The month of March is often recognized in the United States as Women’s History Month. I wanted to celebrate this month on the blog by doing a Biblical Women’s History month. Each week, for the month of March, I will highlight 1 women in the Bible that has made an eternal impact so be sure to check back weekly!
When I get to heaven, I am going to be looking for a few people and one of them is Rahab. When I read through her story several years ago and then again recently, I really began to grasp the weight of what she did for God’s people, despite what she was labeled as. I was in awe. She was a bad sista–bold, brave and intelligent in her own right! It would seem very unlikely that she, who was first introduced to us as a prostitute in Joshua 2:1, would end up in hall of faith in Hebrews 11 and also in the lineage of Christ. Or was it? There were so many things that were unlikely about this woman, her profession, her role as an ally against her city, and her boldness and faith in a God she had not previously worshipped.
Rahab held an unlikely “profession” and was known for a type of woman that Solomon, throughout the book of Proverbs, warns men to stay away from–Proverbs 2:16, Proverbs 5:3, Proverbs 6:24-25, and Proverbs 7:5. Otherwise known as a harlot in some translations, she was instrumental in hiding two spies sent by Joshua to scout out the land and specifically, the city of Jericho. When I looked up the word harlot in Hebrew, two other definitions besides prostitute struck me: “to be unfaithful to God” or idolatry (Blueletterbible.org), i.e. worshipping other gods.
Hmmm…I thought, “Wasn’t that once all of us at one time?” Couldn’t that also be any one of us even now, if we are putting anything or anyone before God? Before we turn up our noses at Rahab because of what she was known for, perhaps, we may need to consider the fact that we have more in common with her then we originally thought.
Every time Rahab is mentioned in scripture (Joshua 2:1, Joshua 6:17, 25, Matthew 1;5, Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25) she is described by what she did. At first, I have to admit, I didn’t like that. Yet, perhaps this was done intentionally, so that not only will other women be able to find themselves in the Word, but also to see that she was so much more than what she did in her past. For instance, she quickly became an unlikely ally when she made the choice to extend kindness and protection to two strangers and spies–in her own city. Not only did she hide the two spies from the king of Jericho, but she lied to the king when he inquired about the spies’ whereabouts, sending the king and his men on a wild goose chase. Then she gave the spies specific instructions to be able to get out of the city unharmed. Why would she do all this? We find this answer in v. 9- 11:
I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.Joshua 2:9-11, NLT
Unlikely faith and boldness
Rahab recognized that the Lord had already given the land to the children of Israel. She acknowledged that the Lord had delivered them from Egypt, helped them to destroy the two Amorite kings and that their God was indeed the supreme God of the heavens and earth–no match for her or her people. Rahab had a holy fear of God and knew it was pointless to fight against these spies because of who they had backing them. Her holy fear is what led her to unlikely faith and boldness in her ask to the spies. In exchange for her kindness and protection, she wanted herself and her family to be protected when the Israelites came back in to conquer Jericho. To her, it made more sense to align with God and His people rather than to fight against them.
Rahab’s unlikely boldness not only saved the spies, her and her family, but also paved the way to the lineage of Christ. She was in a heroine in her own right, taking many risks for God’s people to help with God’s mission and purposes. Exercising her faith, which allowed her to not “perish with those who disobeyed” (Hebrews 11:31), she was handpicked by God to be included in the family of our Savior. Rahab’s marriage to Salmon produced Boaz, who married Ruth and produced Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of King David through whom came Jesus Christ.
This week we celebrate you Rahab, for being a woman of bravery, boldness and faith who didn’t allow the circumstances or your past to dictate who you could and would become!
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (NLT)
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