Rahab – a woman of faith
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Tuesday 9th March 2021: Rahab-a woman of faith
Bible Reading: Joshua 2, 6
(Hebrews 11:31 James 2:25)
Depending on the version of the Bible you read, our next woman, Rahab, is described as either a harlot or prostitutes (although some rabbinic texts describe her as an innkeeper). Like Tamar who we met yesterday, she is one of the few women named in the genealogy of Jesus at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel.
We may not be certain of her profession, but we do know is that Joshua’s spies went to stay at Rahab’s house ‘and spent the night there’. You might like to pause the video now and read of her in Joshua Chapter 2 and in Chapter 6.
So, who was she?
She was a citizen of Jericho and she lived literally on the edges of the city. (Joshua 2:15) The king of Jericho found out about the spies and ordered that they be brought to him. Rahab had a cunning plan though. She heard about their God and realised these men might be useful to her and her family. And so, she hid them in her room, lied to the king’s men by sending them in the wrong direction, and then hatched a plan. She would help them escape and in return they were to ensure that all her family would be unharmed.
She is a remarkable woman who comes to be named, along with Sarah, in the New Testament as a hero of faith in Hebrews 11:31. She used her position, and knowledge of people both within and outside her culture, her home, her persuasive powers, her charm, and intellect, to protect the Israelite spies and to secure the lives of her own family, a family that in time would include Jesus. Rahab also must have been very courageous to be willing to risk her own life to protect enemy spies, whom she believed to be on a godly mission. Pretty impressive.
Harlot or a hero? Perhaps she was both. Jesus was criticised by the religious leaders for spending time with those they considered to be sinners, and unclean, the prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers. Yet they were often the 1st to recognise that he was the saviour, the one who would bring healing and wholeness. (Matthew 21:31).
I’m not sure it really matters what Rahab was, as much as what she became. The Bible tells the stories of human beings in search of God. Many of them are far from perfect, but among the greatest are those who, like Rahab, rose above their wrong doings and became godly despite them. Rahab’s actions reveal a woman of character who, although had an imperfect past, had a passionate faith in God and who was willing to stand up to her own culture for what she believed in.
Her story reveals that God is looking for faith not perfection. The Rahab we leave at the end of the story is in a completely different situation from when we met her. We met a woman who was likely to be working as a prostitute and cast out by society, but we are left with a woman who has been redeemed by her faith. She marries Solomon and becomes mother to Boaz, the great-grandfather of King David. And so, becomes a mother in the line of Jesus the Messiah.
Rahab’s story reminds us that we too often make quick judgements about people because of their lifestyle, profession, hearsay, or values. Rahab reminds us that God often chooses the most unlikely people to bring about his purpose, even women like Rahab, and you and me!
Rahab was “a woman of faith” and had deep devotion to her family and friends. She feared for their safety, like many of us are or have been this past year- fearful for our family and friends during this pandemic. Let us take time to pray for God’s protection, especially for those who are sick, and those who care for them. Perhaps you might think about those around the world who do not have access to the health & social care services that we do.
Faithful God, give to us, and to all your people,
in times of anxiety, serenity.
in times of hardship, courage.
in times of uncertainty, patience.
and at all times, a quiet faith and trust in your wisdom, protection and love
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Tomorrow we will think about Ruth-a women of love. You might like to read the Book of Ruth today-it’s not that long!
See you tomorrow.