabiting the land are not any less in number or size. The only differences are that Joshua is older and without Moses and that Israel is a new generation. Yahweh knows that Joshua, even though seasoned in having faith that Yahweh is powerful and mighty, needed to hear again how Yahweh will provide for Joshua and Israel.

Joshua 1:5   No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.

Verses 7, 8, and 9 add “Be strong and courageous” to further encourage Joshua in this difficult time. Israel crossed the Jordon at flood stage (Joshua 3-4) to begin their conquest. Joshua is instructed to have Israel’s men be circumcised and for all Israel to observe the Passover (Joshua 5).  Yahweh even sent an angel to help Joshua (Joshua 5:13). A possibly disconcerting change was that after they celebrated the Passover, there was no more manna. They had to gather and prepare food from the land. Meanwhile, in the enemy camp, a Canaanite woman, Rahab, was receiving wonderful deliverance due to her faith in the God of the Israelites.

Rahab (Joshua 2) was living in the city of Jericho, the formidable double-walled city that was to be Israel’s first conquest.  From a child, she heard of the power of Yahweh, Israel’s God, crossing them over the Red Sea and Moses’ defeat of Og and Sihon, powerful Amorite Kings (Numbers 21:21-35). Rahab said about these events:

Joshua 2:11 When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

The inhabitants of Jericho were in awe of Yahweh, yet they continued to believe in their stores of grain, an abundant spring of water that was inside the city walls that could not be cut off, and the very high, very impressive walls they thought would save them. Rahab heard the same things the citizens of Jericho did, but what she did instead of trusting in the walls was to have faith that Yahweh was more powerful than the walls. Joshua sent out two spies to report on the city, and they ended up, of all the places, in Jericho at Rahab’s home. She was the one Jericho citizen and Canaanite woman who had faith in Yahweh. She put her faith into action by hiding the spies on her roof under flax bundles and told the soldiers (who knew the spies were in the city), that they had been at her home but left before the gates closed in the evening. Keeping the spies safe put her in jeopardy of being killed as a traitor. Yet, she had faith that Yahweh would take care of her and also her family (Joshua 2).

Rahab had to wait. All of Jericho could see that Israel was camped about 2 miles north of the city. After crossing the Jordon, at least 14 days elapsed due to the circumcisions to take place and to heal and then for the preparations for the Passover to be made and accomplished.  Next, the Israelites marched around the city, once each day for 6 days. What fear could grab one’s heart at the sight of this relentless silent marching around the city? Then, on the seventh day, Israel marched 7 times and then shouted and blew the trumpets.  The unthinkable happened – the walls collapsed, and the city was Israel’s.

What about Rahab? She had a red cord in her window as she was instructed by the spies. She obeyed and had her family stay inside her home on the wall.  Looking out her window at the Israelites each day must have been quite the sight for her. But when would the destruction come?

Joshua 6: 20   So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took to city. (Most other versions use the word “collapsed” or “fell down under it” instead of flat.)

Joshua 6:21-23, 25   They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.” So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel. However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

As Rahab and her family left her house on the wall, it is possible she marveled at the fact that the double walls of Jericho were collapsed, except where she lived.  Archeologists in the 1950’s found a northern section of the wall where the mud brick top section of the walls was not completely collapsed. This area is located nearest the mountain area the spies fled. Could it be Yahweh’s hand of protection for those who have faith in Him?

Rahab is mentioned in a very important genealogy in Matthew 1.

Matthew 1:5-6a   Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.

Rahab is in the Christ-line genealogy.  What a woman of faith!

Rahab and Joshua are also used as examples of faith in Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:30-31   By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

Yahweh knew about Joshua and his incredible faith and steadfastness. Yahweh wanted those in the Promised Land who were idolaters to see the power of Yahweh. Yet, Yahweh also knew Joshua needed assistance to help him through this very perilous and incredibly important time in the history of Israel.  Joshua received Yahweh’s promptings and encouragements.

Rahab had time through her life to hear of the power and might of Yahweh and allowed that fear to turn into reverence and faith in the one true God.  Yahweh removed the walls, protecting Rahab and her family, and also caused the annihilation of Jericho. Whether we are a seasoned Joshua or a new person in the Word of God, we can choose to have faith that what Yahweh provides for us, He is able and He is willing to perform. No matter where we are in our lives, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are able to maintain faith in Yahweh. When we know that there is no other god that can deliver us or have eternal life available for us than our Yahweh, is when we have faith that is enduring.

We look at our circumstances and faint. The remedy is to look upon Yahweh and Jesus Christ and their ability to deliver. If I were alive at the time of Jericho, I think my jaw would have dropped to my chest in shock and awe that collapsing the walls would deliver the city.  There was NO way Israel could use a battering ram on those walls. The stone rampart wall was around 12 feet tall and was supported behind the wall by earth (see picture of what archeologists perceive as the layout). That stone wall had another 6 or so feet of mud bricks on top of that where people built their houses. Israel would have had to have ladders and catapults and great military might and skill to take Jericho. Yahweh collapsed the walls so that all would know He is the One Almighty God.

Yahweh, help our unbelief, our lack of faith. Help us to hear the Word of God and receive faith so we can endure the crossing of the Jordons and the deliverance of mighty cities in our lives. Also, save us from destruction by YOUR power, might, and love.

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