I’m not sure when I tasted my first red vine. In my family we called it red licorice. It immediately became a favorite candy of mine. Being red you would think the flavor would strawberry or cherry or raspberry but it’s actually more like vanilla. Later in life we visited a Costco store and there they had pallets of 3 pound tubs of red vines. Every Costco visit would be a chance to reconnect with a humongous supply of my favorite childhood candy.
I’ve had to quit, or at cut way back on my candy consumption. About 8 years ago I found out that I have type 2 diabetes. I now get one small package of red vines at Christmas in my stocking and that is my annual supply. It’s July. I haven’t had one since January and won’t get another until December and yet this morning I was thinking about red vines.
This seems random and insignificant until you read what I read in my daily bible reading.
The nation Israel was camped on the east side of the Jordan. Their mission was to cross the Jordan and begin taking the land that God had promised to their ancestor Abraham. The leader of the Israelites, Joshua, secretly sent 2 spies in to scout the city of Jericho. The spies spent the night in the house of a prostitute named Rahab. Somehow the king of Jericho found out about it and he sent soldiers to apprehend the spies. Rahab hid them on the roof and then lied to the soldiers, telling them that he spies had already left the city, and that if they hurried, the soldiers might catch them in the hill country.
Rahab had a reason to protect them. Here we find out what her reason was.
“Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them —and that you will save us from death.” “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.” So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.” Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear. ” “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.” So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
Joshua 2:8-21 – NIV
I have established my love for red vines. A red vine. A scarlet cord. Coincidence? I don’t know. The Israelites will come in and destroy Jericho and every man woman child and animal will be killed, except for the family in the house with the scarlet cord, (red vine) hanging from the window. Rahab and her family were held back from the slaughter. Rahab ended up marrying one of the spies.
Hooray for the rescue! But wait, there’s more. Rahab’s name will continue to show up in the Bible, her faith in God will be praised, but she also becomes a link that makes us all eternally in her debt. In Matthew chapter 1 we read the lineage of Jesus. Verse 5 we see the link.
“Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,
Matthew 1:5 – NIV
The scarlet cord, the red vine, became a link in the chain of events that led to the birth of Jesus.
In one way I could say red vines made me sick, but a scarlet cord saved my soul. No, that’s too corny. It’s true but not completely accurate, red vines didn’t give me diabetes. Instead I will say I love red vines, and I love the scarlet cord that brought fulfillment of Gods promise to save and redeem all of mankind. Because Jesus came a died for us and was raised to life again, a restored relationship with a God who loves us is always just a prayer away.