Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 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 Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. – Joshua 2:8-11
In this passage we find spies sent out by Joshua hanging out on the west side of the Jordan River at the house of a prostitute in Jericho named Rahab. The passage does not say whether Joshua sent out these spies at God’s direction or his own desire for more certainty about crossing the Jordan. Certainly Moses sent out spies in the past. It seems that Joshua was one of these spies, but given the fact that God did not allow Moses to cross over the Jordan he may not be the best role model in this respect.
Apparently God’s reputation and the reputation of the Israelites precedes them. The King of Jericho has gotten wind of their presence and it seems everyone has heard about the way God had the Israelites back at the Red Sea. The parting of the Red Sea, as we explored in a previous post, is actually described here as a drying up of the water of the Red Sea. Either way it seems that the event involving the Israelites escaping the Egyptians by crossing the Red Sea on dry land is well known in the region. The conquering of the two kings on the east side of the Jordan River is also widely known and striking fear in the hearts of those on the west side.
This brings up an interesting point about reputations and what we are known for as Christians both individually and collectively in our churches. Does our reputation precede us, and if so is that a good thing? Reputations are a delicate thing. Many years of careful following can be spoiled by a few bad choices. I can remember the scandals in the late 1980’s that rocked the televangelist world. I know the actions of those Christians affected my early walk with Christ as I struggled to make sense of how the God I had chosen to follow could allow someone to get so lost. The conclusion I came to is that God gives us the freedom to be idiots with our faith if we choose.
So what should we be known for as Christians? My hope and prayer is that I will be known as a faithful follower of God, an encourager, and a person who is open to knowing and being known by those around me, both fellow Christians and those who may not have met Him yet. I would hope the same for a Christian Community, namely that our first job would be to faithfully follow God, followed by encouraging one another, then by knowing and being known by our community and each other (including spiritually curious God seekers).
Prayer: God help us to follow you with faithfulness, encourage one another, and introduce You to those who have not met You yet.