Multiple times in the Bible, this woman is referred to as Rahab the prostitute, or in some translations, Rahab the harlot. At no point in history, have either of these titles been looked on with esteem. However, in Hebrews 11:31, Rahab is commended for her great faith. She also happens to be Boaz’s mother, King David’s Great-great-grandmother, and therefore part of the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). Rahab is a wonderful example of how God can use people regardless of their status to glorify His kingdom. One might question why the Israelite spies chose to stay at her house. Because her house was built into the city wall, this would be a great place to gather the intel they needed. Also, due to Rahab’s reputation, the men would be assumed to be customers and likely not raise suspicion by staying there. God, knowing Rahab’s faith, led the spies to this safe haven. Rahab had heard about the miracles God performed for the Israelites. She believed their Lord was the supreme God and that He had given them this land. She correctly assumed the Israelites would successfully conquer her city. By risking her own life to cover for the spies, Rahab shows she feared and served the same God they did. She recognized she was in a position to protect herself, as well as her family, from destruction.
Rahab’s story shows that our sin does not have to define us. There is no sin so great that it is above God’s redemption. Jesus died on the cross so that ALL sins would be forgiven. Once we have confessed our sins, the Lord wants us to move forward, covered by His grace. He wants us to accept the gift of salvation and the freedom that comes with it. If you are feeling shame due to your mistakes and think that God can’t use “someone like you”, think again. We are all sinners. God is looking for willing hearts, not perfect people, to build His kingdom. Sometimes our life experience, even the most painful and shameful parts, puts us in a unique position to minister to others.
This story also reminds us that we should not dismiss anyone as not being open to hearing the Good News. I admit there have been times when I’ve made assumptions based on a person’s appearance or outward persona. Do you think these Israelite spies would have ever suspected this prostitute from Jericho would be in the lineage of their Messiah? I’m guessing, no. There are people all around us who are in desperate need of God in their life. It’s important to be open to relationships with those who are different from ourselves.
Rahab’s courage and faith were rewarded. The Israelites kept their promise. Rahab and her family were given protection as their city was destroyed. Rahab was able to rise above her reputation and save her family. She married Salmon (one of the spies she harbored and Boaz’s father) to leave her sinful life and fulfill her role as an ancestor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
1. Is there sin in your life or your past that is prohibiting you from fully serving God? If so, pray that God will help you move forward under His grace.
2. What are some ways you can use your unique experience to serve God and minister to others?
3. Are there people in your life you have previously dismissed, with whom you may be able to plant seeds of the Good News?