A Scarlet Thread
Joshua 6:5 - Joshua 10:9
Very few women are mentioned within the accounts of the scriptures, and rarely are they mentioned by name.
For that reason I tried to give special attention to the story of Rahab that we read about yesterday and today. I find myself wondering how, in a city so filled with wickedness, she came to hear the story of the Red Sea. I am even more intrigued with the fact that her pondering upon that subject must have caused her to act. For, somewhere between the parting of the Red Sea and the moment when two spies showed up on her doorstep, Rahab had come to know the Lord. This becomes clear in her conversation with the two spies, “For the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:11)
Through the kindness of her actions in hiding them and sparing their lives, Rahab was promised a kindness from the spies… a promise that she would live through the destruction of Jericho. But that wasn’t good enough for Rahab who wanted that promise extended to “my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters…” (Joshua 2:13)
In order to make sure she and her family would be saved in the moment of destruction, the two spies instructed her, “Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee…” (Joshua 2:18)
“…and she bound the scarlet line in the window.” (Joshua 2:21)
In Chapter six we read of the moment when Jericho was destroyed, “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” (Joshua 6:25)
Joshua saved Rahab.
My heart can’t help but be drawn to the symbolism in this story.
A young women whose heart had been prepared. Two messengers who knocked on her door.
In that moment, prepared, she opened her heart and her home to the story they shared. Through their conversation she came to know the Lord of Israel. Once they had left, she shared that belief with her father, her mother, her brothers and her sisters. Because she had allowed those two men entrance into her home, and through her faith, her entire family was saved.
My favorite image from this story is the scarlet thread hung in the window of her home. It reminds me of the lamb’s blood carefully placed on each door in Egypt. The scarlet thread Rahab hung carefully in her window would serve as a reminder that her home was to be spared from the destruction. Passed over. Protected.
Each of us needs a scarlet thread in our window. A reminder that just as Joshua saved Rahab, the Savior can save each of us.
I am led to ponder the atonement and the realization that to fully participate in the blessing of the atonement we cannot be a casual observer. It is through our faith, our works, and our longing to know more of the Lord that we fully experience the blessings. The protection.
For a moment I wonder if we could try to consider the scarlet thread moments of our own lives…the moments that lead us to participate in the atonement.
I am led to think about the Sacrament.
A reminder to always remember Him.
To take upon us His name so that we might be saved.
A scarlet thread.
The thought of it motivates me to begin preparing today for the Sabbath.
In that moment of Sunday worship I do not want to be just a casual observer.
I want to prepare my heart, just as Rahab did, to know more of the Lord, and to come to more fully understand His atonement.
Through my faith, and through my actions.
Waiting For the Promise by Elspeth Young
Ensign, September 2006
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