A Scarlet Cord

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Hebrews 11:30-31

The Battle of Jericho was unusual. Joshua and the army marched around the city once a day for six days and then on the seventh day marched around it seven times. For six days the people marched silently while seven priests sounded rams’ horns. But after a long blast from the rams’ horns on the seventh day, they gave a great shout. “And the walls came tumbling down” as many of us sang in Sunday School.

When the walls of the city tumbled, only one small section of wall remained standing: the house where a prostitute named Rahab and her family had gathered. These people were the only ones spared—in spite of the fact that they were Canaanites, in spite of Rahab’s sinful past.

Rahab believed in the God of the Israelites. She’d heard about how He helped His people fight their enemies. When Joshua sent two spies to Jericho, Rahab hid them so the men of the city wouldn’t kill them. In return she asked the spies to spare her family. They told her to leave a scarlet cord hanging from her window (Joshua 2:8-24).

God didn’t condemn Rahab for her past sins because He saw her heart of faith: her willingness to leave her old life behind and go wherever God took her. She had no idea she’d be an ancestor of the Messiah (Matthew 1:4-5).

Rahab’s scarlet cord is a symbol of both faith and hope: it looked forward to Jesus’ sacrificial death, His shed blood, the judgment He suffered for sinners on the cross, and the deliverance He provided for all who put their faith in Him.

Do you feel condemned by past sins? Don’t believe the lie. You are not condemned; those sins were nailed to the cross. God sees your heart of faith. Leave your old life behind and follow Him wherever He takes you.

Rahab was part of God’s amazing plan of redemption. He has an amazing plan for our lives too.


How did Jesus respond to another sinful woman in Luke 7:36-48? Why should that encourage us?

God’s grace and salvation are offered to all, including women like Rahab. But according to Colossians 3:1-14, what should we put off and put on in order to freely enjoy our new lives in Christ? What specifically do you need to put off from your past and with what will you replace it?

Compare Rahab’s scarlet cord (Joshua 6:1-25) and the blood put on doorposts (Exodus 12:7-23). How was each a sign of faith?

We don’t need to hang a scarlet cord outside our window. How do we know we’re sealed and protected from God’s judgment? See 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.

Nancy J. Baker


  1. Pingback: The Two Spies | Dig Deeper Devotions

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