…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
Rahab’s faith is immortalized in Hebrews 11 and James 2.
As a result of her faith, what happened to her house, her household and … her legacy.
Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV, NLT)
31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
31 It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
Why did Rahab stand out amongst the people of Jericho ?
The people of Jericho did not believe God, and refused to obey Him.
… But Rahab did.
The result of her faith was tangible and visible.
Her faith pleased the Lord.
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
“I know that the Lord has given you this land”
Rahab expressed what was in her heart …. faith towards God,
based on the powerful acts of God which she heard. … dried up the water of the Red Sea … what happened to Sihon & Og.
Unlike the Canaanite gods, Rahab believed in “the Lord God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
Rahab confessed her faith in God.
Rahab acted on her faith in God.
Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV, NLT)
31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe,
when she had received the spies with peace.
31 It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God.
For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
Rahab expressed her faith through her actions,
she risked her life to welcome and protect the spies,
instead of reporting the spies to the authorities.
Contrast her faith with the rest of the people in the city of Jericho,
did not believe (unbelief), refused to obey God.
Also, in the context of Hebrews 11:4-34,
in this midst of a star-studded line-up of well-known Jews in the Bible who accomplished great things by faith, …. suddenly,
we hear about Rahab … a prostitute, .. a Gentile Canaanite woman,
belonging to Jericho, a city that was to be destroyed,
God honors anyone who responds to Him in faith.
He is defintely no respector of persons. Praise God!
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
Rahab received mercy and grace from the Lord, by her faith.
Prior to believing in the Lord,
Rahab, did not have any great encounter testimony with God, or profound theological understanding of the Bible or God,
… she simply believed and had faith in the Lord,
based on what she heard. (We have heard how the Lord …)
Hence, its not about how much we know,
rather, its about our living out of our faith in the Lord,
where the ‘rubber hits the road’.
Faith, then is not based on how much we know in our head,
rather, how much we believe, trust, and willing to act from our heart.
James used Rahab’s action as an example to teach that faith without deeds/works is dead.
James 2:24,25 (NIV, NASB)
24 You see that a person is considered righteous
by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Rahab acted on her faith and was justified by faith, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way.
She acted upon her convictions, risking her own life.
A note on the word ‘works’ — Rahab’s actions or works were not
religious or pious or liturgical in nature, i.e. doing something to ‘earn’ God’s favor.
Works – ἔργον (Greek), by implication, an act (Strong).
James used Rahab as an example of righteousness through faith, and the living out of the faith through action, not just faith alone.
James 2:24 (NIV)
24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do
and not by faith alone.
James quoted Rahab alongside Abraham as examples.
Abraham, a Jew, prophet, man,
Rahab, a Gentile, prostitute, woman,
both at contrasting ends,
… both having and expressing faith
… both righteous, … lovingly received by God,
who is merciful, gracious, just and impartial.
It is true that as part of the story in Joshua 2, she lied to Jericho’s king.
However, James and the writer of Hebrews referred to her faith actions as hospitality and sending the spies off, thereby risking her life — what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction, when she had received the spies with peace.
In God’s grace, Rahab was made righteous by her faith in God, in spite of her background, her lewd lifestyle and lying.
We all come to Jesus, ‘just as I am“, … unrighteous, unclean, in need of a savior.
Turning away from believing other gods or ‘no gods’ … to the true and living God.
On a side note, consider this situation in Abraham’s life,
Genesis 20:1,2 (NASB)
Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.
2 Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.”
So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.” 4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless?
5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’?
And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’
In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”
Hence, for both Abraham & Rahab, … its all by His grace and mercy.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
In the New Testament, Peter spent 3 years personally discipled by Jesus. After Jesus was arrested, … 3 times Peter lied, he denied knowing Jesus, “I do not know the man!” (Matthew 26:69-74) After Jesus resurrected, Jesus restored a contrite and repentant Peter. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached and 3000 believed in Jesus.
by grace you have been saved through faith
not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
We are all imperfect offerings.
Thank God for His grace and mercy!
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
Psalm 103:10-14 (NASB)
In a sense, by placing her faith in God,
Rahab was set free and liberated from the wicked walls of Jericho which bound her,
to join and become the people of God who worship the true and living God.
When we read Hebrews 11, … in this midst of a star-studded line-up of well-known Hebrews of faith from verse 5 to 35 who experienced headline stuff, …. suddenly,
we hear about Rahab … a prostitute, a Gentile woman belonging to Jericho, a city decreed to be destroyed because of its sin,
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Hebrews 11:31 (NIV)
Praise God! God honors anyone who responds to Him in faith, … as we come to Him ‘just as I am‘.
By faith in God, the prostitute Rahab hospitably sheltered the spies and risked her life.
