Today’s scriptures share the story of Rahab. Identified as a prostitute, she seems like an unlikely hero or female role model. Joshua chapter 2 recounts how two males spies were sent into Jericho to scout out the land before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to conquer the city.
The men stayed with Rahab, but when the king of Jericho learned of the spies and ordered Rahab to hand them over for punishment, Rahab hid them on her roof and lied about them leaving the city. She helped the men escape, and in return for her kindness, they devised a plan to protect Rahab and her family during the ensuing attack on Jericho.
Why did Rahab lie? She wasn’t saving her reputation by hiding the men. She wasn’t an Israelite, and she didn’t have any connection to the outsiders. Joshua 2:9–11 records Rahab saying, “I know the Lord is handing this land over to you. We are absolutely terrified of you, and all who live in the land are cringing before you. For we heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt and how you annihilated the two Amorite kings . . . For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below!”
Rahab genuinely believed in God—and she demonstrated it with her courageous actions and faith. Hebrews 11:31 says, “By faith Rahab the prostitute escaped the destruction of the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace.” James 2:24–25 also says, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way?”
God can use anyone to further His kingdom. Anyone. Rahab was not His last or only choice; out of everyone, God chose to use her—a harlot, an outcast of society, a marginalized and scorned woman—to fulfill His plan for the Israelites.
God redeems. He’s in the business of bringing beauty from ashes. We aren’t called to stay in our sin, but God’s not afraid of our humanity either. Rahab the prostitute became Rahab the mother of Boaz (Matthew 1:5), redefined and directly engrafted into the lineage of Jesus.
Friends, I hope this encourages you and brings you peace. I don’t know how Rahab felt about herself, but I imagine she struggled. I doubt she imagined that the same place where she was defiled would one day save her family or be the beginning of her new story as a leader of the faith.
Whatever you carry from your past—shame, regret, hurt—lay it down. Lay it down at the foot of the cross. Jesus came to bear the weight of our sins, and your past does not define you. Rahab’s story shows you again that you are loved. You are valuable. Your bold faith could change the world.
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