Then she said, "According to your words, so be it." And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window. (Joshua 2:21)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Rahab was not a clean and good mannered woman. She was a bad lady. She was a sinner. She was what most of us would call one of the “those” people. The kind of woman who would get stares and whispers as she walked by. The kind of woman whom people love to talk about because by pointing out how bad she is, it makes them feel better. Maybe it’s like the unpopular kids or the other girls or young men that people whisper about with juicy gossip.
But when the Lord wipes the city of Jericho off the face of the earth, it's only Rahab and her family who are left. Rahab has no illusions about what kind of woman she is. She knows she doesn't deserve anything from anyone and that she ought to die with the rest. But she has experienced the fear of the Lord. She has heard of God's power. And she also knows that He is merciful and spares people's lives for the sake of the promised Savior.
So when the day comes for Jericho to be destroyed, there is a scarlet cord hanging out her window. Scarlet. The color of royalty. The color of blood. The reminder that it is scarlet that saves Rahab and her family. Not the scarlet of a piece of rope--the scarlet of the Savior whose blood is shed many years later for Rahab. In a stroke of divine irony, the Bible later tells us that this very Rahab ended up marrying an Israelite and becoming one of the people in King David's and eventually Jesus' family tree! How's that for showing there's hope for us! A sinner in the line of the Savior! That means that we sinners are also in God's family, too.
When the day comes for this world to be destroyed, the blood of that Savior, Jesus, Rahab's great-great-great-etc. grandson, saves you. Like the scarlet cord hanging out her window, your Baptism and the body and blood of Jesus are given to you, a sign and pledge of God's mercy and salvation when the day of destruction comes. So join Rahab in giving thanks for the Lord's merciful salvation. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
For all the faithful women Who served in days of old, To You shall thanks be given; To all, their story told. They served with strength and gladness In tasks Your wisdom gave. To You their lives bore witness, Proclaimed Your pow'r to save. (LSB 855:1)