Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Discern (08/12/10)
TITLE: From a Gold Ring To a Scarlet Chord
By Nancy Sullivan
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He was accustomed to seeing men come and go from his daughter’s home during the night. These two looked different. They were not shuffling and stumbling up the stairs like so many of her late-night callers. They were moving more like cats, darting in and out of the shadows and watching over their shoulders. Even their clothing seemed unfamiliar. He quietly stepped outside to get a closer look at the men near his daughter’s back door.
The people behind the massive walls of the city had grown indifferent in their immoral culture. But the old man had never been able to accept that his daughter was a major attraction to residents and visitors alike. She had been such a beautiful young girl with eyes that sparkled at the sound of his voice and a spirit that saw each morning as a new adventure waiting to unfold.
The decline of morals in their secluded community had changed all of them. Rahab’s beauty had been her downfall. She had been drawn in to a world of depravity and accepted her “status” in the ugliest part of town. A father who had once dreamed of grandchildren could only watch as his little girl became hardened and aged beyond her years.
“A beautiful woman who rejects good sense is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.” Proverbs 11:22 (Holman)
Sudden activity in the streets drew him back to the present. The King’s messengers were heading straight for Rahab’s house. He inched closer and craned his ear to the voices. “Spies? They must be Israelites!” The hearts of the Jericho residents had melted inside their chests at the news of the God of Israel. He had performed indescribable miracles at the Red Sea and had dealt with the two kings of the Amorites.
And now the king’s messengers were at his daughter’s house demanding that she turn the intruders over. But why did they insist on searching her house? Then he remembered the two suspicious callers. His heart sank. “What was Rehab thinking when she let those men in?”
He heaved a sigh of relief when the messengers rushed away from her house and toward the King’s palace. Moments later Rahab was at his door. “Papa, let me in quick,” she whispered.
“The Israelites are coming to destroy Jericho, and you want me to believe that they are going to spare us, the family of a prostitute? How can you place your faith in something so bizarre? A God you have never seen, never prayed to, never included in your idol worship is going to save you, your father and mother, even your brothers? Our best chance to survive this is to stay inside these walls. Armies have never been able to get through them. This isn’t water we’re talking about, Rahab. It’s solid rock. Not even the God of Israel can knock these walls down!”
Rahab ignored her father’s protests and hurried to explain their rescue: The two men would hide in the hills for three days, and then return to Jericho. She had hidden them from the King, and they promised to spare her and her family. They would see the scarlet chord hanging from her window and take them out of the city before the Israelites destroyed Jericho and everyone inside the walls. She had their word.
Somehow Rahab knew in her heart that the God of the Israelites would be her God, too. The gods of Jericho had been fashioned from gold and silver. Lifeless and powerless. She had heard of the God Who could not be fashioned by anyone’s hand. He had demonstrated unbelievable power protecting His beloved Israelites. She wanted to serve that God, regardless of the danger.
“They burned up the city and everything in it…but Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she lives in Israel to this day.” Joshua 6:24,25 (Holman)
* * * * *
Months later, the old man watched as Rahab embraced her daily chores. He marveled at how young his daughter looked. Her eyes had regained their sparkle, and she began each day with expectancy of wonderful things that would come their way. “I wonder if that smile has anything to do with the young man, Salmon, who has been visiting in our home. Maybe, someday, I’ll have those grandchildren after all.” (Matthew 1:5)
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