Last weeks’ Faith Fridays post covered the Hebrew word QAVAH which can mean both to wait or bind something together by twisting. The basic premise is that as we wait in hope for God to act, we are bound together with His plans and purposes. This gives us strength of character to last long enough to inherit His promises.
As promised, this week’s post is about TIQVAH, another word for hope used in the Bible, which comes from QAVAH. Since QAVAH means binding by twisting, TIQVAH means…rope! Why on earth would a rope have anything to do with hope?
The first time TIQVAH is used in the Bible is Joshua chapter 2. I’ve included verses 18 and 21 for you below:
When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house.
“I accept your terms,” she replied. And she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window.
Joshua 2:18, 21 New Living Translation (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation
What mysterious transaction was this? When Joshua inherited leadership of the Israelite people from Moses, he sent spies to Jericho to scout the lay of the land. Joshua was planning his campaign of conquering Canaan. The spies thought they would be safe from suspicion in the home of a prostitute named Rahab, who lived in Jericho’s mighty wall. They were not. The entire city was on red-alert from the nearby successes of the Israelite army against King Og of Bashan and King Sihon of the vicious Amorites. Someone spotted those Israelite boys quickly and reported it to the King. He immediately sent soldiers to question Rahab who had hidden the spies on the roof of her home. Rahab made a clever lie to the soldiers, and they were off chasing the spies outside the city gates. Once the soldiers were gone, Rahab made the spies promise to keep her and her family safe. They agreed to do so on one condition: that she place a scarlet TIQVAH (rope) hanging from her window so the Israelite army wouldn’t slaughter her and her kin.
Nowhere else in Scripture is TIQVAH translated as rope. Everywhere else it is used in its figurative sense, as hope. There is one remarkable thing about Rahab that many of you may not know: she was the great-great Grandmother of King David who is the ancestor both of Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ earthly parents. She is one of only four women mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy. Rahab, a non-Jew or Gentile, converted to Judaism and married Salmon. They had Boaz. Boaz is featured in the short book of Ruth. He married a Gentile too, Ruth the Moabitess, who is also featured in Jesus’ genealogy. What was the deal with this non-Jewish infusion into the incarnate Jewish Messiah’s bloodline?
Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.”
And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.”
And yet again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.”
And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.”
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:8-13 New Living Translation (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation
Little did Rahab know when she placed the TIQVAH out of her window that the little “rope of hope” would become a symbol of the hope of all nations, Jewish and non-Jewish. Rahab was delivered from destruction by her works of faith in hiding the spies and displaying the rope out of her window. She put her trust in an unknown God to save her. This believer in hope became the ancestress of the Hope of all nations, the King of Israel and of all the world. Just as the TIQVAH was scarlet, so was the blood of her descendant Jesus when he gave His life as a ransom for the sins of all people, uniting both groups–Jewish and Gentile–into one redeemed race of all those who put their trust in Him.
Have you placed the Scarlet Thread outside your window: have you made a public confession of faith in Jesus and are trusting Him to save you from a world set apart for destruction? Rahab trusted the spies and the God they served: I hope you will trust me and God, the Source of all Hope, that if you put your trust in Him, He will come through on His promises to you. While you QAVAH (wait) for that to manifest in your everyday life, I hope you will become like that very TIQVAH (rope) of hope, twisted together and bound to the word and promise of God that will keep you hopeful even when the world around you is shaken.
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