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Rahab Ė the Mother who made a good Choice!

Rahab (Josh 2:1) was a prostitute described as the oldest profession on earth; we know nothing of her ancestry. She lived in a house situated on the city wall of  Jericho, a city in the land of Canaan, that was going to be attacked and subsequently conquered by the armies of Israel; it was really a condemned city. Prior to that attack, the then earthly leader of Israel (Joshua) sent out two spies to view the land and the city. The spies finished up at Rahabís house and they lodged there, but their presence in Jericho had been noticed, and the king of Jericho ordered soldiers to Rahabís house. Rahab hid the spies in the roof space and told the soldiers that two men had been to her house, but she didnít know where they were from, and then went on to say that when it was dark they had left and she didnít know where they had gone.

Rahab then had a serious chat with the spies, still up in her roof space (Josh 2:8). She had strong convictions of the supremacy of their God and how He was going to give to the Israelites their land. She admitted everyone in the city was afraid and felt powerless.  She was conscious of what God had already done for them, enabling them to escape from Egypt, how He had parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could go across on dry land, and how the pursuing Egyptian army had been drowned. Of how neighbouring kings had been utterly destroyed. She was a frightened woman alert to the fact that God acts in judgement.

She recognised that ďthe Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneathĒ (Josh 2:11), and she made her decision, and did a deal with the two spies. ďI have saved your lives; when you come to conquer the city save my family Ė my parents, brothers, sisters, and their familiesĒ. The men agreed on the condition that she would not disclose their business. So she let them down over the city wall through a window, told them where to go, and where they were to hide for three days. But the men told her, "In order to keep this oath you made us swear, this is what you must do. Hang this red rope out the window through which you let us down and gather your entire family with you in your house--father, mother, brothers, and sisters. Anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street and is killed, it's his own fault--we aren't responsible. But for everyone within the house we take full responsibilityĒ (Josh 2:18-19).

Israel utterly destroyed that city, men, women, young and old, cattle, sheep, but Rahab and her family were rescued and went on to live with the Israelites.

The special thing about Rahab was that she had simple faith. She is one of only two ladies mentioned in Hebrews 11, that chapter that explains what faith is, and illustrates it so forcibly. It says there of her, By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace (Heb 11:31). How do we know she had faith?

 

1.   She believed the awful news of coming wrath

2.   She desired greatly that she might be saved

3.   She cried for mercy and included her family.

4.   She took the means appointed by putting the scarlet line in the window.

5.   She trusted in the promise given

6.  She believed God and God counted her simple faith for righteousness.

But what made the difference was that she let down the scarlet cord. If she hadnít done that, all her good beliefs and desires would have come to nothing. If she hadnít let down the cord what would have happened? She would have perished! And itís the same with us. We might know a lot about God and have great desires that we are right with Him, but unless we act in faith, it is just good head knowledge that we have.

Faith knows no boundaries, either racial, national, social, cultural or anything else. By faith, Rahab went from judgment to deliverance, from idols to God, from shame to honour!

She was the mother of a gentleman called Boaz, who married a Moabite girl called Ruth, who had a son called Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was Davidís earthly father. And Jesus Christ was born of the line of David Ė He was called Davidís greater son. She was the great-great-grandmother of King David, Israelís greatest king. Even more amazing she was the ancestress in the genealogy of Jesus.

So that was the good choice Rahab made. Being joined to the family of God has nothing to do with our goodness. It has everything to do with Godís grace. Through a prostitute, God teaches us that we are saved by grace, not by being good.

Images from Dorling Kingsley Bible clip art