We’ve finally reached the passage that was going to start this series. I was going to try and keep up with a different study I was in, but thought better of jumping in anywhere but the beginning. Anyway, today we look at a pretty famous part of the Joshua story. And Joshua isn’t even in it. Remember those two spies Joshua sent to Jericho? I mentioned that they weren’t the most clandestine duo last time. They were spotted as soon as they entered the city. So this is the situation in which we find this account of Rahab.

JOSHUA 2:3-7 SPIES, LIES, AND A COVER UP

The spies went into Rahab’s house. Rahab was one of the early adopters of the work-from-home business model and she was prominent in the city, such that her house was in the city wall, close to the gates. The king’s men knew where the spies were and they quickly made their way to Rahab’s house to capture and interrogate them. But Rahab hid the men and lied to the soldiers, sending them on a wild goose chase.

It’s easy to villainize Rahab here for lying and, given her occupation, generally being a “bad person.” The truth is, though (see what I did there?), we would all be tempted to do the same and we probably have in different circumstances. And if your own personal convictions aren’t enough, how about the some of the founding fathers of the Christian faith?

Abraham lied.
Isaac lied.
Jacob lied.

People get scared, or impatient, or blinded by power and they lie. I was going to talk about Lance Armstrong, any number of Major League Baseball players, Manti Te’o. Any number of politicians, CEOs, business leaders. Students taking tests. Teachers giving tests. The media. But you get the idea.

Lying is so entrenched in our culture that you almost never expect to hear the truth anymore. In the US, we’re supposed to assume innocence – “innocent until proven guilty” – but it’s so hard these days not to immediately presume guilt and assume that the accused is lying. So many times, they are.

We lie to get ahead. We lie to stay out of trouble. We lie because we’re afraid. We lie because we think we’re above the law. We lie to “protect others.” We lie because we’ve lied before and we have to keep the story going. We lie because, “You can’t handle the truth.” We lie because we’ve lost sight of the truth. And the truth is, there are no “little white lies.” There are only lies and there are far too many of them in circulation.

All that in defense of Rahab. I might have lied, too. And, although we should be honest, the lie says something about her state of mind, doesn’t it? She takes in two Israelites. She knows who they are and why they’re there because they are terrible spies and everybody apparently knows who they are and why they’ve come to Jericho. And she’s confronted by her king’s men. On the one hand, the king’s men probably have the authority to kill her if they think she’s conspiring against the king. On the other hand, she knows something about the Israelites that we’ll get to later. My point is that even though lying isn’t a good thing, it’s worth considering the courage it took for her to lie to these soldiers. Or at least understanding that she was more afraid of the Israelites than she was of her own king.

Anyway, the lie seems to be more of a distraction than the point. We all know better than to think this passage justifies lying to achieve desired results. What can be learned here is the importance of seeking God’s kingdom before (or instead of) our own. I mentioned that Rahab endangered herself by lying to the soldiers. Chances are, had she turned the spies in, she would’ve been elevated among the people of Jericho. However, she recognized there was a greater Kingdom at work.

She didn’t necessarily take the right approach, but she was acting with the right intention. By working towards the Kingdom instead of the kingdom, Rahab saved her family and herself – even to the point of becoming part of the line of David.

There are, of course, other words about this concept. “Seek first the Kingdom of God…” Sound familiar?

peace… love… bdg…