I’ve heard it said that “You can’t change a ho into a housewife” – I beg to differ. In fact, that’s just what God did in Joshua . Meet Rahab the Harlot. While I don’t know many harlots personally, I like this one. She has spunk, she is gutsy, she believes.
The deal is that Joshua sends two spies into Jericho to check things out. Keep in mind that an Israelite in Jericho would stick out like a sore thumb, and the rumor was around town that the Israelites were going to attack. Rahab not only lets the spies lodge at her place, she hides them too (Joshua 2:1-7)
After giving the king of Jericho a fascinating account of how the spies went “That Way!” she goes to the roof where’s she has hidden to two men to have a chat. Basically she says, “I know what’s up – God is going to give Jericho to you and everyone here is really freaked out. We’ve heard stories of what God did with the Red Sea and all and what’s happened to others who God handed over to you. When we heard about that, we knew we were done for -“the Lord Your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath.”
Rahab believed. Then she goes further to say “Please, promise me that since I have risked my hide to save you guys and showed you kindness that you would show us the same and save me and my family.” (Joshua :8-13)
And they did, with one condition – that Rahab would keep quiet, hang a scarlet thread from her window and keep her family indoors until the dust had cleared. I imagine she thought, “Really? That’s it?! No problem!”
In the end, Rahab walks away alive with her whole family while behind her Jericho burns. Can you imagine? The huge wall that once guarded the city flat as a pancake and everyone you knew outside of your family – gone. And Rahab is no longer a harlot, that life is gone along with the rest of Jericho. She has a whole new life in front of her, a second chance, a new faith and some new friends. But God didn’t stop there. (Joshua 6)
Joshua 6:25 “However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshue spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day . . . ” It gets even better – flip on through to Matthew chapter 1 vs 15 and we see that not only did Rahab live with the Israelites, she married one! Rahab and Salmon were married and became the proud parents of Boaz who eventually married none other than Ruth (another gentile woman of great faith!) who became the proud parents of Obed the father of Jesses, father to King David and well, you know the rest of the story – that lineage ended up with none other than Jesus Christ – the son of God, Immanuel.
Wow. God even goes so far as to include Rahab in the famous Faith “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11:31 – “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in[Lit with ] peace.”
That’s what’s so amazing about grace. Rahab, a harlot who most likely grew up worshipping false gods and having only heard far-off stories of an Invisible one, chose to believe and acted in faith to do what she knew God wanted. Sounds familiar right? Well, with the exception of the harlot part.
I just re-read this story last week as I studied heroes of the faith for the Believing God (Beth Moore) study that I’m going through with some gals from church. I feel incredibly energeized and thankful that God can turn hos into housewives, and hopelessness into joy, deadness to life, and in my own case – a lonely, depressed and confused teenager into a woman of faith with more blessings that I could count on 50 hands.