Certainly the inclusion of Rahab on this list of faith luminaries, is a great encouragement to us all, who like Rahab are far from perfect, and live simple, everyday lives.
Faith is not just about great faith deeds or power,
but also walking faithfully with God in small everyday things as well,
like giving hospitality to others,
because she welcomed the spies (Hebrews 11:31)
Matthew 25:34-36, 40 (NIV)
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
God responded and honored Rahab’s faith.
Firstly, … of all the homes in Jericho, … somehow the spies were randomly led to Rahab’s house. Not the home of a so-called ‘good/noble Jericho-ian’ …. but a prostitute … an outcast.
God saw beyond her sinful lifestyle … to her faith.
Her faith drew the spies to her house with laser precision.
Faith draws God’s unseen hand to visit us, and to act on our behalf.
On the day that the Lord gave Israel victory over Jericho,
Joshua 6:4,5, 15-17, 20
4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.
20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.
But … where was Rahab’s house?
Joshua 2:15, 21
15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.
…. So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
Her house was part of the city wall of Jericho.
Through the window of her house on Jericho’s wall, she was able to assist the Israelite spies to escape,
… later, … on her window a tied scarlet cord signaled to the invading Israelites that this was her house.
On the 7th day, when Israel shouted,
Joshua 6:20 (NIV)
So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
The wall fell down flat, and every man in Israel went straight in to take the city.
It was a great miracle that the Jericho wall collapsed immediately
… at Israel’s shout
It was also a great miracle that Rahab’s house did not collapse,
even though it was part of the wall. Praise God!
God preserved Rahab’s house with laser precision during the demolition.
Rahab’s faith preserved her house
Psalm 91:7-10 (NIV)
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent
When the walls of Jericho suddenly came crashing down around Rahab’s family with thunderous violent shaking,
… by placing their faith and trust in God,
… they did not run out of their house for safety.
They stood firm,
… the walls & roof of their home stood firm,
while everything else around them came crashing down.
They stood firm
… resisted their fear, and natural instinct to flee for safety.
What would our reaction be?
So, by a nation’s faith, Israel, … brought the walls of Jericho down,
and by a Gentile prostitute’s faith … the walls and roof of her house stood firm!
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
Hebrews 11:30,31 (NKJV)
100% God’s awesome power,
… and a mustard seed faith made the difference
between life and death.
22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.
24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
Rahab’s faith preserved her household, her whole family … and all who belonged to her, i.e. her extended family.
Rahab must have put considerable effort to persuade her extended family to share her faith by taking refuge in her home, knowing about the impending doom.
As a result, her entire extended family got grafted with Israel into God’s kingdom.
Canaanite Gentiles grafted with Israel into God’s kingdom.
Truly, God desires and is actively at work in our families,
for our loved ones to come to know Him.
God sent Israel to conquer Jericho (and the rest of Canaan)
due to Jericho’s wickedness,
not Israel’s righteousness or integrity.
It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
Four generations earlier,
God spoke to Abraham that his descendants would possess the land. At the time He spoke to Abraham, the sin of the Amorites had not yet reached its full measure (Genesis 15:16 NIV).
Rahab’s lifestyle reflected the wickedness of Jericho,
its self-gratifying hedonism,
yet in His grace, God chose Rahab.
Unlike the rest of Jericho,
instead of experiencing God’s judgment,
Rahab’s family received God’s mercy, grace and righteousness
As James explains, Rahab was considered righteous, justified by her faith in action.
James 2:25 (NIV)
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
In the Old Testament, there were other situations when
God’s mercy & grace in the midst of impending judgment was also experienced,
where whole households were redeemed.
1 Peter 2:5-9
5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
In Lot’s case, in the Lord’s mercy, at the eleventh hour, He dispatched angels to lead Lot’s family out, and prompted Abraham to intercede for the city. Before that, Abraham had also assisted the people of Sodom who were in trouble, and met with their king (Genesis 14).
Minutes before the end of Sodom & Gomorrah,
God’s mercy is cinematically captured:
When Lot hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city,
for the Lord was merciful to them.
Genesis 19:16 (NIV)
In the Gospels, grace and righteousness was immediately extended to
** the dying thief next to the cross of Jesus (Luke 23)
** the woman caught in adultery (John 8)
** the cheating dishonest tax collector (Luke 19)
** the adulterous woman at the well (John 4)
** etc …
In the Epistles, Paul uses himself as an example of the unfathomable grace and mercy of God,
1 Timothy 1:13-16 (NIV)
13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
Romans 5:20 (NKJV)
… But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
Was God merciful to the rest of the people in Jericho ?
