Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So much has been unfolding right in front of our vary eyes in just the past six months, that perhaps your mind is spinning. I know mine has been. So much has transpired according to Bible prophecy, that my heart and understanding has had quite a time trying to catch up. How about you? Not only this, but then there is all the tension and concern about what is coming next and if we will still be here to see it and how we can possibly prepare. (If you are even more behind than this and are still confused about what is happening, please check out some of the articles on this website. Here are a few links to get you started: https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/07/10/the-time-is-at-hand-psalm-2-and-where-we-are-right-now/; https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/08/24/isaiah-24-the-shaking-of-the-world/; https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/08/27/upheld-by-the-word-of-his-power/; https://holylight4u.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/days-of-preparation-a-founders-warning-and-modern-day-testimonies/

In the midst of all this insanity of chaos and mayhem in the name of protests, the challenge of kids and online learning from home, financial difficulties, relationship problems, the destruction of world economies, the increase of persecution of Christians worldwide, and the establishment of the new world order, are we still hoping? And if so, in what are you hoping? And what is the definition of hope?

We are going to take a look at two passages of Scripture that are not often looked at together. Joshua 2 and Isaiah 40. In Joshua we read about how Israel sent spies into the well-fortified, fully-stocked city of Jericho who felt completely secure behind its incredible wall, and how a prostitute named Rahab hid those spies when Jericho’s king called for their arrest. She then, after obtaining a promise from them for the protection of herself and her family, directed them to hide for three days in the mountains before returning to their people. In Isaiah we read about the nation of Israel that was resting in its own strength and questioning God’s justice, power and goodness. Through the lens of these two passages we are going view of our frailty, the greatness of our God, and of what our hope in Him truly means. Here is the first passage:

Joshua 2:4-20

And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. 4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.6 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.7 And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. [Rehab let them down by a rope…vs 15. #2256 hebel, “cord, pangs, region, company.” “This word is also used symbolically to speak of the cords of sin and death (2 Samuel 22:6; Psalm. 18:4[5], 5[6]; Proverbs 5:22).”] 16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread [#2339 chut, This is simply the word for a three-fold cord that was twisted] in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee..19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.20 And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window. [#8615 Tiqvah, This was not merely a cord. This word can also mean hope, something that is longed for. For it was in this scarlet cord the Rehab’s hope was twisted.]

In this story of two spies and Rehab we catch a glimpse of the frailty of humanity, the power of an incredible God who defies all odds, and of the enduring nature of hope. Incredibly, this young woman’s words encouraged the Israelites in what God had called them to do for it says in verse 24 that the two spies said to Joshua “Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.”

We also see a woman of strong faith in Rahab, for it was not merely a cord that she lowered out of her window. To her it was a symbol of hope. It was her expectation that the Israelites would honor their word to her and her family, that they would deliver her. It was her firm hope that their God would save her and become her God too. And He did! And not only did He deliver her and become her God too, but she also became a great-great-great-great grandmother of Jesus.

Feel free to take a look at some rope making a moment…“How to Make Twine from Fabric Scraps,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=222OWKdWBmU As you can see from this video footage, the making of rope requires a lot of twisting and wrapping and twining and stretching. Basically, a rope needs to be tightly twisted and must be flexible to be of use. This makes it durable and strong. After all, a three-fold cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

In the Hebrew language words and letters tell you a colorful story. In our language an A in our alphabet is just that, an A. But, in Hebrew the letter A, called an aleph, is not merely a letter, but has the literal meaning of “ox”. In the original Hebrew, the letter was symbolized, and looked like the head of an ox. Essentially, its definition was the number one or meant the head of something. You see, Hebrew is a picture language. It is a visual and tangible language.

Thus, the word “hope” in the story of Rahab, pictures a rope tightly woven or twisted together with great flexibility so that it cannot break. Hope is not just wishing something good will happen. It is enduring and strong like a good rope.

In Isaiah 40 we read another story, but it is still the same theme of human frailty, God’s power, and the enduring power of hope.

Isaiah 40:6-31

“The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? [They were questioning if God even cared or saw them anymore. And so, they had turned to idols for help, and sought their help outside of God. But God says,]28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

They that “wait” upon the LORD…Think about that. Think about waiting and all that it entails.

The word for “wait” here is the same word used in Joshua 2 when Rehab placed the cord outside her window. The word for “wait” is that cord of hope, that is twisted tightly, is stretchy and resilient, made for perseverance and is not easily broken. When we as frail creatures of the Most High God recognize our frailty, we are not run to something or someone else for strength, like Isaiah 40 says the Israelites did when they turned to dumb idols. May we also not be like the young men and boys in this passage who depended on their own strength. Young people always seem to feel that they are invincible, but God reminds us that youthful energy fails and fades too. It is only those who “wait”, are twisted up in hope so much, so intricately entwined in hoping in Him, even grafted into the energy source of His vine, that they will arise effortlessly on wings like an eagle [not like a hummingbird that whirs its wings with great effort, but instead, like an eagle who sores and is upheld by wind currants up high so that they do not have to flap their wings]; run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.

