From Harlot to Heroine
Read with me Joshua 2 and Joshua 6. The story of Rahab is yet another amazing example of a woman who had faith in the face of fear.
Rahab’s faith in the unseen, unknown God of her time earned her a mention in the hall of faith and she was in the family line of Jesus!
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
Rahab was a prostitute living on the edge of society, and also the edge of her city, Jericho, yet God still used her and God still uses you and me despite our many faults and weakness.
The story of Rahab and the two spies is mainly recorded in Joshua 2 where we read that the Israelites, led by Joshua, were preparing to advance into the promised land. Joshua sent spies ahead to gather a strategic plan about how Jericho worked. Their encounter with Rahab was divine - they saw success but also Rahab and her family gained salvation.
This familiar story is rich in kingdom principles and to name just a few, see below.
1. God uses us despite our faults
The Bible is full of extraordinary people who had faults here, there and everywhere. Through stories like this we are reminded of God's kingdom principle to love and use all people. Even the foolish things and weak things of this world can be used by God and for his glory. Rahab, cast to the edge of society and the edge of her city, was still used by God. It should make us all wonder about the people on the edge of our worlds, our churches, the marginalised, the ones that fall short, the ones we keep out, the ones we want out... God still loves and has a kingdom purpose for them, are you stopping them? If God can use people like Rahab, God can use people like you and the people on the edge of your world. Don't disqualify yourself or others because of sin.
2. Rahab’s faith was above her fear
Rahab, like the other Canaanite’s, had every reason to fear the Israelites and the unseen, unknown God of her time. Yet she chose to face that fear and acknowledge that the Lord is the supreme God of the heavens and earth (v11). And despite the risk to her life she protected the two spies and “fuelled faith not fear”. I wonder, where do you need to fuel faith instead of fear in your life? Is there something God is asking of you and despite the risk you need to do it anyway? Even if you're new to faith, God wants to use you.
3. God is strategic – He knows what He is doing
God's tactical plan is obvious in this story. From a practical angle, giving the Israelites a house near the city wall enabled them to have a quick get away. God also knew Rehab’s heart and her new-found allegiance to Him so He positioned her accordingly. God knew that the Israelites needed to hear that the Canaanites were afraid, in hearing this news it filled the two spies, Joshua and his army with the faith to advance and take the city. Remember today God is in control, He knows what He is doing, He has thought about every angle and every need, put Him back on the throne.
4. God is not religious
God's nature to defend and adopt people should be something we aim to do too.
God’s compassion over Rahab’s life was evident: He defends and adopts all who call on His name. Rahab received safe passage out of Jericho and as it fell she stood. She stood in her new-found heritage and was welcomed into the Israelites' camp. She received grace not condemnation. Do we offer the same to people or do we chuck a rule book at them? Who should we be inviting into our lives?
So, in short, the story of Rahab and the two spies should fill us with hope that God remembers your faith not your failings. How can you stand in that knowledge today?