This is the second guest article written for this series. Zach Martin serves as the Pulpit Minister for the Cedar Springs Church of Christ in Louisville, Kentucky. Today, he writes about someone we may easily overlook and what her faith illustrates.
Rahab. The most astute Bible student will recognize the name and know that she deservingly stands among other great men and women in the hall of fame of faith (i.e. Heb 11:31). However, the mind is still drawn to questions concerning the circumstances by which she has become an example of faith. The Hebrew writer is not shy in reminding us that Rabah was a prostitute. James extolls her works and that she was justified by them through faith by deceiving her own countrymen (i.e. Jas 2:25).
Her name is also used in various ways throughout Biblical literature. That name is used to describe a sea monster which represents the forces of chaos present at the time of creation (i.e. Psa 88:10; Job 9:13). Psalm 40:4 even uses it to describe the plurality of proud, arrogant enemies. Yet, on the other hand, she is listed proudly in the genealogy of Christ (i.e. Matt 1:5).
Her story is found in Joshua 2 and 3:22-27. Joshua and the Israelites were ready to enter the Promised Land and conquer it and Jericho was the first city to be attacked. Joshua sent two spies in to check it out, but they were easily recognized at the tavern house of the prostitute Rahab. The king sent word to her to bring them out, but she reported back that they were there, but snuck out at night before the city gate closed and that she no longer knew where they were. All the while, she hid them under stalks of flax. Later, she gave them instructions on how to get out, where to go, and how long to stay there. She then made them swear to protect her and her family when the time came to destroy Jericho. The promise they made was contingent on her hanging a scarlet cord to the outer window of her home. She obeyed and when the city was destroyed, she and her family were safe. She later married into the Israelite race and faith and now stands as a great example of faith.
So why does Rahab and her example of faith mean so much to me? She reminds me how powerful the Word of God is and how effective it is at producing faith. She reminds me of the process of faith laid out by Paul in Romans 10:17. Faith is a result of hearing and believing what we heard about God and His wonderful promises. For those of us on this side of Jesus’ sacrifice, that means faith in what God said about His Son and what His Son has done for us. Rahab risked her life and her family’s life to help men she knew were on the Lord’s side. She knew who they were because of the news that she heard from Egypt and the wilderness wanderings. That’s all she had, word of mouth. Thankfully, she believed and acted upon that belief, while the rest of Jericho lost heart and courage (i.e. Josh 2:8-12). How powerful is that testimony?
I cannot judge who will respond to Gods Word and who will not, but I must tell everyone about the greatness of the God I serve and what He had done to reconcile mankind to Him. I know what a sincere faith looks like and it is found in the prostitute named Rahab. For a moment, compare her to the lost generation in the wilderness. They saw the miraculous works of God at every turn but did not fully believe. Rahab merely heard about God and believed. There was no slideshow, no powerful presentations, and no silver-tongued speeches. There was a report made and Rahab believed. If I take the Word of God as serious as I claim, then I will hear, believe, and obey every aspect of it. Rahab teaches that simple idea. You cannot claim to have faith if it does not produce an active, obedient spirit.