Rahab is a model of hospitality, mercy, faith, patience, and repentance in her interaction with Joshua's spies. Thus, the harlot of Jericho became the unlikely picture of virtue.
God Redeems Unlikely Situations
When we open the book of Joshua, we find the Hebrews encamped in the Jordan valley opposite the city of Jericho. They are ready to cross over the river Jordan and into the Promised Land. Only Jericho stood in their way.
Joshua sends out two spies to investigate the military fortitude of Jericho. While in the city, the spies take refuge in Rahab's inn. Rahab hid them, under bundles of flax on the roof, from the soldiers sent to capture them.
It was the time of the barley harvest. Flax and barley are ripe at the same time in the Jordan valley. Bundles of flax stalks would have been expected to be drying at that time, and the roof was a good place for this. So the roof turned out to be a great place to hide a couple of spies. Rahab told the spies:
"I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. 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 that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you. The LORD your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the LORD that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death." Joshua 2:9-13
After escaping the soldier's search, the spies promised to spare the lives of Rahab and her family when the Hebrews took the city. She would need to make her house visible by hanging a scarlet cord out of the window. The scarlet cord made it possible for Rahab to be saved, just as the blood of Jesus makes possible the way of salvation for you and me.
God Goes to Unlikely Lengths
"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
When I was in the third grade I memorized Hebrews 11. I specifically remember verse 31. As a nine-year-old girl, it impacted my life. Hebrews 11 is sometimes referred to as the Hall of Faith. Its verses memorialize great acts and people of faith. There's Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. All those men of faith and only two women mentioned, Sarah and Rahab. Sarah and Rahab and in good company and they stand out among women in the Bible.
I love that the genealogy of Jesus is listed for us in the Bible. It lets us know that He had a background that could of been yours or mine. He called Himself a friend of sinners, and He said He did not come to seek the righteous, but sinners—people like us. He calls them to repentance, just as He calls us.
"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save....” Luke 19:10
I came across the book A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers while I was studying Rahab. The book is Christian fiction, but I just love how she keeps pointing back to the Bible through her storytelling.
A Lineage of Grace is a compilation of five books in the best-selling A Lineage of Grace series. The series shares the stories of five unlikely women, all in the lineage of Jesus Christ, who changed the course of history.
“And the answers had always come down to trusting God, obeying Him, accepting His will, knowing there was a purpose in what was happening even if they couldn’t see it. But sometimes the pain seemed unbearable.” ― Francine Rivers, A Lineage of Grace
That same grace that Rahab experienced is offered freely to you today. If you want to know more about that grace, head on over to our Explore Christianity page. What are your thoughts on Rahab and the other women listed here in the lineage of Jesus?
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