Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Rahab’s Story: An Advent Study

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: JESHOOTS.COM

Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab,” ~Matthew 1:5

We are first introduced to Rahab in Joshua 2. When Rahab enters the narrative, two Israelite

men have just been sent out to Jericho by Joshua. Their mission was to search out the city, the

land the Lord would soon give into the hands of the Israelites. They were not simply to search

the city, however. They were to study the city with the purpose of taking control of it.

In the midst of this mission, they “went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and

lodged there.” (Joshua 2:1). We don’t know if the men knew she was a prostitute or not. We

don’t know if this were Rahab’s chosen profession or if she were involved in prostitution out of

a sense of desperation or destitution. We know very little about that aspect of the story. We do

know Rahab had a family, including a father, mother, and siblings (verse 13), but that’s the

extent of the information we have about Rahab’s background.

What we do know is that she was a prostitute living in the city wall of Jericho, a city about to

be taken over by the nation of Israel. The very city wall, in fact, which will be broken down just

a few short chapters later (see Joshua 6)- even though it was considered the most important

city in the Jordan valley and known as the strongest fortress in all of Canaan.

Rahab’s Decision

Here was Rahab, a Canannite prostitute female living in a doomed city wall. If that doesn’t spell hopelessness, I don’t know what does! She laments in verses 9-12 that “the Lord has given you [i.e., the Israelite spies] the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For 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 the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you

utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there

remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in

heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I

have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me

a true token”.

Rahab found herself in a desperate situation (not only was the city doomed to destruction, but

the elders of the land would have been all too happy to put her to death for harboring the

spies!). Yet, as Hebrews 11:30-31 points out, in the midst of it all she had faith: “By faith the

walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab

did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.”

In spite of the fact that she had seemingly been an unbeliever up until this point (and the fear of death - not necessarily a personal belief in the God of Israel - could well have been her first

inspiration for saving the spies), she nevertheless seems to have come to saving faith in God

as she experienced His grace in sparing her life and the lives of her family.

Rahab’s Delight

Though she knew no hope when this ordeal first began, she walked away from it with much

hope. It was a hope that did not disappoint, for it was hope in the living God of Israel HImself.

What is particularly beautiful about Rahab’s story is the picture it is of the restoration and

redemption brought about by the grace of God. Rahab began as a prostitute, but her life story

ends with her becoming the mother of Boaz, mother-in-law of Ruth, and great (multiple greats!) grandmother of Christ Himself - her Redeemer then and our Redeemer today.

The Decision Awaiting You

You now have a decision to make, friend. Will you continue believing the lies about who you

are, your worth in the eyes of God, and your impact on this world? Rahab most likely believed

the lie that her worth was determined by what she could do for the men who employed her. I

imagine she believed herself to be worthless at one time or another, beyond redemption, not

worth God’s forgiveness, and incapable of pleasing the God her people so desperately feared.

While it may be true that our sin renders us unworthy of the love and grace of God, that is not

how God views us. He views us as the objects of His love, compassion, and concern. 

Our God is a tender, merciful, abundantly forgiving God toward anyone who comes to Him in repentance and faith. It doesn’t matter what labels you have been wearing, whether a scarlet A or something else entirely. It doesn’t matter how other people view you or what they have grown to expect from you or what you may think is your worth. What matters is how the God of the universe views you and what He has to say about you. That is all that matters.

It matters that Immanuel, God with us, came to earth as a tiny baby (after all, that is what we

are celebrating this month!) to save us from our sins, no matter how great they may be. It

doesn’t matter how big your sin - God’s love is bigger. It doesn’t matter how black your sin -

God’s redeeming grace makes you whiter than snow. It doesn’t matter how many lives you

have hurt by your example. God’s omnipotence is greater, and He can still bring good out of

the bad; He can still redeem lives you have sought to destroy. That is the source of our hope,

just as it was for Rahab.

If you ever doubt that God is ready, willing, and able to save you to the uttermost, just look at

our sister, Rahab - the harlot, the woman, the pagan Canaanite living in a city destined to

belong to Israel, the people of God. By all intents and purposes, we would think the Israelites

would hate and despise her. But that didn’t matter because God loved her. And that’s what

makes all the difference in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by, we love hearing from you. Please feel free to contact us with any prayer requests or questions by commenting below or emailing us at the About Us page.