I’ve heard several who argue that the Bible is a misogynistic story with little regard for women. That assertion couldn’t be further from the truth. The pages of the Bible are filled with extraordinary examples of women who have played integral roles in the story-line of the Christian faith and the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan in the world. This series is meant to highlight those incredible women who serve as an inspiration to both men and women across all generations.
It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
Hebrews 11:31 NLT
It may seem like an interesting way to start this series out by highlighting a prostitute from the Bible. I assure you, Rahab’s story is a powerful one. So what do we know about her? She was a Canaanite woman living in the city of Jericho. As mentioned before, Rahab was a prostitute who was also a biblical heroine. According to the narrative in Joshua chapter two, before the conquest of Canaan, Joshua sent two men as spies to see the land. They end up coming to Rahab’s house for lodging and information. That’s when Rahab’s story begins to mesh with God’s plan for her life, which happens to be intertwined with the future of an entire nation…Israel.
Let’s break down a few things. Her home was in a city that stood in the way of a God’s plan to fulfill a promise given to a man named Abraham back in the book of Genesis. That promise was to give certain land to his family, which became known as the nation of Israel as they grew in numbers. The problem was that the land was filled with a lot of people. People who were absent from morality. Think the most wicked of humanity and you’ll get the picture. Hitler had nothing on them. The land needed cleansing and Rahab was going to play a big part in that. Just the fact that God is going to use someone who is part of such a disastrous and evil people to work redemption is incredible. Rahab proves that faith can still exist among a broken society and within broken people.
Rahab finds herself at a crossroads in this story. She can out the spies and alert the city of the impending nation on their doorstep. She can side with those whom she lives among, or she can step out in faith and risk it all. By helping the spies she is ultimately putting her own life, and the lives of her family, at risk. It reminds me of those who chose to hide and help Jews in 1930’s Germany rather than side with the prevalent evil of the nation. That too took tremendous faith.
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
Joshua 2:8-11 NIV
This is her statement of faith. She says that she knows the Lord has given Israel the land and that God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. This post opened with a verse from Hebrews 11, commonly referred to as the “Faith Chapter” of the Bible. Rahab is listed there. She is in the so-called Hall of Fame of faith. Her trust in the God of Israel to see His promise through was her motivating factor. Her faith was worth her life if necessary. Her faith drove her to step out of the corruption of the Canaanite people and join herself with God’s people. But this isn’t where her story ends. Rahab was saved amidst the destruction of Jericho and would go on to give birth to a man by the name of Boaz. He goes on to marry the woman of our next post, Ruth. Their line goes through King David and all the way to Jesus of Nazareth. Rahab…redeemed, rescued, and righteous by faith. A woman of the ages.