Posted by: Brad Beaman | December 15, 2012

Rahab: A Prostitute with Faith in God

When we come to the book of Joshua we come to a new era for the people of Israel with a new leader: Joshua. Moses was a great leader, but forty years is enough time in the wilderness. Moses is gone but God’s purposes for His people continue.

Joshua is charged to be strong and courageous. Joshua has the presence of God and he must stay true to God’s Word.

After Moses died there was 30 days of mourning (Deuteronomy 34:8). Now Joshua is charged and within three days they would cross the Jordan River into the promise land.

Joshua sent two spies to look over the promise land especially the city of Jericho. The two spies are not named, but the person whose house they went to is named. It was Rahab.

Rahab is a harlot, a prostitute. In the footnote of my Bible it says that she is possibly the innkeeper. No, that is not a possible interpretation and I will mention why a little later.

Why did these spies go to Rahab? They were strangers, foreigners trying to draw as little attention to themselves as possible. Their mission was to go in and spy out the land.

They went to the house of Rahab a woman of ill repute because strangers come and go here. They could be unnoticed and spy out the cities and go back with the information for the battle plan.

But it was not discrete enough. The whole of Jericho was on edge. They were afraid of Israel. Before Moses death they prevailed in a battle on the East side of the Jordan River. Now Jericho lying on the West side of the river feels threatened.

The King of Jericho knew of the plans. He was told (vs. 2) that the Israelites had come to spy out the land. Now these two unnamed spies are in danger of losing their lives. The king sent a message to Rahab. Bring them out they are spies.

This woman of ill repute, this prostitute does something amazing. She puts her neck on the line to cover for the spies. Yes, they were here she says, but they are gone now. If you hurry you might catch them. She had hidden the Israelite spies on the roof among the stalks of flax.

She sent the Jericho guards out on a wild goose chase. The Jericho guards went out like Keystone Cops. They were probably bumping into each other to rush out and find the spies.

Why did Rahab help the foreign spies? Why did she bring risk to herself to protect them? Rahab and all the city of Jericho knew how the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and how the Egyptians were destroyed. Rahab and all Jericho heard how Israel had utterly destroyed two kings on the East side of the Jordan.

The bottom line is that Rahab knew the God of Israel was the God of Heaven and earth (Vs. 11). It was because of her faith in God. She knew God gave the Israelites the land. Since she knew God was going to give Israel the victory she spared the life of the spies.

Is there any conditions on her sparing the spies? Yes. They must spare her life and her family when God hands Jericho over to them. They agreed. When the Lord gives them the land Rahab and her family will be spared.

The agreement was made and she let the spies down through her window since her house was on the wall of the city. The scarlet cord was to be tied to the window as a sign. It was an incredible story, but the rest of the Bible bears out just how incredible it really was.

When Jericho fell only Rahab and her family were spared (Joshua 6:17-25). Rahab and her family were brought in the Israelite camp. Not outside as an unclean where the gentiles and prostitutes were, but inside the camp as clean.

The God whom Rahab placed her faith changed her. She was a harlot before but now she is a hero a heroine.

There is some uncertainty in the Hebrew if Rahab is a prostitute. The Greek clears it up. Hebrews 11:31 the hall of faith makes it clear Rahab was a prostitute. Rahab was a harlot and Rahab is an example of a life changed by faith in God.

The heroes of the faith; Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and yes Rahab the harlot is a heroine of the faith. It does not matter what she was. She expressed faith in God and was transformed. She was made into a new person. That is what faith in God does.

God changes people. Rahab not only lived with the pagans but she was the worst among them. She was transformed by faith and used by God. Those who put their faith in Jesus Christ are new creations. We are only sinners saved by grace.

Read Hebrews chapter 11. Where is Joshua? Where is Caleb? They did not make the hall of faith list. Rahab the harlot did. She is a great old testament hero of the faith.

The writer of James mentions Rahab (James 2:25-26). James is talking about faith that shows itself by action. Faith without works is dead. No matter what aspect of faith you want to bring out Rahab is a beautiful illustration of faith.

Rahab risked everything and trusted God. It is not just what she said but what she did. God is no respecter of persons. To the woman who was caught in adultery Jesus could say go and sin no more. Nothing more strongly illustrates how God can change and use someone than Matthew 1:5-6

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose
mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse, Jesse was the father of David the King.

Rahab was the great-great grandmother of King David! The Messiah and Savior of the world came through Rahab! Rahab the prostitute is in the hall of faith and the genealogy of Jesus!

God used this harlot as a great heroine. An amazing hero of our faith.

Jesus rebuked the so-called righteous Pharisees and said, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

God can save you! God can use you!

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