Rahab. People talk about Rahab as a prostitute. It was not hidden in the Bible that she was of the sinful people God was ready to wipe out. But how can an unclean woman in the eyes of believers today gets the attention of God and used her to save the Israelite spies?
Let us find out how Rahab is People Just Like You.
Rahab’s Back story
The story went on like this: Joshua sent two spies to the land of Canaan, most especially Jericho (because of its high walls and great armies). These spies went inside the house of a prostitute named Rahab. She hid the Israelites on her roof before the king sent men to search for them. The harlot denied of knowing the spies’ identities and lied about their whereabouts. After the soldiers of Jericho went oposite her house, she went up the roof and talked highly about God and how she feared Him in front of the spies and asked them to spare her and her family. She then freed the spies and when the walls of Jericho was fallen, they spared Rahab and her father’s household.
see full story in the Bible: Joshua 2-6
In the time of Moses, forty years before the fall of Jericho, he sent twelve spies to oversee the promised land. Only two came back with great news. One of them was Caleb and the other was Joshua. They saw the beauty of the land and did not show fear, unlike the others who came back and ready to back out.
The land was sinful because of the residents living in it. They worshipped pagan gods who God despises. The Canaanites lived like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, full of lust and glutony, which the Lord destroyed. They do the opposite of what is written in God’s law.
But God has promised to give His people the land of milk and honey. So forward to Joshua when he sent two spies to see the situation of the land.
“Rahab hid the two Israelite spies”
The king knew about the spies that sneaked inside the walls of Jericho and immediately sent men to search for them. Despite her fear of betraying her own people, Rahab hid the two spies under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof. (Joshua 2:6)
There were so many houses the young men could have entered but why did God sent them into the house of this woman? Only God knows.
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?Romans 11:34
Or who has been his counselor?”
13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,Isaiah 40:13
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
The men of the king went knocking at the door of Rahab as if someone or something tipped them off about the Israelites entering her home. She has already prepared an alibi to save the men of God and sent the king’s men away from her house.
She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 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.”Joshua 2:4-5
Okay. This is not what the Lord told us to do in the Bible. It could also be a stumbling block for some. But remember this: Rahab was not a child of God at that time. She didn’t know what are the laws of this God she knew from her childhood. This Canaanite woman was aware of what was happening around her hometown about the power of the God of the Israelites and how He saved His children from the enemies.
(But she will know God more and will live among the Israelites where she will experience His greatness and glory. And this is why she was written in the lineage of Jesus Christ despite her sin and differences.)
It made her fear the Lord more than knowing what will happen to her if she lied and betrayed her people.
So Rahab’s story was a story of redemption. God knows that if He uses someone who is righteous, people will brag about their accomplishments.
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before Him.1 Corinthians 1:27-29
“She preached about the greatness of the God of the Israelites”
Rahab did not know who the God of the Israelites really was. She was not aware of His teachings. This woman not only knew about how their God delivered their enemies to defeat and how His wrath destroyed their foes.
But she saw the greatness of this All Mighty God that delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, He who parted the red sea to let His people escape from Pharaoh and his people, the One who was with his children through the wilderness, and still for the Israelites to this day.
She feared the Lord and His people.
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roofJoshua 2:8-11
9 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.
10 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.
11 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.
“She asked for deliverance”
The people of Canaan were afraid and was shaken with terror. But Rahab have feared God that led her to have greater faith in Him. She saved the Israelite spies because she knows that their God will save her and her family from what the Lord planned with the land.
This episode was contrary to what God has told Joshua in Joshua 1 about being BOLD and COURAGEOUS. Joshua carried God’s words with him. While the Canaanites lost their will to be bold and courageous.
6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
Rahab told the Israelites,
12 “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 13 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.”Joshua 2:12-13
14 “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.”Joshua 2:14
So Rahab let them go through the window with a rope and led them to go to the hills and hide for three days after the pursuers return to Jericho then they could go their way.
17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us
18 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.
19 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.
20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”
21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”Joshua 2:17-21
She tied the scarlet cord in her window.
The Israelites did what Rahab told them. They hid up the hill for three days and when the men who are searching for them failed, they went down the hills and got back to Joshua and their people.
24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
“She remained calm”
The day came when the Israelites camped outside of Jericho to conquer the land they were promised. Because of the Israelites, the gates of Jericho was securely barred. No one went out and no one came in.
The Lord commanded Joshua to march the city once with armed men and have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. They will do this for six days. But on the seventh day, they will march around the city seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets. And after the long blast of the trumpets, the whole army will shout and the walls of the Jericho will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.
Imagine how the inhabitants of Jericho felt. On the first days, they would say “What are these people doing? What’s with this silent marching?” But hearing this same pace every day for six days could have made them tremble with fright.
But Rahab did what she was told. She and her family remained calm despite the tremor the marching of the Israelites caused. For she had faith that the Israelites will be true to their words because the Lord they serve is the God that saved them too many times she lost count.
Then on the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!”
17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.Joshua 6:15-17
Rahab Lived Among the Israelites
The walls of Jericho was flattened to the ground. Joshua told the Israelites to go to the house of the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belongs to her in accordance to their oaths to her. They brought the family of Rahab outside the camp of Israel.
Then God’s people burnt the whole city and everything in it (except gold and silver, and articles of bronze and iron that belongs to the treasury of the Lord’s house).
But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
She was written in the gineaology of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:1-17.
We Reflect on Rahab because:
We were sinners before God.
People’s first instinct was to sin. We were sinners before we knew God.
Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.Ecclesiastes 7:20
But because of Jesus, we are saved. He was the Lamb who was slain to carry all our sins to the cross to make a path to the Lord through Him.
We fear God.
After we encounter God and His greatness, we fear Him.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,Proverbs 1:7
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
God uses us despite our differences.
Just as He used Rahab (despite her impurity) to show the greatness of God, He will use every one of us according to the plans He has for us.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”.Proverbs 19:21
God moves in ways we cannot explain.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,Isaiah 55:8-9
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
See less of us and more of God.
Sometimes we see more of us: our sins, our problems, our achievements, our transgressions.
But if we see more of God, we will not get depressed of our problems, we will not boast of our achievements, and we will see how glorious our God is and how He moves in our lives.
God is in control.
3 he refreshes my soul.Psalms 23:3
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.Ecclesiates 3:11
God is true to His promises.
9 God is ever true to His promises, and it was by Him that you were, one and all, called into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.1 Corinthians 1:9
The Scriptures tell us that Rahab has her faith on the Lord. But without her works, she would not have been saved by God.
Imagine if Rahab in her situation as the Israelites marched around Jericho one too many times have feared that the spies betrayed her and they might kill her and her family. And the only option was to escape the land, what would her legacy be like? Would her story be the same?
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.James 2:24-26
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Rahab’s faith led her to believe that God is more powerful than her people’s gods. Let us reflect to Rahab for she was redeemed by God and see her as a great woman of faith rather than her image in the past.
If you find these stories useful and interesting, click Like and Share them with your friends!
Come back every Wednesdays and Fridays for more stories on People Just Like You.