Conclusion

Rahab in Joshua 2 hoped that when God wiped out her city and all its inhabitants, that He would spare her and any family gathered under the cover of the scarlet cord. Her hope was not wishy-washy nor flimsy nor a pipe dream nor even a day dream nor was it wishful thinking. It was not at all what so many consider to be the definition of hope today, for it was solid, firm and unshakable, tightly wound up in undeniable faith that God would do what He said. That was Rahab’s unfailing hope.

The Israelites of Isaiah 40 were called upon by God to not rely on their own strength, no matter how manly, but instead were to “wait” upon the Lord, to be wrapped up, tied up, tangled all up in believing that God would be their strength, their fortress, their help in times of trouble. But, they were too wrapped up in their own abilities and in the abilities of their leaders and help from other nations, that they missed out on standing back to see the Lord’s salvation unfold in their lives. Instead, they had to learn the hard way by eventually going into captivity.

So, what are we as Christians hoping? What are we all tied up, wrapped up, and in what are we invested with every fiber of our being? What do we believe beyond the shadow of a doubt?

To begin with, no matter what you are facing individually or in your marriage or as a family or as a church, God promised that we can do ALL things “in” Christ who strengthens us! (Philippians 4:6-7). And when God says all, He means ALL. But, really the key word here is “in”. We must be rooted and grounded and grafted and be at rest in the vine of Christ in order to have this incredible strength to begin with, and we must remain “abiding in” Him (John 15); we must remain “abiding” beneath the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91). So, are you abiding? Are you at rest inside?

And ultimately, Titus 2:13 says that we, as Christians, are to be “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ…” Jesus is coming back SOON. Is this your blessed hope? Are you longing for His appearing? Or are you too caught up in the cares of this life that you have lost sight of our Savior’s SOON return (Luke 21:36)? Did you know that there is a “crown of righteousness” that will be given to those who “love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8)?

Let’s not be like those in Jericho who thought they were invincible, for Jericho fell. Let’s not be like the Israelites who turned to idols because they felt that God did not care and had passed over them, for God sent them into Babylonian captivity to discipline them. Instead, let’s be like Rahab who was hopeless without God, but who found true hope in God! So, — when we feel exhausted, when we feel low, when we are discouraged, when we feel we are all out of steam and have nothing left to give, when our marriage is on the rocks, when our kids are out of control, when we lose our job, when we don’t know what to do, when we are overwhelmed — let’s remember we have hope! The wrapped up, tied up, tangled all up in God hope! And it is in this hope in God that we find all the strength that we will ever need! When we hope in God, we will never be put to shame! (Psalm 25:3 and Romans 10:11).

“Wrapped Up /Tied Up/ Tangled Up In Jesus – Grace Brumley–Thanksgiving 2017”

The walls of Jericho:

Sources:

“Grafting Fruit Trees: A Step by Step Picture Tutorial,” https://ladyleeshome.com/grafting-fruit-trees/

“Tikvah Meaning,” http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Tikvah.html#.XSv9ikdlD3g

“According to the Scriptures,” by Chuck Missler https://khouse.org/articles/2011/985/print/

“The Biblical Meaning of the Word Hope,” by Gerrie Bester, https://www.joydigitalmag.com/words-of-wisdom-post/the-biblical-meaning-of-the-word-hope/

“Tikvah (Hope),” by K. Gallagher, https://graceintorah.net/2013/10/26/tikvah-hope/

“How to Make Twine from Fabric Scraps,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=222OWKdWBmU

“Why Does Braiding Increase Rope Strength?” by Erik Halberstadt, https://www.quora.com/Why-does-braiding-increase-rope-strength

“6960: Kavah,” https://biblehub.com/hebrew/6960.htm

קָוָהverb wait for (probably originally twist, stretch, then of tension of enduring, waiting…also strand of rope”

Give me a token…vs 12.

#226 ot, “sign, miracle, mark, signal,” that “is used most often to describe awe-inspiring events…” pg 29.

Rehab let them down by a rope…vs 15.

#2256 hebel, “cord, pangs, region, company.” “This word is also used symbolically to speak of the cords of sin and death (2 Sam. 22:6; Ps. 18:4[5], 5[6]; Prov. 5:22).”

Rehab placed this outside her window…vs 21

#8615 Tikvah, “cord or line. It refers to a piece of rope or cord made of bright red thread with a tinge of orange…refers to hope, expectation…an attitude of anticipation with the expectation that something will happen” (pg 1243).

Interlinear, https://biblehub.com/interlinear/joshua/2.htm

“The Walls of Jericho Fell Outwards,” http://www.biblestudymanuals.net/jericho.htm

“Joshua and the Battle of Jericho,” youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPAUqmOHUIo (only use a brief bit at the beginning…this video really is anti-Bible).

Advertisement