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July 12 – The scarlet cord

“And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.” – Joshua 2:21

Scripture reading: Joshua 2:8-21

People wonder about the meaning of that scarlet cord that Rahab hung out of her window. The Holy Spirit mentions the colour, so it has to mean something. But what does it mean? Some say, Scarlet is the colour of blood, so it must be a symbol of the blood of Christ. And it means that Rahab was saved by the blood of Christ. But in the Bible, scarlet is also the colour of sin (Isaiah 1:18). And scarlet is also associated with prostitution (Jeremiah 4:30; Revelation 17:3,4).

Apparently, in those days and in that part of the world, prostitutes would hang a scarlet cord out of their window, so that the men who passed by would know where to find them. Rahab used to hang that scarlet cord out the front window of her house; it identified her as a prostitute. It was a symbol of her shameful life.

But after she professed faith in Israel’s God, the spies told her, Take that scarlet cord, that used to identify you as a prostitute, and hang it out the back window, as a testimony to your new identity in Christ. Hang it out the back window, and let it serve now as your public profession of faith in our God.

That’s what she did. And the scarlet cord which had once testified to her lostness and her shame was transformed; it became a sign of her righteousness and salvation. And a great encouragement to the people of Israel.

Suggestions for prayer

Praise God for His sovereign love and grace, extended to you, even though you are completely undeserving.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario.

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