Rahab. From harlot to heroine. From a name that you wouldn’t want to mention at a dinner party to a name referenced in the genealogy of our Lord. After reading Joshua 6 this morning I can’t get Rahab off my mind.
Joshua 6 recounts the fall of Jericho. As the Isrealites are busy sacking the city, they are also faithful to ensure that Rahab and her family are spared. Here’s how it reads:
“But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. … But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive.”
An entire city was destroyed but special care was taken to ensure that Rahab was not harmed. Not only was Rahab saved from destruction but also her father and mother and brothers and ALL who belonged to her. Her entire family was saved. But why? For that I need to reflect on what I read last week in Joshua 2.
Rahab heard how God had revealed Himself
“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. 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.”
Rahab had heard about the God of Israel and how He had revealed Himself through His mighty acts as He lead His people out of bondage in Egypt and into the promised land. Rahab had ears to hear these things. But she didn’t just listen and hear.
Rahab believed what God revealed about Himself
“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.”
Based on how God had revealed Himself, Rahab fears the God of Israel and acknowledges Him as the God of heaven and earth. God always reveals enough of Himself that we might respond by faith.
Rahab responds to what she believes about God
“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 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.”
Rahab heard how the God of Israel had acted mightily on behalf of the Israelites as He lead them out of Egypt and how He conquered opposing kings. She believes that the God of Israel is the God of heaven and earth and will surely deliver Jericho into the hands of the Israelites. In light of this, Rahab realizes she has a big problem and needs a solution. She needs to be saved. And so, she does something simple and yet very profound; she asks. She makes her request known to the Israelite spies.
What’s especially interesting to me here is that although Rahab has only been exposed to the revelation of God’s power and might on behalf of His people, her appeal is for mercy and grace. She has no other hope. And of course, she is not disappointed.
As I consider this story of Rahab, I realize that as sensational as it is, it’s also pretty typical and not that different than my own story. Like Rahab, I found myself in a situation where I had fallen short of God’s glory and in response to the revelation of the truth of who God is, realized that I was bound for destruction. By God’s grace, I had ears to hear the truth and a soft heart to receive and believe that truth. Like Rahab, I responded by appealing to God for His mercy and He was faithful to hear my cry and to save me. All by faith. All a gift. All for His glory.
Now, like Rahab, may I be as faithful as she was to intercede on behalf of my entire extended family in the hope that they all might be saved.
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” Titus 3:5
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16