Mar 17, 2024. Hebrews 11:30-31

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AND THE WALLS FELL DOWN.  Hebrews 11:30-31. 3/17/2024. #39.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

1. Faith knocks down walls

                a. Joshua 6 the story of the conquest of Jericho is one of faith and trust in the Lord

                                a1. Jericho was a large walled city

                                a2. The Jews had no siege weapons

                b. As Joshua was contemplating the battle against Jericho, an angel stood before him

                                a1. The angel gave him a strange battle plan centered on walking and shouting rather than weapons and shooting

                                a2. It took faith to accept a plan that made no military sense

                c. The miracles of God are supernatural, so they defy the natural order (a 90 yr. old woman giving birth, opening of the Red Sea, water from a rock, walls falling down on their own, etc.)

                                a1. God tested the faith of His children, and provided the miracles that proved that He, and not man, had acted

                                a2. Faith is tested in its obedience and proven in the results

                d. Faith is not presumption

                                a1. It is not believing in a desired result

                                a2. It isn’t looking for a preconceived outcome

                                a3. Romans 10:17 faith is trusting obedience that is led by God to do God’s will (Job, Daniel)

                e. The walls fell because the Jews acted in obedience to do what God led them to do

2. From harlot to heroine

                a. Rahab is one of the most unusual faith stories

                                a1. She was an Amorite of ill repute

                                a2. She was an enemy by nationality

                b. Rahab had a hearsay faith

                                a1. Joshua 2:8-14 Rahab came to faith by hearing and believing the stories of the Exodus

                                                b1. The Red Sea was opened 40 years previously

                                                b2. More recently, Israel defeated Og and Sihon across the Jordan

                                a2. Rahab showed more faith and trust than many of the Israelites who saw the miracles

                c. Rahab hid the spies who came to her

                                a1. She deceived the king to save the spies

                                a2. By choosing to believe God, she also chose to side with God’s people

                d. Every Amorite in Jericho could have made the same choice, since they heard the same reports

                                a1. Most people resist God despite evidence

                                a2. Rahab chose to go against the majority

                e. Ruth is the only Gentile in Hall of Faith

                                a1. Besides Sarah, she is the only woman

                                a2. She led her entire family to faith

                                a3. James 2:25 it was Rahab’s actions which demonstrated her faith

                f. Rahab was a converted woman

                                a1. She no longer followed idol worship

                                a2. She trusted in the God of Israel

                                a3. She changed her profession from harlotry to being the wife of Salmon of Judah

                                a4. She became an ancestor to David and to Christ (not the mother-in-law to Ruth, since there are 300 years between the 2)

3. A faith that is countercultural

                a. Rahab believed against prevailing opinion

                b. Rahab accepted the evidence presented to her

                c. Rahab acted upon her faith, even risking death

                d. Rahab rejected her former training and culture

                e. Rahab identified with God’s people and changed

                f. Rahab did not waver and was rewarded for her faith

                g. Rahab’s faith was decisive, simple

Key passage: Joshua 2:8-148 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men: “I know that 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 fainthearted because of you. 10 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 of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, 13 and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”