Day 4

I Have Promised to Keep Your Words

from the Psalm 119 reading plan

Psalm 119:57-72, Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Joshua 2:1-21

BY Guest Writer

I remember listening to journalist Malcolm Gladwell interview Nashville legend and famed songwriter Bobby Braddock. Their conversation centered on what goes into writing a truly sad song, the kind of tune that finds you driving with one hand on the steering wheel so the other can be free to wipe the tears from your eyes.

As they talked, they decided that country music has a leg up on rock and pop when it comes to mournful tracks, but the question that lingered was Why? In the end, Braddock said it came down to details: “We cry when melancholy collides with specificity.” It’s one thing to sing about heartache, and another thing entirely to sing about standing by a lost friend’s grave and the angels’ faces delighting to welcome that friend home. Take a listen to “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill to hear what I’m talking about.

The reason that details help sad songs resonate with us is because they echo our own experience. We live in a world of details, not generalities. Somehow, the details make a thing more real. When it comes to God’s Word, I delight in the details. You see, in the ancient world, there was no paper. Instead, texts were written on papyrus, a material similar to paper but made out of certain flattened reeds—and papyrus wasn’t cheap. That means that everything included in God’s Word is important. There are no throwaway lines, no unimportant details.

In the story of Rahab, there’s a detail that jumps off the page for me. When she lets the two Israelite spies down through her window, she does so with a “scarlet cord” (Joshua 2:18). And it was this scarlet cord that would identify her home and keep her safe when the Israelites later attacked Jericho. It wasn’t brown or blue or white. It was a scarlet rope—and that makes all the difference in telling this story.

For those early Israelite readers of Rahab’s account, they would have connected the red color of the rope “dripping” down the window frame with the lamb’s blood a previous generation had brushed on the doorframes of their homes. While still slaves in Egypt, God had passed over the houses of the Hebrews on the night the firstborn in every household in the land had died (Exodus 12:23). The blood marked those inside as belonging to God. Rahab was a Gentile and a prostitute, but she, too, would be marked as one of God’s people. Though she was late to the party, so to speak, the “blood” of the scarlet cord would bring Rahab her own Passover moment.

The symbol, of course, is not as important as the thing it symbolizes. What set Rahab apart as a member of God’s family was not the red rope but her loyalty to Yahweh, based on the reports she had heard (Joshua 2:10–11). By helping the Israelites, she was committing treason, and she knew it. By earthly measures, the people of Jericho should have been able to withstand an attack by the Israelites. Rahab could have turned the spies over to the authorities and garnered herself the favor of Jericho’s king. But she believed what she had heard about the Lord, and she gave Him her allegiance, echoing with her life what the psalmist would later write: “The LORD is my portion” (Psalm 119:57).

But the scarlet cord doesn’t just point backwards to Passover; it also points forward to Christ. It is Christ’s red blood that now marks those who are members of God’s family. The Passover account had always foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus, and God had always planned on making one new people from Jews and Gentiles. Rahab’s story reveals this had long been in God’s heart to do. The prostitute-turned-daughter of the King is even honored with a place in Jesus’s family tree (Matthew 1:5).

God is the Author of Scripture. No detail is included by accident. Every last one is an invitation to thank Him for His faithfulness, our God who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).

John Greco is a writer, editor, and Bible nerd. He and his wife, Laurin, live south of Nashville, where they daily wrangle their three small boys and dream of someday being the ones who get to take all the naps. You can find John at

Post Comments (57)

57 thoughts on "I Have Promised to Keep Your Words"

  1. Lisa Mcnew says:

    Love this imagery and truth. All scripture is vital to knowing Him truly.

  2. Eryn Murray says:

    Loved the scripture image today. The Lord is my portion-meaning he is more than enough. Very random question for y’all. So Rahab protected the men from getting killed by fibbing to the officers. I would call it protection cuz hey were covered but did any of y’all have a discussion when it comes to ‘protecting God’s anointed’? I think it would be a good discussion and would love to be enlightened.

  3. Maura says:

    This truth struck me today, Instruction from your lips is better for me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Indeed the riches of His instructions, his Word what a gift we are given in scripture. Lord, show us the wealth we have in your word. Help me to speak my faith and dwell in your word and understand keep your statutes by the grace of Jesus.

  4. Karen says:

    The word that stood out to me today in Psalm 119 is “humbled” from verses 67 and 71. When I am not humble, I go astray and I am arrogant. Humility is hard. I want to be right. So often I put my trust in myself, rather than humble myself before the Lord. Oh Lord, give me a humble heart; make me humble when I am not.

    1. Christina Fowlkes says:

      Yes Lord, give me a humble heart. I echo this prayer. Amen

    2. Traci Gendron says:

      I also pray for a humble heart ❤️

  5. Lizzie says:

    Psalm 119-“Lord, you have treated your servant well,
    just as you promised.”
    Simple, but so hard to remember. Trust in His sovereignty, He keeps His promises and declares you righteous by faith in Him alone.
    “The good news shows how God makes people right with himself. From beginning to end, becoming right with God depends on a person’s faith. It is written, “Those who are right with God will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭NIRV‬‬

  6. Paula White says:

    What a beautiful picture for today- to know that we marked safe by God!

  7. Churchmouse says:

    The psalmist in these verses is steadfast. Though he has himself erred and wandered from God, though the wicked and arrogant have harassed and slandered him, he continues to turn to the Lord and trust in His precepts. He remains firm in following God’s command. He treasures the Word in His heart regardless of his circumstance or opposition. He values God’s promises. He recounts the goodness of God. We are called to be people of the Book. May we follow the example of the psalmist. May we hold the Word in highest regard by steadfastly living according to it. So help us, God.

    1. Jennifer Martin says:


  8. Blessed Beth says:

    If only we would remember that nothing is an accident everything leads us to Heaven. God loves us so much that He gave His best, His son, the ultimate sacrifice, for all of us, and would of done it even for one. What an amazing God we have, sometimes it is hard for me to take it all in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *