Joshua 2

Faith and Works Operate Together

Jerry A Collins




*               Must faith be demonstrated by works?

*               How is faith developed in a person’s life?

*               How does God respond to a person of faith?


A quote from the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, puts the topic of our message from Joshua two in proper perspective. In one of his messages to the soldiers of the Salvation Army he said “Faith and works should travel side by side, like the legs of men walking. First, faith and then, works; and then faith again, and then works again—until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.”  Faith and works are like our legs, they operate together with no inconsistency. The faith of Rahab is demonstrated by her works and we see both in operation. She is an example in the New Testament of a person who had faith that was evidence in her works. What kind of works does faith in God produce?


This is an essential ingredient of a faith that is demonstrated by works.

A. Spies are sent in Secret 1  Joshua sends two spies in secret. But the secret is not from Jericho (vs 2 dwellers know they are in city) but a secret from the Israelites because he does not want the problems they had at Kadesh-Barnea when the first spies had returned with an evil report and the people sided with them n40 yrs ago. Joshua diod not want the people to vote on whether they should go or not based on what these spies said. But as a wise military leader gathering information about the enemies defenses, moral would be important for the upcoming military compaign. And Jericho cannot simply be avoided since it was the first city in the path of the army once they crossed into the Land of Promise. Joshua was told to go and conquer but he was not given every bit of detail as to how to do that. We all need to assess and evaluate our own situations. Where we are, what we need, our weaknesses and strengths, priorities and objectives. And then move forward while resting in promise that God is with me and aware of me.

B. The spies are received by Rahab 2-3  They came to the house of Rahab the harlot. From God’s perspective, there is no military value to sending spies to Jericho because of the way He captured that city. It did not make any difference what these spies learned. The only value was to identify and save Rahab. She was a believer in the midst of unbelievers. It is like Noah at the time of the flood when he and his family were spared the judgment to come. Like Lot in Sodom when he and his family were spared from the judgment to come. And like the remnant taken into captivity to Babylon spared from the judgment brot upon the city if Jerusalem. Or like the rapture, when believers will be spared from the judgment to come in the Tribulation. God took out the believer before he destroyed the city of Jericho. Rahab was in God’s plan to be in the lineage of the Messiah (Mat 1:5). Then the king of Jericho finds out about the spies and sends word to Rahab to bring them out. He thinks they are there to search out the whole land not just Jericho.

C. Rahab takes risk to protect the spies 4-7  Rahab had hidden the spies and lied to the king’s men. Here is an example of a secret to bring about some good. So this kind of secret is okay: (1) If they are about morally right things like preserving a life, giving an anonymous gift or strategy for war. It is never right to intentionally keep a secret about a morally wrong thing.  (2) If the secret is short-term. Be sure you understand that the secret will be made known but never have a secret which you want never to be made known. There is no such thing as a long-term secret. Both Joshua and the spies kept short-term secrets with the idea that they would eventually be known. Hiding these messengers was an outworking of her faith calculating the short-term outcome of protection and deliverance to come very shortly. Never attempt to lie. A lie is a deception which one assumes the truth will never be known. A short-term deception where the truth is expected to be known is not the same as a lie which assumes the truth will never be known. Faith requires taking risks. There is no such thing as faith without risks. We can learn this both from Joshua and Rahab. It’s risky to not seek marketplace advancement, to sacrifice to get out of debt, to not defend yourself, to give someone a coat as well as the shirt they ask for. That is a basic element of faith. Commitment before knowledge.

2. THIS FAITH DEVELOPED BY A KNOWLEDGE & FEAR OF GOD Here is the reason why Rahab is remembered  and mentioned  in the New Testament on three occasions.

(1) She knew God had given the Israelites the land 9. She declared that it was God and not the people who determined the victory. Most of the statement is about Rahab’s fear of God. (2) That terror had fallen on

the land and in the hearts of the people. 3 times mentioned their hearts ‘melted’ showing moral of the people mentally and emotionally drained and deated It is obvious that the Israelites cannot be stopped. She understood what God was doing at that timegiving the land to Israel. It is ironic that the inhabitants were looking at Israels God and shaking in their sandals. Israel who had seen all these mighty acts of God were looking at the problems and terrorized into unbelief! (3) She knows the history of what God did (drying up Red Sea, defeating Sihon and Og (Num 21). Her information did not come from some mystical experience or a revelation from God but from what God had done in the past. (4) Israels God is God of heavens and earth. So, her works were directly connected to her theology. In other words, her beliefs were consistent with her actions. James said there is no gap between our faith and our works and used Rahab as an example (Js 2:25).


How do we know that our faith is genuine? Because the works our faith produces are the things God is doing.

A. Rahab and spies negotiate 15-21

Rahab used her advantage to preserve herself and her family. It also assumes that she will become part of Israel. So what she was doing was consistent with what God was doing and she was participating in that. As a result she would be delivered too. Like the stories of both the flood and the Exodus, there would be refuge and safety for those gathered behind the doors of the ark and the doors sprinkled with blood. Now this deliverance would also come behind a prostitutes doors.

B. Spies return with the report 22-24  After the spies left she kept her promise when she could have turned the spies in to the king. So her faith in God was real. God uses the testimony of the spies to encourage Joshua to go against Jericho as God had told him to do.

A. Base all of your actions on the fear of God 2:8, 11. Our performance is according to our fears. Develop a fear of God based on a biblical knowledge of God and let that guide you in all of your decision making.

B. Since there is no inconsistency between your faith and your works, work on what you believe as well as what you do 2:11.

C. Aim your efforts toward what God is doing in our age learned from the Bible and make your desires align with Gods desires 2:9, 12-21.