by Evi Rodemann
Among the key people mentioned in Hebrews 11 is Rahab. We are all likely familiar with the story—Rahab was a young woman, a prostitute of the Canaanite city of Jericho. She was not a likely candidate for a heroine of faith, but God overruled her story. Her faith is celebrated in Hebrews 11:21, and James 2:25 highlights her righteousness.
She was mocked by her neighbors as the “woman of the night,” a person classified as an outcast of society, a moral leper. And yet she made it into the Bible and we find her story portrayed in Joshua 2-6.
Her life is one of heroic acts, hiding the men of God that Joshua had sent ahead to spy out the city, and helping them to escape by night. She was risking her life for them, recognizing that the God these spies worshipped was the true God. She was also willing to sacrifice her national identity as she followed the spies instead of helping her own nation.
When she asked for her life to be spared by the Israelites who intended to come back and destroy Jericho, she also asked for the lives of her family (Josh .2:13). The spies agreed to her request, giving her three conditions to be met: (1) she must distinguish her house from the others by hanging a scarlet rope out of the window so the Israelites would know which home to spare; (2) her family must be inside the house during the battle; and (3) she must not later turn on the spies.
We find later that the city of Jericho was completed destroyed except for her and her family. Later, she married Salmon, an Israelite from the tribe of Judah, whom some commentaries say was one of the two spies. Their son born to them was Boaz, the future husband of Ruth. And this brings closure. From evil to grace, from unclean to clean, from pagan to a believing Gentile. It was a complete miracle. As a result of her faith and deeds, she is even found in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Faith needs to lead to action, as we see Rahab doing. She had a holy sense of God and exclaimed, “For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Josh. 2:11) and put this knowledge into action, hiding these spies as well as obeying the three conditions given by the spies. She, therefore, became the first recorded Gentile convert in the Bible.
It should encourage us that God does not look at who we were, but at who we are in Him and who we are becoming. God is not bound to our past, as we often are, but wants to use us despite our past and despite our failures. God was no longer viewing Rahab as the unclean prostitute, but as one worthy by grace.
There is no excuse for us not to share the gospel with others because we might think we are not good enough or that the people we are sharing with aren’t worthy of the good news. The grace found in this story should compel us to spread grace upon grace.
Questions to ponder:
- When was the last time you prayed for someone to become a Christian and thought, “This is impossible”?
- How concerned are you for the salvation of others as Rahab was for her relatives?
- Where are the Rahabs in your life with whom you should share life?
- Where have the challenges from your past hindered you to love Jesus and bring Jesus´ love to others?
Evi Rodemann (@erodemann) is part of the Lausanne European steering team and a member of the Lausanne YLGen Development team, living out her passion of reaching young people and developing younger leaders, especially with a focus on Europe. In 2016, she completed her MA on European Mission with Redcliffe College, UK.