Saturday, September 24, 2011

In Praise of Rahab

"Joshua spared Rahab... 
with her family and all who belonged to her"
Joshua 6:25

One of the books I'm studying this year in Bible Study is the Book of Joshua.  One of my favorite books.  There are so many inspirational heroes in this book.  Joshua, for instance.  And Caleb; he's one of the people I most admire in Scripture.  But there are some unexpected heroes in the Book of Joshua, too, like Rahab.

Rahab is a surprising hero, partly because she was a prostitute.  I love that God included this detail about her, so that after we see how she serves God, we'll feel bad for having judged her based on her occupation.  (Come on, you know you did....)

She's also an unusual hero because... well, because she was a heroine.  There are courageous, obedient, faithful women throughout Scripture, but not as many as there are men.   Of course, there are more cowardly, disobedient, and faithless men than there are women, too, so I guess it's just a matter of numbers.

Rahab's heroism consisted of hiding the Israelite spies who came to scope out Jericho in advance of attacking it.  She protected them, in chapter 2, because she had faith in their God:  "the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below."  This had to be a terrifying time for her.  She had heard of what God had done for the Israelites, and then she had her chance to make a decision.  She believed the stories she had been hearing, and she believed in the strength of the one, true God.  And then she had the opportunity to act on her faith, when the two spies showed up at her door.

But I think that's only half the lesson.  The other half is in verses 17-20.  The spies, after promising to protect her and her family, added this disclaimer:  "The oath we swore will not be binding unless you have tied this scarlet cord in the window."  Maybe this doesn't seem like such a big deal, after the bravery she had already shown, but it's a reminder to me of the importance of obedience.  Hanging that cord out her window was a public proclamation of her faith.  Many of God's promises require both faith, and obedience ~ faith to believe in the promise itself, and the obedience to show that your faith is real.

Take the following examples:

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from me...
and you will find rest for your souls."
(Matthew 11:28-29)

The obedience called for: take His yoke upon you, and learn from Him
The promise:  rest for your soul

"Those who wait in the Lord 
shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."
(Isaiah 40:31)

Your obedience:  wait on Him
The promise: strength

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God;
and the peace of God, 
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your heart and your mind 
through Jesus Christ."
(Philippians 4:6-7)

Your obedience:  prayer, petition and thanksgiving
The promise:  peace

What Rahab wanted, was salvation, but she got more than that.  Her name and her story have been preserved in His Word, and she was in the lineage of King David, and of course, Jesus.  She is, indeed, an inspiring example of faith and obedience leading to life and blessings.

~ "Was not even Rahab the prostitute
considered righteous for what she did?" ~
James 2:25

No comments:

Post a Comment