SCARLET CORD OF FLAX. JOSHUA 2 Rahab, a woman of faith.
Two spies went to the home of Rahab, known as a ‘woman of ill-fame’. (v1 )
How could God move in the life of a morally-needy woman? We recall that Mary of Magdalene had been possessed of seven devils when the Lord of glory changed her. .
The king of Jericho demanded that Rahab reveal the two men who had come to spy out the land. However, she took the men and hid them in an unusual fashion. (v6).
She brought them to the roof of her home to hide them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.. The spies’ security depended on the wisdom of this astute woman and the unusual hiding-place of the bundles of flax. They lay still, scarcely breathing while the king’s men vainly searched the home for the intruders. The secret was in the meaning of the covering flax.
The flax had been gathered, freed from all the burrs and thistles, heated in the oven, beaten, flayed, reheated and bashed out of recognition, until all fibrous structure was squashed. . Then the softened flax had been woven into thread for pure linen or cords.
The process over several hours spoke of the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, ‘so that His appearance was marred more than any man’ ( Isaiah 52:14 ) ‘and His form more than the sons of men’. The soldiers blindfolded God’s Son, striking His royal face, mocking Him as they did so. His back was ploughed as the centurion ordered the scourging. Flax illustrated the torture our dear Lord suffered at Calvary.
Rahab covered the spies with the flax as the king’s soldiers sought to discover them. So, our dear Lord’s sufferings became our hiding-place from every onslaught of the enemy. When the Accuser tried to humble and distress us, we sought the refuge of the sufferings of Christ. We pleaded that ‘He loved us and gave Himself for us’ and the enemy of souls retreated, defeated and licking his wounds. Beneath the cross of Jesus, I took my stand. ‘They are under the blood of the Lamb’ is our reply when Satan reminded us of past sins, just as the two men sheltered neath the flax, laid in careful order. She sheltered them , reminding us that our Lord atoned for our sins, covering us with His precious life-blood, shed for us. (v6)
A change had taken place in Rahab’s life. ‘She came up to them on the roof of her home on the wall.’ Then God gave a remarkable revelation to Rahab. ‘ I know the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are faint-hearted because of you’. ( v9). She continued, ‘ For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings on the other side of Jordan whom you utterly destroyed’. (v10) History is important. Forty years had passed since God had amazingly delivered the two and a half million Israelites as they eluded Pharoah and his disciplined army.
The revelation continued, ‘ And as soon as we heard, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. ( v11). We must not underestimate God’s amazing grace to transform lives, even those, whom the devil has wretchedly ground into sin. Here is an instance. The prostitute of Jericho speaks like a prophetess. God promoted her.
She pleads for her family and her father’s house. The mercy of God prompted her to plead ‘ spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death’. ( v13) We too must beg for our families that their faith will rest in our Lord Jesus as Saviour and Redeemer.
Finally, Rahab let the men down the wall by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall’ (v15) The cord was a flax cord dyed red, from the cochineal grub, which produces a scarlet or purple dye. Isaiah wrote, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet , they shall be as white as snow.. Though they red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ As once an immoral woman, her sins were scarlet. So are our’s. Her hope of cleansing was as real as our’s, for our sure hope is in the Lord Jesus’ death. The rope carried the weight of each man as they slithered down the flax cord. Peter wrote,’By His stripes, we are healed’. Our Lord Jesus’ salvation is secure as He takes all the dead weight of our sins.
Sixty years ago, on holiday in Sydney, I wandered aimlessly down George Street on a Sunday afternoon, attracted by a notice ‘The red cord running through the Bible‘. Captain Reginald Wallis, one of England’s great Bible preachers, taught the truth of redemption, running through the precious Word. He showed that ‘the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent ( Genesis 3;15 ); the Passover Lamb of Exodus 12, was the redemption plan for the children of Israel; while Rahab’s red flax cord ensured safety and deliverance to her, her family and loved ones, in the Jericho invasion. He continued in Isaiah 53, showing ’He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities’ His preaching opened my eyes. The truth is more precious with passing years. The red cord runs through God’s Word.
God honoured the promise of the spies as they found Rahab’s home on the wall. Every home collapsed as the trumpets were blown, the people shouted and possessed the city. The exception was Rahab’s home, where she had gathered all her family.
The red cord was tied in the window. They were all protected. Oh, the power of the blood of God’s Lamb, which protects us from the assault of the enemy. Rahab became the grand-mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, and then the great, great, grand-mother of David – yes, the mighty King of Israel. Our Lord Jesus was related in natural descent to this woman of faith . Paul wrote, ‘Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel.’( 2 Timothy 2:8 )
What a great salvation! Rest your eternal security on the scarlet cord of the flax of His Calvary sufferings.