I’ve been looking more and more into Rahab and wondering about her legacy. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be in her shoes and make the decisions she made. Her faith is an obvious beacon of God’s ability to work in one’s life without them even knowing.
I’ve been doing some research and learned that Rahab is considered to be the first recorded Gentile convert. I just want you to stop and really put yourself in Rahab’s shoes.
Image from: pinterest
Take your biggest/most shameful sin and imagine it as your identifier. Your name, Sin. Rahab, the prostitute, Amanda the Addict. This is how you are known. Now, imagine the world as it is today because we still have the corruption but take away the church. Jesus hasn’t come yet and your community worships at the altar of self/money/things. In your FaceBook feed or twitter account, you begin hearing about these Israelite people and they sound weird. They are the complete opposite of your people. You have many gods, and they have one. You “yolo”; they focus on eternity. Their God is with them and reportedly has been winning battles for them. Literally winning battles for them.
They defeated the Egyptians because their God sent plagues against the Egyptians, parted the Red Sea to save the Israelites but then drowned the Egyptians. They were interesting but weird. Everyone in your community was apprehensive about these enemies coming to invade and were warned to be on the lookout. Your house is on the edge of the border and you’re obligated to your country to defend it and report any suspicious activity. You don’t want people coming across the border illegally do you, especially when their sole purpose is destruction of your community?
Now imagine, two men have come to your house and requested a place to stay. They’re strangers but they’re paying well so you let them in. They aren’t looking for the usual special; just a place to stay. Your politician and local law enforcement issue a warning that spies have entered the city and they know that they’re at your house. What do you do?
Luckily, this isn’t about what I would do but about what she did. She hid the men and then lied to her King. She betrayed her country. It’s something we would condemn. Interesting. I’ve always said 1) God, 2) Country, and 3) Family/Friends but thankfully have never been put in a situation where I’ve had to choose because honestly that’s a tough call.
Meanwhile back in the story, the politician and law enforcement are sent on a wild goose chase, you go back upstairs to help the spies escape. In exchange for saving their lives, you want immunity and protection when they come back. They give their word and tell you to hang the red rope (imagine the scarlet letter of your sin) out your window when they return and they will save you and your family, as long as everyone is in your house ready to go.
Now imagine anxiously waiting. Packing things up. Explaining to your family and trusting them not to betray you or slip and say anything. Suddenly you hear a noise and the weird Israelites are walking around the city one time. You don’t know much about warfare but even Mulan has more warfare then this. You throw your rope out the window and wait…and wait….and wait some more. You wait six days while they do a Nascar victory lap around Jericho. On the 7th day, they remember the marching band, which look like priests and are holding trumpets. They walk and then stop. Suddenly, the marching band blasts the horn and the trumpets and the warriors all shout and you feel the trembling and the crashing and the dust rising. You can barely see but after you’re done waving your hands to clear the dust, your jaw drops. The walls have collapsed and the Israelites are advancing. They are merciless as they cut down men, women and children.
You’ve never prayed before but you hit your knees and beg God that the two spies remember and honor their promise. They remember. Their leader, Joshua, has ordered the destruction of everything and all people in the town, except for you and your family. You’re all saved and live among the Israelites happily ever after. The end.
Just kidding – this isn’t Disney – this is God. I expected the story to end her but references to Rahab are weaved in. She marries a man named Salmon. I don’t know much about Salmon but I know that he is an Israelite and was the father or grandfather (genealogy sometimes skips generations) of Boaz, the husband of Ruth. The end.
Ruth and Boaz
Wait – Matthew 1:5 has “and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab…” It’s unusual for the women to be mentioned in genealogy and it’s interesting to note that 4 women appear, with one being Rahab, the prostitute. It is amazing and miraculous that God determined she should be named in the genealogy of His son, Jesus Christ. A gentile, a prostitute and an outsider is honored enough to be recognized for her role. The end? Nope, not yet.
Flip to Hebrews 11:31. This is where the author is listing examples of people who have acted in faith. “By faith, Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Rahab, the woman with a past is an example of how we should act in faith. I don’t know about you but sometimes, I get down about my past and I see my sins and not me. I don’t believe I can add value or mentor anyone in faith because I am broken. God says that’s if I act in faith, God can and will use me. I am worthy, not because of who I am but who I belong to.
Rahab appears again in James 2:25. He writes “And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way.” I am encouraged that Rahab is held up as an example of faith. I am encouraged that a woman with a past is mentioned in a world where women aren’t always held up as good examples. I’m encouraged that God felt called to include her in His love letter to us. Rahab should encourage and inspire you, knowing that no matter what has happened, no matter what you’ve done, if you’re willing, He will use you in a glorious way.
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