Biblical Story Of Rahab And Lessons
Rahab was a Canaanite harlot or prostitute who lived in Jericho. She is one of the only two women named in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter of the Bible. Her house was upon the high and mighty wall of the city of Jericho. This house served as an inn which she rented out to travelers and visitors who came to the city.
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At the time when the children of Israel were preparing to take over the city of Jericho, Joshua sent spies to Jericho and they lodged at the house of Rahab, the prostitute. The spies were to go ahead and check the city, to determine the strategies to deploy in capturing it. So they lodged in her house. The information got to the king of Jericho that there were spies lodged in the house of Rahab the prostitute, and the King ordered for these men to be captured. Rahab kept them safe by hiding them in her roof and helped the spies to escape by letting them down by a rope.
Because of her act of faith, she and her family were spared from the total destruction of Jericho. Ultimately, she was used by God to play a role in forming the lineage of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
RAHAB: A WOMAN OF UNCOMMON FAITH
According to the book of Joshua, Rahab was a prostitute who lived in a house she used as an inn. Oftentimes, visitors to the city of Jericho spent the night in her inn (for maybe a token of money). The Bible says her house was on the wall of the city.
Jericho was a city with mighty walls. In fact, the city stood as a mighty fortress that provided safety for its inhabitants. It was a double-walled city. The outer wall was 6 feet thick and the inner wall 12 feet. The walls stood 15 feet apart and were 30 feet high. The parameters of the city walls made it a city that cannot be easily invaded. This was why Joshua had to send spies to the city, so they could plan their attack on it.
The spies got to Jericho, and lodged in the house of Rahab the prostitute. She knew they were Israelites, and she had also heard of how God delivered them from Egypt and how God had given the Amorites into their hands. This created fear in her. But rather than allowing her fear to take hold of her, she resorted to having faith in the God of Israel. She therefore confessed that, “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. 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 Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 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. (Joshua 2:9-11)
After acknowledging the God of Israel, she therefore made a request from the spies, (at least as her reward for helping the spies). She asked for her life and that of her family to be spared in the eventual capture of the city. She said, “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.” (Joshua 2:13)
The men made her a promise to spare her life, if only she would keep their meeting a secret. “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell us what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land”. (Joshua 2:14)
She let them down by a rope, after which they gave her the condition for her safety during the attack. She was, however, to place a scarlet marker of some type in the window. Symbolically it seems similar to the blood on the doorposts when the death angel passed over Egypt. The scarlet cord became a sign of security. Before leaving, the spies reminded Rahab of the requirements of safety. The scarlet marker needed to be in place. Family members were to stay in her house and not wander into the streets.
When the spies returned to Joshua, they gave him detailed feedback on their spying activities in Jericho.
At the time of the capture of the city of Jericho, the Israelites did as God commanded them, and the city wall came crashing down. Though the people of Jericho were to be killed, a specific exemption was given. Rahab, who was labeled a prostitute, and her family were to live. Only the people inside her house were to be spared. She was honored for her bravery and greatly rewarded. Aside from saving her from destruction with the people of Jericho, she was allowed to live among the Israelites and incorporated among God’s people. She was eventually included in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
LESSONS FROM THE STORY OF RAHAB
There are diverse lessons to glean from the story of this uncommon hero of faith, Rahab. Some of them are:
- GOD IS NOT LIMITED BY OUR PAST
The story of Rahab is a clear indication that God can use any one that is willing. Our past is not a barrier to God using us. We are thereby reminded that Christ does not hold the past against any person, but opens the door for restoration for those who will believe and live a new life. Despite Rahab being a prostitute and a liar; she appeared to be the perfect one to be used by God to fulfill His plans in helping the Israelites to capture Jericho. Similar examples of people God used regardless of their past are Apostle Paul, Mary Magdalene, etc.
- RAHAB ALLOWED THE FEAR OF GOD TO BE GREATER THAN HER FEAR OF MAN
Rahab had every reason to fear because what she did was made known to the king of her city. She was risking her life to hide the spies and help them escape. But she feared the God of Israel more than she feared the men in her city, owing to the numerous stories of how God had won battles for the Israelites. She knew that God would give them the victory over her own city.
- RAHAB HAD GREAT FAITH IN THE GOD OF THE ISRAELITES : “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” (Hebrews 11:31). It was the faith of Rahab that actually led to her being spared, together with her family during the capturing of Jericho.
- RAHAB ACTIVATED HER FAITH BY HER ACTIONS (DEEDS) :The Bible says faith without work is dead. Rahab did not have a dead faith; rather she had a living faith. She acted on her faith in the living God of the Israelites by receiving the spies, hiding them, helping them to escape, and doing as she was told by the spies. The book of James validated this, “Likewise Rahab the prostitute was justified by faith when she received the spies and sent them out in another way”. (James 2:25)
Faith cannot stand alone and be inactive. What one believes within must, of necessity, be reflected in activities consistent with that faith. Righteous works reflect the reality of our faith in God.
- GOD CAN PROTECT AND PRESERVE MANY PEOPLE FOR THE SAKE OF ONE PERSON
Rahab’s family- her father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all that belong to them- were preserved because of Rahab. A similar example of this is the story of Lot in Sodom. He and his family were preserved for the sake of Abraham who pleaded for their lives. We also as children of God have been preserved for the sake of Jesus Christ.
- WE HAVE OUR OWN ROLES TO PLAY IN ORDER TO BE SAVED: Rahab was saved because she kept the condition for her safety. The spies told her to tie a scarlet rope on her window, and ensure her families were with her in the house. She did exactly as she was told, and her safety was guaranteed.