Rahab was a woman defined by her occupation. Rahab worked for cash, like we all do. The difference is that Rahab was a harlot. She knew how to handle men, she knew what they liked to hear, how they behaved, and what they wanted. According to rabbinical tradition, Rahab was one of the four most beautiful women in the ancient world. People still question how two righteous Israelite spies landed on HER doorstep. She took these men in and hid them, even though she was told to hand them over, and if she didn’t, her own life would be taken. Rahab had a choice to make.
In every story of life, decisions are made in haste that determine the course of eternity. In Joshua 2 we read the account of Rahab and realize that she risked her life to hide two men she’d barely met. Rahab believed in God. She knew something was about to happen in Jericho and trusted the two men enough to save them even if it meant risking her life. She had seen the power of God at work, accepted the reality of His existence, and confessed with her mouth to those witness that the One they called God was God.
Rahab was also more concerned about the lives of others. Her selfless actions to this point suggest that she’s determined to oversee her family’s welfare and not just her own. She wanted her family to be saved, and the men were quick to agree. The men trusted Rahab to protect them, and Rahab trusted the men to protect her family and herself. She gave the men specific instructions, and the men also gave her some instructions. She was to hang a scarlet cord from her house so her entire household would be spared.
Scarlet is a color that makes a statement. Rahab’s sins were as scarlet as the thread that hung from her window, and also just as obvious. God’s grace is so amazing. When we confess our sins—literally leaving the old life behind as Rahab did, and are baptized, we are forgiven and washed clean, without a spot or blemish left. We no longer look like scarlet sinners; we look like grateful grace bearers.
In Joshua 6 we read about the Israelites marching around Jericho, and the downfall of the city. One family was spared, and it was Rahab’s. The two men came and led Rahab and her family out to safety.
Rahab was a beautiful woman, inside and out. It’s only natural that Salmon, would embrace her himself. As his wife. In Matthew chapter 1, we read that Rahab the harlot is an ancestress of the royal line of DAVID. Who else is in that line? Well, Jesus of course!
With God, it isn’t who you were that matters, it is who you are becoming, and Rahab became something awesome. Our past does not determine our future, which is another thing Rahab teaches us. She is remembered not for her being a harlot, but for her bravery instead.
Faith that is demonstrated is remembered.
James chose Rahab as a good example of someone who walked her talk, who put feet to her spoken faith. We can go to Bible studies, sing praises to God, and warm the pews of a church six times a week, but if no one ever says of us, “You would not believe what this woman did because of her love for God!” then it’s time for us to open the doors of our hearts and see what brave thing God might be asking us to do.
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. - James 2:26
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Rachel Garrison is a sophomore at Freed-Hardeman University majoring in Special Education. She attends Atwood church of Christ. Rachel volunteers with the Special Olympics organizations in West Tennessee. She loves blogging, going home to see her dog (and family), and binge watching Netflix instead of doing her homework.