Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” Joshua 2:8-14 ESV
Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:31-33 ESV
Jesus once told a story about a king who was about to go into battle against another king. The second king had twenty thousand soldiers, while the first king had only ten thousand. The first king sat down and thought about the situation. He realized that he was overmatched, and that he couldn’t possibly win the battle. So instead of going out to fight, he sent out a group of his men to ask for peace. He knew he would have to give up some things to get peace, perhaps some land or some money, but it would be better than losing the lives of so many of his soldiers in battle.
Rahab was as wise as this king. She and her people knew that Israel had God’s favor and help. The people of Canaan had heard about the way Israel had walked through the Red Sea when God parted it for them. They had also heard about a couple of battles against some kings on the way that God had won for them. Rahab’s people were afraid of the people of Israel. They knew that the odds of beating God’s people were against them. But only Rahab was wise enough to try to make peace with them and to save her life and her family’s life.
When Jesus told the story about the king getting ready for battle, he was talking about people giving up their old lives and following him. Following Jesus means surrendering our lives to him. He gives us peace with God, but it costs us our own way of doing things, or trying to save ourselves by being good, or putting ourselves first. But the cost of not surrendering to Jesus is much higher. If we choose to stay enemies of God, we will be defeated and separated from God forever.
Surrendering to an enemy in war time might be a way to save your life, but it often means being treated badly. But surrendering to Jesus is different. Jesus died to take our sins away and give us peace with God. We have nothing good to lose by belonging to Jesus. Instead, every good thing there is comes to us through Jesus–forgiveness, love, help, and life forever with God.
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us and dying for us. Help us to follow you and trust you and give our lives into your care every day. Amen.