If you’ve ever attended any kind of women’s conference or women’s Bible study, chances are you have heard countless messages about Esther and Ruth. Those are the first 2 women who come to mind when talking about amazing women in the Bible.
But how come Rahab is hardly ever mentioned? It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that she actually does set an example for women of our generation. I had always just thought of her as the prostitute that hid 2 spies… like that’s great and all, but how is she an example of a Godly woman? A prostitute? But that’s when God broke it all down for me.
If you’d like to read the story for yourself (highly recommended), it’s found in Joshua 2. I’ll give you a quick rundown… Joshua sends 2 spies out to Jericho to scope the place out before taking it over. The 2 spies end up at Rahab’s house and the king finds out. The king tells Rahab to bring them out because they are spies, but Rahab had hidden them and told the king and his army that they had already left the town but that they probably had time to catch them. So the army goes on a wild goose hunt. The spies come out and Rahab tells them that she believes in their God’s power and makes a promise to not tell the king about them as long as they promise to rescue her and her family when they destroy Jericho. She hangs down a red rope to remind them where she was. Fast forward to when the walls of Jericho fall, the 2 spies keep their promise and save her and everyone who was in her house that day. She then stays with the Israelites.
There is SO much that God has taught me through this simple story over the last few days, but I’m going to try to break it down to the main hitters.
1. Rahab was living in a city that did not worship Yahweh. Chances are, they didn’t even credit him as a real god. They worshiped statues and idols and believed in them whole-heartedly. There was no reason (logically) for Rahab to believe in Yahweh. But we see in this passage that she did believe.
"When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below" -Joshua 2:11
First of all, that is already amazing. She was not put in the optimal position to believe in our God. Unlike many of us, she couldn’t just walk down the street to the local Christian church and fall in love with her Savior. She wasn’t given this option. But somehow, someway, she knew His power and recognized that He was the one, true God. Her career choice as a prostitute is what she is known for in the Bible. Rahab, the prostitute, saved the spies. But if I had to guess, she didn’t know that it was wrong to do that kind of work. She was in a culture that glorified prostitutes. No one in her life was telling her that it wasn’t right. She had no idea that God frowned upon this kind of career.
While she is known at large for being a prostitute, I know know her for being a woman after God’s own heart. I believe that although the Bible doesn’t talk about what her career was like after she joined God’s people, she realized that it wasn’t God’s will for her to do that and she stopped. We are not at fault for what we don’t know is wrong, and as much as she wanted to please the Almighty God, she probably stopped immediately.
But how beautiful is it that even when we are in sin, God uses our lives for His good works?But how beautiful is it that even when we are in sin, God uses our lives for His good works? Click To Tweet
Not only was she able to save these two spies, but (once again reading between the lines) I believe that she must’ve had a good relationship with the King in order to get that kind of response from him. He immediately trusted her that the spies had left and didn’t even send a search party in her house to check if she was lying. I believe that a relationship had been formed and that God had set this all up years before the spies even came. Wow.
2. Back to the fact that the community she was in didn’t believe in Yahweh. That means that her family most likely didn’t either. They probably had their own gods. Rahab had to convince them that the Isrealites were going to win this war. She had to convince them that Yahweh was so much more powerful than they believed. She had to convince them of these things to save their lives. Talk about tough.
Not only was it most likely super hard to convince her family of these things, once they were in her (more than likely super small house), she had to convince them to stay there. If you’ve never read the rest of this story, it gets a little weird. The Isrealites don’t come over immediately after the spies return. They get some things accomplished and then make their trek over. But they don’t come in the way a raging army might come. They don’t come with a billion weapons ready to take down the place. They don’t come running straight in, but they come to walk around the city. WALK?!
Now put yourself in Rahab’s shoes. You have finally convinced your family to come stay in your tiny home because a God that they don’t believe in’s army is coming to destroy your city, and they show up to walk around the city. The worst part? Your house is ON the wall so you see everything up close and personal.
This didn’t just happen once or twice, but it happened for a week straight. No one was filling Rahab in on why this was going on. She was totally in the dark. But she continued to tell her family that she believed in Yahweh’s power and that they needed to stay put. She didn’t know how long, but she trusted.
If Rahab’s identity wasn’t deeply rooted in Yahweh, this wouldn’t have been the scene. It would’ve been way too hard.
Doesn’t it seem way too hard for us sometimes? Imagine your family is doubting you. They’re doubting your God. You’re the only one that believes.
Imagine you’re watching all of this right out your window. You see the insanity. You see that it all doesn’t make sense. You see them walking when they should be fighting.
Is your identity rooted in Him enough to say, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I trust Him”?
God convicted me that my faith in Him is even smaller than this woman who has every right to NOT believe in His goodness, while He has given me EVERY reason to believe.God convicted me that my faith in Him is even smaller than this woman who has every right to NOT believe in His goodness, while He has given me EVERY reason to believe. Click To Tweet
When I look out my window and I watch all of my friends get engaged, I forget my identity in Him. When I look out my window and see all of my friends on Instagram getting to travel the world when that’s my desire, I forget my identity in Him. And I have people standing behind me ENCOURAGING me, rather than discouraging me like they were Rahab.
All the odds are in my favor.
Yet I stand at my window griping about how God has forgotten me.
When all along, it’s me who has forgotten. Forgotten who holds my past and my future. Forgotten who He has called me to be.
Where some see Rahab as just another character in the story, I see her as my role model.
3. Last but certainly not least, God had big plans dreamed up for this special daughter of His. After it is all said and done, the Isrealites gave her the choice. She chose to become one with them. The Bible says:
"...and she still lives in Israel today" -Joshua 6:25
A quick glance at the lineage of Jesus and you might be surprised at what you find. Rahab was a part of the lineage of Jesus. Jesus Christ came from the blood line of a prostitute who fell in love with Yahweh in a city that didn’t even believe in Him. How beautiful is that picture?
Where some see the messiness of Rahab, I see the beauty in her story.