WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday June 19, 2011
TRUST GOD’S PROTECTION
(GOD makes a way for HIS people)
The purpose of the book of Joshua is to give an official account of the fulfilling of GOD’s promise to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that HE would deliver their ancestors into the “promised land” of Canaan. Specifically, the “holy war” and subsequent conquest of Canaan, under the leadership of Joshua, is based solely on the “Abrahamic Covenant” that was originated between GOD and Abram (Genesis 15). However, GOD’s ultimate intention has always been, to reach the “lost world” through Abraham’s seed, which culminated with the first advent of JESUS CHRIST.
The Apostle Paul teaches us of the similarities in the exodus from Egypt, and the conquest of Canaan by Joshua in the 14th century B.C., and, that of the ministry of JESUS CHRIST in the first century A.D. In the biblical Greek, the name “Joshua” means “YAHWEH saves”, or “YAHWEH is salvation”, and the name “JESUS” means the same. Joshua led his people to a physical victory over their physical enemies in Canaan, the Promised Land, and he also interceded for them when they had sinned and been defeated. JESUS leads us to victory over our spiritual enemies, sin and death, and HE intercedes (Romans 8:34) to bring us into the “Promised Rest” (Hebrews 4:8-10) that GOD is offering us when we accept HIS “will” for our lives.
In Joshua chapter 2, two spies are sent by Joshua on a reconnoiter mission to scout out the city of Jericho, both its structure, and, the morale of its people. Jericho was a walled city that was the key citadel of the Jordan Valley and it controlled all roads leading up into the central highlands of Canaan. In order to be successful in their attack on Canaan, Joshua felt that he had to have as much information as possible before devising a strategic military offensive campaign against them, and this military offense had to start with the taking, or conquering of Jericho.
And so the two men set out from Shittim, about seven miles east of the Jordan River, and traveled north along the river before crossing and approaching Jericho from its west side. They soon were inside the gates of the city mingling with the people in the streets, and they eventually came across the house of a prostitute named Rahab.
No one really knows how the two spies came across the residence of Rahab, but one could probably attribute this chance rendezvous to the providence of GOD. A thinking Christian can most easily see GOD’s purpose and grace here at work to save a lost sinner from the coming divine judgment upon the city of Jericho. Oftentimes the LORD moves in mysterious and unexpected ways in order to achieve HIS divine agenda, and here in this passage we see just such a time. Here, two Israeli military spies are put together with a pagan harlot, to the ends that, first, would protect the representatives of GOD’s agenda, and then later, extend HIS grace and mercy to the likes of a repentant sinner who wished to convert her life, and the lives of her family, into the agenda of GOD. Rahab made the decision that day to trust in the divine protection of GOD, rather than to trust in the protection of the fortified cities of men. When we choose to honor GOD and HIS agenda above men, something wonderful always happens to our lives. William Barclay once wrote, “When history judges us, will its verdict be that we were “helpers”, or “hinderers” in the work of GOD? That is a question that every individual, and every nation must eventually answer”.
In the biblical Greek, the word used for “encourage” is “parakaleo” (par-ak-al-eh-o), and it means not only “to be a comfort to”, but also “to invoke, or call upon for support and inspiration”. Rahab made a decision to be a “comfort” to the spies, in their time of need, and, in return, she was able to call upon the spies for “support and inspiration” that would save her life, and the lives of her family, later on.
We, as Christians, must first be concerned with giving priority to GOD’s agenda, and then, trust that HE will always protect us when we do. In fact, the fundamental priority in life must always be GOD, and not, our own wishes and desires. And when we come to rest in the thought of “putting GOD first”, and trust in HIS protection, just like we see with the prostitute Rahab, suddenly, wrong things will no longer fascinate, and have power over us. Our relationship with GOD, through JESUS CHRIST, will grow to become our greatest asset, as we become more and more estranged from the love of the things of this world, and, from worldly behavior altogether.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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