“I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.” – Joshua 2:10-11
Do you know who hears about that time God made $600 appear in our bank account? Or the day I had a horrible toothache and He told me to lay hands on my jaw and command healing to come, and it came? Or any of the many times God has been spectacularly evident for me?
Believers. Other Christians that are like-minded, who worship like me, believe like me, use the same lingo I use. That’s who hears about the exploits of God in my life. Know why? Because they won’t think I’m weird. They won’t look at me like I just grew another head. They won’t walk away thinking I’m “one of those people”, and try to figure out how to avoid lengthy conversations with me in the future.
So God is dealing with me right here in Joshua’s story. Dealing with my need for people, both believers and unbelievers, to approve of my walk with God. At the same time, He is showing me the bigger picture (because there is always a picture that is bigger than me and my life) of the Church.
So let’s talk about that. It’s much more interesting than the angst I am dealing with on a personal level as God exposes motives and various items of junk in my heart.
“I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you.” (v. 9)
You know those toys, the things that show you one picture if you hold it a certain way, but if you shift your hand just slightly, a different picture appears? Let’s do that with this passage.
If we hold it one way, we see the real story taking place of two spies and a prostitute having a conversation. But let’s shift our hand ever so slightly.
Now we see the spiritual picture of God’s people and the enemy (satan and his demons). We see the realm that we miss if we don’t think to look past the natural.
The Church’s mission is to expand the Kingdom of God, not just by moving into more and more territory, but by coming into a territory and making disciples there. Since the Kingdom of God is wherever the power and authority of God are ruling and reigning, when people come to salvation, they are now a place where that is happening. The more people that have the power and authority of God in them through the Holy Spirit, the larger the Kingdom of God becomes. Make sense?
So if we see the story here from that place, then Rahab’s comments are very revealing. They tell us that the (spiritual) rulers of any territory that we are about to head into are panicking, and terror has fallen upon them. Because they know. They’ve heard of God’s power in His Church. They know that our God is Lord of heaven and earth.
But do we know it? Are we aware that there are territories waiting for the Church to come in and conquer the darkness there? Do we understand who we are, what we have been commanded, and Who is with us in it?
Or are we still looking at the picture in the physical and getting overwhelmed by what we see?
If the Church is going to be strong and courageous, then it has to start with me (and you). I have to understand that when I declare the power of God in my life, telling of the seas He has parted and the mountains He has moved, I’m not just talking to the people in front of me. I’m declaring that my God is Lord of heaven AND earth to the darkness that is over the territory I’m in. And while the people in front of me may roll their eyes and think I’m weird, I know that the enemy begins to panic.
He panics because strong and courageous just entered his territory. And there can only be one reason she’s here.
So tell me, who has heard of your God? Not just the God who hates homosexuality or public schools or Democrats. That, honestly, does not make the enemy tremble, or people want to know Him.
Who has heard of the God who forgave your sin, who freed you from bondage, who healed your sickness, who provided for you when there was nothing left? The God who made a way when there wasn’t a way for you, who brought you through the fire unharmed? Who has heard about the God who changed you, who took you from darkness to light, from death to life?
Who has heard?