As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26 KJV)
(For the complete story of Rahab, see Joshua 2-6).
One of the most unlikely heroines in the Bible is Rahab, the harlot. Rahab was a gentile who lived in a depraved and pagan culture, yet she came to know and serve God. Her life shows us that God is no respecter of persons. He saw Rahab’s faith – an active faith that prompted her into action, – and she became a powerful instrument of His use.
God said to Joshua, “Get ready to cross the Jordan River and lead the people into the Promised Land.” (Joshua 1:2). He told Joshua to be strong and courageous and promised He would never leave nor forsake him. (Joshua 1:5, 6). So Joshua commanded the officers to prepare for battle. Then he sent two spies to scout out the land. The spies went to Jericho and lodged at the inn of Rahab, the harlot. The King of Jericho learned about the spies and sent word to Rahab, “The men in your house are spies, bring them out.” (Joshua 2:3). Rahab took the spies and hid them on the rooftop and covered them with flax. Then she said, “The spies were here, but they left the city. If you hurry, you can catch up with them!” (Joshua 2:4-5). The king's men set out in pursuit of the spies, and the city gate was shut behind them.
Rahab heard about the mighty works of the God of Israel, including how He parted the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. (Joshua 2:10). She went to the spies and confessed the God of Israel as the God of heaven and earth. (Joshua 2:11). Then she pleaded for her life and the life of her family. “Our life for your life,” the spies assured her. (Joshua 2:14). She helped the men escape by lowering them by a scarlet rope through the window. Before departing, they said to Rahab, “Gather your family together in your house and hang the scarlet rope out the window. Whoever is with you in the house will be protected.” (Joshua 2:17-19). Rahab sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window.
The Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground and conquered Jericho. Rahab and her family were rescued and moved to a safe place near the camp of Israel. (Joshua 6:23). Rahab had faith in God, and she acted on her faith by helping the spies escape. She was acknowledged by God in the Faith Hall of Fame:
By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. (Hebrews 11:31 KJV)
Rahab dwelt in Israel and married Salmon of the tribe of Judah. They had a son named Boaz who married Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David. Rahab was delivered from the depths of sin and included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. (Matthew 1:5-6).
Father, thank you for the life of Rahab, an amazing story of faith and redemption. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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