When you hear her name, who comes to mind? Are you familiar with her story? I wouldn’t say she’s the most popular woman in the Bible. (I mean, Mary is pretty well known.) But, Rahab gets her fair share of page-time too. She’s mentioned along side the great heroes of the faith …Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, a whole bunch of others. And Rahab.
Rahab was a prostitute. One of the many broken, worse-for-the-wear, imperfect people God has used (and is still using) to write His story of redemption.
Rahab’s debut is in the 6th book of the Bible, Joshua. Chapter 2. [Bible-history-nerd moment: fitting this story into its historical context will be helpful, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the backstory. The Israelites were freed from Egypt and followed Moses through the desert. There was a lot of grumbling and complaining and wandering and repenting and failing again, yada yada, so the journey to the promised land took a while. Moses died and left Joshua in charge. And here we are. With Joshua, the newly appointed leader of God’s people, preparing to enter and take over the Promised Land, Jericho. You know the song, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho… and the walls came tumbling down. Yeah, that’s going to happen soon.]
Here’s where Rahab comes in.
Joshua 2:1-11 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them!” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut. 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 int his 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 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.”
If you want to know the rest of that story, read Joshua 2. It gets pretty good 🙂
But Rahab. This girl gets me. She says, “We have heard what the Lord has done for you” … that was enough for her. She had heard what the Lord had done for His people, and believed it to be true. I mean, if you had heard these people were coming and their God had parted a sea for them to walk through on dry land, would you believe it?
But she knew. She knew in her heart that it was true. And it led her to conclude, “the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
Rahab goes on to ‘save the day’ for the spies. She gets them out of Jericho safely and then when God’s people do the whole walking around the city thing (remember that old song – Joshua fought the battle of Jericho… ), the spies make good on a promise to her to save her and her family from the destruction of the rest of Jericho.
Rahab then ends up in the lineage of Jesus, the Messiah.
She wasn’t born to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, the “chosen people.” She was an outsider.
But she heard what the Lord had done for his people, and believed it, and she became the great great grandmother of King David.
Her destiny was changed because she believed what the Lord had done for His people.
And that, my dear friends, is good news.
Because the same can be true for us today. There are all kinds of promises in the Bible for people who hear what God has done and choose to believe it.
So, have you heard?