Rahab the Faithful?
Rahab, known as a harlot and a savior of Israel is one of the greatest stories of faith in the Bible.
Forty years after the Jews left the bondage of Egypt, spies were once again sent to gather information on the land that God had instructed them to conquer.
“Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.” (Joshua 2:1)
The spies enter the house of a harlot, why? Answering this question helps us to understand more about Rahab. First of all, Rahab may not have been a practicing harlot at that time but was still only known from her past life of harlotry. Secondly, entering a house of ill repute would not garner so much attention. Foreigners lodging in a more public area would have drawn undue and unnecessary attention and would made them much more vulnerable. Lastly, the Bible says they went to lodge there. These men were looking for food and rest.
The king of Jericho had learned what was happening and he sent for answers from Rahab. Rahab simply said she saw the men but knew not where they were from or where they went. Rahab had hid the men and aided in their escape but why?
Rahab heard the stories of how God had delivered His people. “And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:11)
Rahab had gained great faith in God simply from hearing of His power and love for His people. We have the same stories available to us today, how God has delivered His people. God delivers His people from alcohol, drugs, hate, anger, and much more. Does hearing God’s power give you faith?
James 2:25 says “Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?” Here, Rahab is acknowledged for her good works. Not that her works are what saved her but faith in action inevitably produced good works. Our faith should cause us to do good in our lives as well. I would question the Christian who says they have faith but never allows it to be manifest in their daily lives.
God had a special plan for Rahab. The story of the Old Testament is basically the story of the devil attack on the lineage of Christ. God was preserving Rahab while the devil was trying to prevent the Messiah from being born. The Messiah came through Rahab, a gentile sinner who put her faith in God. Ruth 4:13-21 tells us that King David was Ruth’s great grandson. Matthew 1:5 tells us that Boaz, Ruth’s husband, was the daughter of Rahab. Therefore Rahab’s faith allowed God’s people to have a king that would lead God’s people. Jesus, therefore, is a descendant Rahab.
Had she not helped God’s people she would have been destroyed with the rest of Jericho. The deal she made with the spies proved to offer salvation to her whole family. “Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2:12-13)
This helps us to understand that this was not a selfish faith, one that would only produce life for herself. She risked her life for the life of her entire family.
We can learn three lessons from the story of and faith of Rahab.
1 – Great sin is no bar for repentance. One who has led a life of even the greatest sin, once repentant can, live a great life free from guilt. There is no sin so bad that God cannot forgive it (1 John 1:9).
2 – Even one who has led a life of sin can become of great hero of faith.
3 – Unfortunately, the stain of a life of sin can cling to us long after repentance has washed the sin away.
Even though Rahab had shown great faith all she was ever known as was a harlot. Very similar to the thief on the cross. All we know about him are two things; 1 – he was a thief, and 2 – He repented and asked Jesus remember Him when He comes into His kingdom.
Just as the thief who repented will receive eternal life in the resurrection, so will Rahab and so can you. Rahab is listed among the faithful of Hebrews 11 in verse 31 “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.”
You too can have great faith like these misfits. Would you choose now to repent and accept Jesus offer of forgiveness and eternal life? Feel free to recite this simple prayer:
“Father in Heaven, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for me. I recognize that I am a sinner and that I have hurt others, myself, and even you. Please forgive me for the sins I have committed and help me to lead a life that would glorify and honor the death of your precious Son Jesus. I want to commit the rest of my life to serving you. Amen.”