Some time passed between Joshua sending the 2 spies in (Joshua 2), to the the time God directed Israel to march around Jericho (Joshua 6). The king of Jericho and the army also knew about the visit of the spies, and hence, the intention of Israel to conquer Jericho.
Years before this, the people in Jericho heard about the powerful acts of God – “dried up the water of the Red Sea … what happened to Sihon & Og … our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage”, … that resisting Israel and Israel’s God was futile.
The warning signs were there, or rather the ‘writing was on the wall’.
Then, the Lord gave them another 6 more days to consider before the 7th day final march, and the shout unto the Lord. The wall coming down at Israel’s shout, also demonstrated that this was a sovereign act of God.
The city was given time to surrender,
but the city did not.
God is impartial and just.
Israel lost the next battle in Ai (Joshua 7),
due to sin in Israel,
one man’s sin, Achan.
God takes His Word very seriously.
In Jericho, one woman’s faith in God saved her extended family,
… between the time of Joshua chapter 2 and Joshua chapter 6,
God provided sufficient time for Rahab to share her faith, and gather her extended family to take refuge in her home.
The mercy of God.
God waited …
Today He waits …
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Jericho was the first city the Israelites conquered in the Promised Land,
but through Rahab,
the Lord also showed mercy would be extended to anyone in Canaan who puts their faith in Him.
In a sense, Rahab’s home became the ‘ark’ for Jericho.
Consider … if we were Rahab
… how packed would our home be?
Would it be jam-packed with people?
Rahab’s faith did not just end here ….
1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Rahab became one of the women in the genealogy of Jesus,
a Gentile, a Canaanite prostitute …
a most unlikely candidate,
truly, a trophy of grace.
Matthew 1:5 (NIV)
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
From disgrace, … to honor.
From an enemy of God … to a friend of God.
Rahab’s fate was re-written, when she put her faith in God,
when she came to God.
Psalm 103:12 (NLT)
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
Rahab abandoned her lewd profession, her previous lifestyle,
to live only with one man, Salmon.
In God’s grace, God blessed Rahab with Salmon,
… a man who was willing to marry a former prostitute who had previously slept with many men … a Gentile …. in a sense, Salmon reflected God’s redeeming agape love.
In time, God also blessed Rahab with a family of her own … Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab
(who knows Salmon may have been one of the two nameless spies that Joshua sent 🙂 )
God’s plan is redemptive, … there’s hope.
Acts 2:21,38,39 (NKJV)
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 10:34,35 (NIV)
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.
God is the God of the whoever who calls on the name of the Lord,
God does not show favoritism
Hence, no matter what our background or heritage or our past may be …
in God’s grace,
He can redeem, change us, and restore us,
… faith in the Lord, changes our fate.
Praise the Lord!
Rahab was preserved for a greater purpose, and sparked a legacy.
Faith draws the hand of God, the hand that writes history,
… re-writes our ‘His story’.
1 Timothy 2:4-6 (NIRV)
4 He wants all people to be saved. He wants them to come to know the truth.
5 There is only one God. And there is only one go-between for God and human beings. He is the man Christ Jesus.
6 He gave himself to pay for the sins of all people.
With the Lord’s grace, may He help us see others through His eyes,
beyond what they are,
to what they can become in Him,
There is one more miracle in Rahab’s story.
Just before the 2 spies left Rahab’s home, she requested the 2 spies:
Joshua 2:12-14, 17-21 (NIV)
12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”
14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”
17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”
21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”
The 2 spies made an oath to Rahab.
This happened way before the battle, …. the 2 spies had no idea how the battle would be eventually won. At the battle, … God brought the walls down.
God honored Rahab’s faith, … and the 2 spies oath from their mouths.
Years later, Jesus came to Jericho,
and met a wealthy chief tax-collector, Zacchaeus,
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter,
“He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9 Jesus said to Zaccheaus, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:5-10 (NIV)
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
To the religious chief priests and the elders in the temple, who knew God’s word but ignored God’s living Word, Jesus, in their midst,
Matthew 21:31,32 (NIV)
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
The Mosaic law had provision for Gentiles to be grafted with Israel, to share in the Passover lamb. Before the first Passover in Egypt, believing circumcised Egyptians could partake of Passover, and avoid the coming plague of the death of the firstborn in the land. God provided a way out for everyone who believes.
Exodus 12:48,49 (NIV)
48 “A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. 49 The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.”
When Jesus came, he became the once and for all, perfect, sinless Passover lamb of God. PTL! (1 Peter 1:18,19, John 6:53-57)
At an earlier plague, some of the Egyptians heeded Moses’ word, and lives were saved.
Exodus 9:20,21,25,26 (NIV)
20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. 21 But those who ignored the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the field.
25 Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. 26 The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
February 28, 2015
Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
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