In the book of Hebrews there is a list of the great saints of the Bible. Interestingly, Rahab is the only woman on the list. She is named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. Her story is told in Joshua 2 and 6. The first half of the book of Joshua tells how the Israeli armies, led by Joshua, conquer the land of Canaan. The battle of Jericho was their first battle, and it was a mighty victory. Before the battle, Joshua sent spies to Jericho to scope out the place.
Joshua 2:1 says, “ Joshua son of Num secretly sent out (from Shittim) two men as spies: “Go. Look over the land. Check out Jericho.” They left and arrived at the house of a harlot named Rahab and stayed there.”
Why did the Hebrew spies stop at the house of a harlot? The world’s answer is never God’s answer. God’s answer lies in what His word says.
In 1 Samuel 16:7 we are told that God judges persons differently than we do, God looks INTO the heart. In 2 Chronicles 16:9 we can read that God is CONSTANTLY ON THE LOOKOUT for people who are totally committed to him. And in Proverbs 15:3 we read that GOD DOESN’T MISS A THING.
God sent the spies to the only one in Jericho who was looking for Him. It wasn’t a coincidence that the spies found someone whose heart was open to God. The world looked at Rahab as a harlot, God looked at her heart and saw what she really was. Rahab hid the Hebrew spies on her roof for one night. Through her conversation with the spies we see that she had a fear of God and knew that He and He alone could help her. In reading her conversation notice that God is the center of her focus.
“I know that God has given you the land. We’re all afraid. Everyone in the country feels hopeless. We heard how God dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you, when you left Egypt, and what He did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you put under a holy curse and destroyed. We heard it and our hearts sank. We all had the wind knocked out of us. And all because of you, you and God, your God, God of the heavens above and God of the earth below. Now promise me by God. I showed you mercy; now show my family mercy.” Joshua 2:8-21
A few chapters later when Joshua commands the army to destroy Jericho he says this, “Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared.” (Joshua 6:17)
How incredible that Rahab and her family were spared! Her words in Joshua 2 showed us her heart. In all of Jericho, only Rahab humbled herself before God and asked for mercy.
So what does the story of Rahab have to do with rodeo wives? There is a little or maybe a lot of Rahab in all of us. In looking a little closer at her story we can see how.
- In the Bible, harlotry is more than a physical sin. When we worship anything more than God, it is called spiritual harlotry. In God’s eyes that is every bit as bad as Rahab’s harlotry. Who of us have not sinned by putting ourselves above God at one time or another? There may be more of Rahab in each of us than we thought.
- God found Rahab in the midst of sinners. Rahab’s sins didn’t keep God away from her. God saw Rahab in Jericho; He also saw into her heart. He saw her desire to come to Him. When we are in a Jericho situation, God will see into our heart. God hates it when we are hurt by sin. He is always watching his kids. When they want out of their sin filled situation—God will show up to save them.
Rahab’s faith saved her family from destruction. The story of Rahab doesn’t tell us what her relationship was like with her family or what they thought of her occupation. All we see is that God had mercy on Rahab and her family, because of her faith. And for us, we don’t know the difference our faith will make in the lives of others.
- God always sees into our heart. A thousand years after Rahab’s lifetime, the book of Hebrews was written. She is still called a harlot. Perhaps God never let the label ‘prostitute’ leave her name to give us hope. No matter what the label we may carry through our lives—God knows the real you and the real me! God doesn’t care about the labels—our sins are forgiven and forgotten.
- God forgets our sins. Even though God knows all of the wrong things each of us has done, when we ask for forgiveness He willingly forgives. But even more, when He forgives He forgets. The Bible tells us that God will throw all of our sins into the sea of forgetfulness and never remember them again. Never, not ever. Most of us have things in our past we wish would go away—they have for God. When the world throws up your past sins to you, God isn’t behind it. God has forgotten.
- Finish well. Almost every time Rahab is mentioned in the Bible she is labeled as a harlot. Rahab got off to a bad start, but she finished well. The race isn’t over, we all can finish well.
- God never forgets us. God didn’t forget Rahab, and God will never forget you. God forgives and forgets sin, but He will never forget His children. Never, not ever. If you have true wholehearted faith in the Living God, you, like Rahab, will never be forgotten by your Heavenly Father.
The book of Hebrews was written over a thousand years after the fall of Jericho. Hebrews 11 is often called the faith chapter because it lists the saints who exhibited great faith in their lives. Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets are all listed, and so is Rahab.
In James 2:25 Rahab is described as righteous because of her deeds–
a combination of believing and doing.
May the Lord always see us as women of faith.
Women who believe and live pleasing to God.
Joshua 2, 6