"a prostitute named Rahab"
I think Rahab is one of the most interesting people in the Bible. She's a harlot which is, you know, not good. Now, most ~ okay, all ~ of the people that God has on His team of workers are flawed, and in God's eyes, no flaw is worse than any other. (See James 2:10 ~ "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.") But culturally speaking, a harlot is pretty low.
Still, let's just call her "Sinner" shall we? Perhaps that title will help us to remember that we're not doing that great either. So there she is, living a life of sin, when all of a sudden she has an opportunity to love God, by loving His people.
Joshua, the new leader of the Israelites, upon Moses' death, sends two spies into the city of Jericho. He wants to get the lay of the land before they attack. And these two spies find themselves in Rahab's home. I don't know why, and I'm not sure I want to know.... I'm not here to judge. And the king of Jericho found out that the two Israelite spies had been to Rahab's house, and called to her to bring them to him.
But she had hidden those two men on her roof, under stalks of flax, and she lied to the king. "Yes, they were here, but I didn't know where they were from. They're gone now." And off went the king's men on a wild spy chase. So Rahab, the sinner, helped God by lying. Which I have to believe is not what God would have preferred. Exodus 20 tells us that we are commanded not to, so He would never want this to be the method of serving Him.
Now, of course, Rahab had heard of God, and had faith in Him. But we have no reason to know she had any knowledge of the Ten Commandments. So she probably didn't think there was anything wrong in lying to protect God's people. But God knew. He knew of her faith in Him; He knew the spies were going to end up at her house; He knew she was going to lie to protect them. And He let her be an instrument for His plan anyway.
And not only was she used of God for His plan, she was saved from the judgement that was coming to Jericho. The city of Jericho was going to crumble to the ground because of their decadent lifestyle, and their refusal to believe in the sovereignty of the God of the Israelites, of whom they had heard much. But Rahab and her family were saved.
And not only was she used by God, and saved from death, she was one of only two women, praised in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11: "By faith, the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were unbelieving." Her service has been remembered by every generation since.
And not only was she used by God, and saved from death, and praised by Him in the Book of Hebrews, she was given the gift of being an ancestor of Jesus. Through her the line would continue, to David, to Jesus. What a joy!
And all this, though God knew what a sinner she was, and that even in her service to Him, she would sin. He does not expect perfection from us, either before or after we give our lives to Him. He beckons us to Him knowing our past, and knowing our future. And loving us despite both.
~ "Great is His love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!" ~