Lessons from Rahab
31 Days of Women from Scripture
Lessons from Rahab
An excerpt from “Lessons from a Harlot, a Prophet Judge, and Young Widow” from To Be a Handmaid of the Lord:
Did you know that the world teaches that God teaches a degrading view of women? You don’t have to look very far to see that many believe that God’s story in the Bible puts women into a subservient position, that it glorifies MEN over WOMEN, and that God wants women to be nothing more than baby machines. If you haven’t noticed it so far, I do believe this is one lesson that can prove that point absolutely FALSE! God holds women up – not higher than men, but equal with them. All men AND women in scripture are shown to have faults (excepting Jesus, of course) and strengths – some more than others. “Then Peter opened his mouth and said; ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality'” (Acts 10:34 NKJV). You are your own person with your own mind – do not take my word for it. Read GOD’S WORD and understand what the TRUTH is.
This is the beginning of a lesson that I wrote, originally, for our oldest daughters. I was watching them, at 12 and 13 years old, struggle with their self-image and confidence. I was watching them go through the same struggles that I went through as a teenager. In reality, I did not get a good handle on those issues until I wrote the material in Handmaid for them (I was 37 years old at the time). I am a dynamic personality. I have a lot of outward moving energy. I make decisions and then work to get things done. I can come across as aggressive. All of these things seemed hard to fit into having a “meek and quiet spirit”. My mother spent all of my growing up teaching me the things that should have helped me. I only began to pay attention in my 20s. I really began to believe it about myself in my 30s. If it was in my power to save our girls from a few years of that distress, I wanted to give that to them. Rahab, Deborah, and Ruth were the real clincher to the points, for me, when I compiled the book. Today, I share Rahab with you.
Rahab is blessed with being one of four women mentioned by name in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:5). She and Sarah are the only two women named in the Hebrew writer’s exposition on examples of obedient faith in Hebrews 11. These two things give us ample reason to explore her story and see why God chose to shine focus on her.
“Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.” (Joshua 2:1)
Rahab was a harlot. For men seeking to go about in secret, her house was a good place to go. Inns along the roadside were not common at this time. They could not go knocking on doors looking for people sympathetic to the Israelites. Her house would be a place where their identities and purpose could be hidden, or so they hoped. Someone told the king of Jericho of the presence of spies in the city. The king sends word to Rahab to send out these men. She tells the king the men have come and gone, and if he hurries he might catch them. She had really given the men a place to hide among the flax on her roof (Josh. 2:2-6).
Rahab then declares what she knows about the men and their mission. She knew of the crossing of the Red Sea and what happened to the kings Sihon and Og. “When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Josh. 2:11). She recognizes God’s authority and knows that if He wants Jericho to fall to Israel, it will fall. She asks that the men provide protection for her and her family when the time for the battle comes.
An agreement is made between Rahab and the spies. Her part of the agreement was to have a scarlet thread tied in her window, her family was to all be gathered inside her house, and she is not to tell anyone of what Israel is about to do. If she breaks any part of the agreement, the spies are not bound to protect her (Josh. 2:17-20). She agrees.
Rahab kept her part of the covenant and so did Joshua. Joshua 6:25 says, “However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”
Rahab exhibited great faith! She believed that Israel was coming and that their God “is God in heaven above and on earth beneath”. Her faith was proven to be a great faith by the actions that she took because of the knowledge that she had. Rahab is an example of obedient faith. Her family would not have been saved if she had not acted on that faith.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” The Hebrew writer says that it was by Rahab’s faith that she did not perish along with those who were disobedient, but it was “after she had welcomed the spies in peace” (Heb. 11:31). The spies made it very clear to her that if she broke ANY part of their agreement, they were no longer bound to keep it themselves (Josh. 2:18-19).
Because of her actions which showed her faith in God’s spiritual blessings (Heb. 11:13-16) Rahab became a part of the Israelite nation. She married an Israelite named Salmon and had a son named Boaz (Matthew 1:5). Her son Boaz married the Moabite woman Ruth (Matthew 1:5; Ruth 4:13). Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed (Ruth 4:17; Matthew 1:5). Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David.
This WOMAN, this HARLOT, became the great, great-grandmother of David, the man who God said was “a man after My heart” (Acts 13:22). As the whole story of scripture bears out, Rahab becomes a part of the lineage of the One who came to earth as a man to make salvation possible for all of mankind (Phil. 2:8; 1 Cor. 15:1-19; Heb. 10:7-9; Rom. 6:1-7)! What a legacy! No wonder her name was carried down through the ages. Wouldn’t you keep passing on the story if you had a grandmother like that? Of course, you would!
Rahab shows us that our past is our PAST. It is what we choose to do TODAY and going forward that makes a difference with the Lord. Rahab was no longer a harlot – she married, she bore a son. Each and every one of us can do the SAME thing. Change is hard. But God’s way is ALWAYS better (Prov. 3:1-8; 4:20-23; 6:20-23).
Be a woman like Rahab and hold on to the safety and salvation that God provides.
Be a woman like Rahab and be bold enough to stand up against the “authorities” when they are trying to circumvent God.
Be a woman like Rahab – not allowing your past to keep you from making a FUTURE.
Be a woman like Rahab by leaving a legacy of faith and obedience that will ring out through the generations.
Everyone of us can be a woman like Rahab – if we trust God enough to walk through the doors that He opens for us and to walk away from the ones He closes (Matt. 7:7-11; 1 Cor. 10:13; Acts 22:6-16; Acts 26:12-23).