Rahab: From Shame to Fame


As we’ve learned this month, the Bible compares the life of a Christian to running a race. In fact, Hebrews 12:1 has been our go-to verse: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Who are the witnesses? It’s those in Hebrews 11 who died in faith.


One of those individuals is Rahab, a harlot who “did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace” (Heb. 11:31). Her story begins in Joshua 2.


Rahab’s past didn’t matter: She was not an Israelite, but a Canaanite — part of a nation deserving of destruction. She was a harlot, not a saint. Is there anything about Rahab worth saving? If God can save Rahab, then anyone can be saved. No one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.


God > Government: Rahab’s fear of God was greater than her fear of the king of Jericho. She made a decision to cut off her loyalty to her own people, and risk her life by giving her life to the Lord. We must put God first regardless of what our family or country says or commands.


Rahab desired salvation: In Josh 2:12, Rahab “begs” for kindness and mercy. It wasn’t a passive request; she pleaded with them. She wanted salvation, and we, too, must desire deliverance from our sins.


Faith is necessary (James 2:24-26): Rahab’s faith is what immortalizes her in scripture, next to Abraham. She couldn’t simply sit back and expect salvation while doing nothing. Rahab acts on her faith by meeting the conditions for salvation.


Rahab —> Jesus (Matt. 1:5-6): Rahab was rewarded generously for her faith. She was the great-great grandmother of David, and an ancestor of Jesus Christ.


Rahab knew judgment was coming: And she eagerly obeyed the commands. The spies were complete strangers, and she believed their word and trusted them with her life. Only when we understand that judgment is coming then we will be eager to obey God’s commands.


Rahab was patient: She held onto the promise. The spies didn’t give Rahab a deadline, but did she doubt? No matter how long she had to wait, she trusted in God. The story of Rahab is a message of hope. God keeps His promises.


-- Steven Matthews



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