Scripture References—Joshua 2:1, 3; 6:17-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25
Joshua chapter 2 introduces us to this character. Rahab was a Canaanite and she was a harlot. Rahab and her family found favour from God and survived the destruction of Jericho. She is one among the two women mentioned in Hebrews 11 – hall of faith chapter in the Bible. We also see her being part of genealogy of Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:5. Even epistle of James talks about her works of faith.
Her life was not like ours. She was a harlot and innkeeper. Being a harlot is a sinful profession. It is against God’s law. We don’t know why she chose this profession. We all know the story of Rahab, it was during the time when Joshua sends two of his men to spy the land secretly especially the land of Jericho and there we see how Rahab comes to the rescue of these men by hiding them and when the King of Jericho sends his men to find out, Rahab says “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went, I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” (But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)
She was involved in a sinful profession and even in this stance, she lied to the soldiers, then how did her name show up as an example of faith in Hebrews 11 and be part of the family tree of Jesus Christ? It is because of the Grace of our God and her faith.
- Fear God more than men
Rahab was obligated to obey the orders of the powerful King of Jericho but she chose to obey someone higher than her earthly king, that is her God because she had come to hear of his works and as a sinner, she knew deserved the judgement from God.
- Her Sin and forgiveness
Leviticus 19:11 says we must not lie to one another. Lying is a sin and it is against God. We all know that Rahab lied to protect the spies. She sinned. But we cannot judge this action of hers from our moral perspective. Rahab grew as a gentile among the terrible canaanites. God decided to exterminate these people from the face of earth because of their utter sinfulness, and imagine being a harlot among such a depraved nation! She growing up in this culture without any knowledge of God or his laws. She may have not yet even fully understood the magnitude of sinful way of life. But we see that she has heard something about our God and believed in Him as we see this in Joshua 2:9,10, she said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For 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 the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed”. Having the faith to believe in God is the first step to becoming part of God’s people and hence she found favour in the Lord and her name is mentioned in Hebrews and James and God being rich in grace has even given her a place in genealogy of his Son (where sin abounds, grace abounds much more).
- Faith displayed through works.
James chapter 2 clearly talks about faith without works is dead. James also sets Rahab as a good example of faith displayed through works. Yes, Rahab did sinned by lying, we cannot excuse her for that, but she had faith in the Lord and she displayed it through works by helping the two men.
- No Sin is greater than God’s mercy.
Looking at her profession we know that she was into a sinful act. In our society, prostitutes are looked down. Many of them think that they don’t deserve God’s mercy. But our God is a merciful God and he never shows favouritism. If His grace stooped to save this harlot in the OT when God was primarily working through the Israelites, how much more now in the NT times when God welcomes all nations to come to him through the person and work of his Son, Jesus Christ. During Jesus earthly ministry, many harlots and publicans found the grace of God. Even today, that grace is offered to any vile sinner who truly believes
- God’s protection towards her family as a result of her faith.
Yes, this is one of the blessing which Rahab received, because of her faith, we see her family was protected. We must remember that Rahab had just heard about our God, His deliverance for the people of Israel, she didn’t see it personally, but she believed what she heard and she didn’t just believe that God does really exist, but she also developed the faith that God is the most powerful being who would be able to protect her and her family from the sure destruction that would fall on the city of Jericho.
- Fear God more than men; be it whoever and whatever post they are in.
- Many times, we have to take decisions under pressure and during those times, it is always good to seek God’s wisdom rather than falling prey to sin.
- Rahab was an imperfect person just like us but her life is a model to many now. We are all sinners, but continuing in the same sin keeps us away from God. We must repent of our sins and seek God’s forgiveness. Our God is a merciful God and he shows his mercy on us.
- Faith a key element of Christian life should virtually grow and be shown through works. Many a times we say we have faith but don’t display in our acts. We must pray to God that we must not have a dead faith.
- When we repent of our sins and display our faith through our life and deeds, God can use us to save many even our own families.
- Grace of God is freely available for any wretched sinner who truly believes. We must never look down on anyone assuming they are beyond the reach of the grace of God. We never know on whom God shows His divine mercy.