The next woman listed in the Geneology of Jesus in Matthew 1 is Rahab. Her story starts in Joshua chapter 2. Joshua sent two spies into Jericho and what better place to get the low down on a city than at the house of ill repute known as Rahab’s Rendezvous. There is no shying away from what kind of lifestyle Rahab is involved in in this story. Pretty straight forward – Rahab the Prostitute. But as we see in this story, Rahab is a clever and wise woman who will risk her life in an act of faith that will change her life forever.
The following is from a book called Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler:
As well as entertaining locals, Rahab welcomed guests from various caravans whose routes crisscrossed Jericho. Men from all over the East brought news of a swarm of people encamped east of the Jordan. Rahab heard marvelous stories about the exploits of the God of the Israelites. How he had dried up the Red Sea so they could escape their Egyptian slave masters. How he had given them victory in battle against Sihon and Og, two kings of the Amorites. For forty years the God of the Israelites had trained and toughened them in the desert. Such rumors spread fear in Jericho.
The spies show up at her door and she hides them. Later that day the king sends messangers asking her about her visitors. Rahab lies and says that yes they came but left and if they hurry they can probably catch them. The messangers have no reason to doubt Rahab’s word. She is probably considered a prominent business woman in the community. A community that is pretty scared of these Israelites and their God.
As soon as the men leave, she goes back to the spies warning them: ” I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us. The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 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 sign 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.”
That is an awesome declaration of Rahab’s faith. She sees God as The One True God with a big “G” not one of the many small “g” gods that her community worships. She is a woman of faith. The spies are probably blown away by her and they agree “Our lives for your lives!” I love the exclamation point at the end of that sentence!
The spies then give her a scarlet cord and tell her to tie it in the window. The Israelites would see it and spare her and everyone in her house. She then tells them to hide in the hills for three days and then they could escape back to their camp.
Rahab’s faith is so remarkable she is listed in Hebrews in the Hall of Faith in chapter 11:31. She is also mentioned in James 2:25.
I really liked this conclusion from Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler:
Rahab’s story is a dramatic one. It shows us that God’s grace accepts no boundaries. The red cord that saved Rahab and her family reminds us of the red blood of Jesus, who still saves us today, and of Isaiah’s words, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18) Rahab put her faith in the God of Israel and was not disappointed.
Reflect On: Joshua 2:1-21
Praise God: For giving women key roles in His plan of salvation
Offer Thanks: That no one, including ourselves, is beyond the reach of grace.
Confess: Our unwillingness to take risks in order to follow God.
Ask God: To increase your awe of Him.
Lift Your Heart
Use a small red ribbon as a bookmark, tie a red ribbon around the pot of a favorite plant, or place some decorative red roping around a dried floral arrangement to remind you of the vital importance of living by faith. Each time you notice your scarlet cord, let it remind you of the lengths Jesus went to rescue you. Ask Him to watch over and protect every member of your family, just as God protected Rahab’s family. Say a prayer, asking God to increase your faith, which, after all, is what your life and the vitality of your relationship with God depend on.
I love this idea and plan to get myself some Red Ribbon!
Go and Live By Faith thanking God for his mercy and grace.