Thanks to guest blogger Cecily Lusk for her thoughts on the story of Rahab.
Faith of a Broken Woman? The story of Rahab can be found in Joshua Chapter 2.
Rahab was a harlot living in Jericho. She welcomed Israelite spies into her house, which was built into the wall of Jericho. She hid them, and even redirected the men searching for them, men who were sent by the King of Jericho himself.
Rahab did not know God and didn’t live according to His way but she had heard of His power. She knew that the Lord would deliver the land she lived in, that was her home, into the hands of His people. Because of her faith in His power, she asked the spies to spare her and her family.
“8 Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof 9 and said to the men, ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign 13 that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.’” (Joshua 2:8-13)
After the wall of Jericho fell, Joshua told the Israelites to take the city, but to spare Rahab and her household.
“But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” (Joshua 6:25)
It’s a happy ending for Rahab. Both she and her family were spared because of her act of kindness. That’s not quite the end of the story though.
“…and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.” Matthew 1:5-6, 16
Not only was Rahab’s life spared because of her faith, she also became an ancestor of Jesus. To me, it always seemed like a small act — she welcomes the spies into her home and kept them from being killed. Hebrews 13:2 says “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, fo thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” That doesn’t seem like a huge deal, she was a nice and hospitable harlot.
However, after I realized that she was an ancestor of Jesus, I dug a little deeper into her story. Rahab had faith in a God whose power she had only heard tales of. She had enough faith that she saved some strange men who were looking to take over her homeland.
Rahab displayed her faith by offering hospitality to strangers. She was greatly rewarded for what seems like a small act. Rahab shows that women of faith don’t always have to make grand gestures. It’s the little acts of kindness that define a woman of faith.
“By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” (Hebrew 11:31)
Until next time