By H. A. Ironside (adapted from “Addresses On The Book Of Joshua,” pp.32-34)
“And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. ” —Joshua 2:13 KJV
In this request Rahab showed a remarkable understanding of the desire of the God of Israel, for all through Scripture we see it is the purpose of God: His desire and will is to save His people in families, in households. If He shows mercy to one person in a household it is an indication that He wants to save every member of that family. Speaking of the coming judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, God said of Abraham, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do? … For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him” (Gen. 18:17,19).
Oh, Christian fathers and mothers, what about your attitude toward your households? Have you recognized your responsibility? Are you acting for God in the home to command your children after you? I know we live in a day of self-expression when we are taught that we should not quell the natural desires of our children, and most of us have given way to this teaching. As a result we have unconverted children in our homes, whose ways are the expression of their vile, wicked, corrupt natures. Scripture says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15).
Mrs. William Booth, wife of the first general of the Salvation Army, who reared a large family of eight children, claimed every one of them for God before they were born. She used to say, “I refuse to bring any child into the world to be damned in hell at last” (See 2 Th. 2:12). In their early days some of those children thought their mother was rather stern and hard because she would not allow them to go into the things of the world like other children, but the day came when every one of them thanked their mother for standing between them and the world, and all grew up to preach Christ and seek to bring others to Him.
A tremendous responsibility rests on parents in these matters. Too many parents say, “I will let my child go just so far in the ways of the world, and I hope eventually he will come to God,” only to learn that later on he does not desire to know God at all. Your child may rebel against your correction, but he will thank you for it later on when he has come to know the Lord. Your child may look upon you as old-fashioned, but when at last he has turned to Christ for salvation then he will indeed thank you for ever having sought to lead him in the way of righteousness.
Rahab was a poor woman who had gone down into the depth of sin, but now had turned to God, and her heart cried out for the deliverance of her loved ones; so she pleaded for her household.
In the New Testament we read of the Philippian jailor who came thinking only of himself. He cried out, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Apparently his family was gathered about him, and Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31). That night there was great rejoicing in that house. The whole household was brought to faith in Christ and they confessed His name in baptism.
If you are the only saved member in your household, lay hold of God and in faith cry to Him for salvation for the other members of your family. Live Christ before them and look to God to bring them all to Himself. In this we may closely emulate the faith of Rahab.