By Susan Nero
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield,
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His
Let Your mercy, O Lord,
be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
The story of Rahab is about one woman’s courage and her actions that saved her entire family. But mor than anything, Rahab’s story is about a woman whose ways pleased the Lord. HER STORY IS ONE ABOUT FAITH.
“But 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 diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
In this short verse, we learn a few things about God and faith.
1. We need faith to please God.
2. Faith requires a belief in God and that God exists.
3. Faith accepts that God rewards those who pursue a relationship
Rahab displayed all of those characteristics. She chose to believe in the God of the Hebrews over the gods of her own people. She chose an unknown God because she believed He was greater than all that she had known. Rehab chose to have faith that God existed and that He was faithful to deliver the land He had promised to His people.
Finally Rahab believed that God would reward her for helping the two spies. She trusted that God would see beyond what everyone else saw and choose to save her over all the people in Jericho. Not only that, but this unknown God would save her family as well.
She knew that she needed to trust God at that moment and so she did.
RAHAB’S LABEL WAS “RAHAB THE HARLOT” BUT HER CHARACTER
WAS AND IS, RAHAB THE REDEEMED
The overall message of the Book of Numbers is the tragedy of unbelief.
The journey from Egypt to the Promised Land should have taken 40 days at the most, instead it took 40 years. The delay was caused by Israel’s unbelief.
By contrast the Book of Joshua relates Israel’s final entrance, conquest, and occupation of Canaan. Thus writes J.S. Baxter; “It’s central message is the victory of faith.” “In this, the Book of Joshua stands in sharp contrast to the Book of Numbers, where we see the failure of unbelief - failure to enter; failure to overcome and failure to occupy. (Numbers 14:2-45). Spiritually interpreted, the exploits of Israel under Joshua proclaim the great New Testament truth: ‘This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
Baxter goes on to say that each Israelite triumph is meant to show that victory comes from faith in God, not man’s reliance.” To the overwhelming unbelief “the overthrow of “giants” and great cities was an impossible feat.” But to the eye of faith held by Joshua and Caleb 40 years before,
it was already accomplished.
** “After the death of Moses, the Lord spoke to Joshua saying: ‘Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them - the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses’ “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:1-5)
And God said to Joshua: ”Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
I believe God is saying to all of us this morning, reminding us you might say; “Have I not encouraged you and promised you the Holy Spirit to be with you wherever you go?”
Jesus said; “ If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15)
So we find that as the Book of Joshua begins it reveals the continuation of God’s plan and eventual fulfillment of His promise to Abraham, the land of Canaan to Israel.
And as we see the children of Israel crossing over the Jordan River and entering and taking the land God promised, we learn many lessons that relate to our lives.
Pastor Chuck Smith wrote that he believed crossing over the Jordan River is typical of the time when we, as believers, reckon our old life as being dead with Christ and we move forward in the life of the Spirit.
As Paul wrote: “We move from Romans 7, where I realize that I can’t live a righteous life on my own, and I cry out, “O wretched (woman) that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) and then move into Romans 8, where I discover the walk in the Spirit. And as I move forward in the Spirit, I begin to conquer those strongholds that the flesh held in my life. I begin to take the territory and live the life God wants me to live as His child. We will begin to see God’s Spirit working in our lives, bringing us victory where in the past we only knew defeat.
*** “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
*** “ I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
The Book of Joshua is filled with the Presence and work of the Holy Spirit.
It is also filled with great acts of faith none of which would have been possible without the power of God enabling man or woman. The list is so long of encouraging “testimonies” that it would prove to be very difficult to begin and contain this devotional to only Rahab and her story. I have therefore begun with a “background”t o her story.
After 40 years of wandering in the desert the Book of Joshua tells of Israel under the leadership of (Spirit filled) Joshua finally entering, conquering, and claiming the Promised Land. Israel “owned the land because of God’s gracious covenant with Abraham, but their enjoyment of the land depended on their faithful obedience.
In the 45th verse of Joshua chapter 21 is written:
** “Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled.” (Joshua 21:45)
What a wonderful encouragement for us to always trust in His promises.
“For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God in us.”(2Cor.1:20)
MIRACLES CONTAINED IN THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
THE PARTING OF THE RIVER JORDAN: Joshua Chapter 3
**Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.” (about 1 million people at that time) (Joshua 3:17)
THE WALLS OF JERICHO FELL DOWN: (Joshua Chapter 6)
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about 7 days.” (Hebrews 11:30)
And between these 2 miracles, lies the miraculous story in Chapter 2 of the faith of Rahab the “harlot”aka the prostitute.
BY FAITH THEY OVERCAME HEBREWS 11:30-31
“By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.”
A very short mention of Rahab in what is referred to as the “Hall of Faith” in the Book of Hebrews; however, only two women are personally named: Sarah the wife of Abraham, and Rahab the harlot of Jericho.
Sarah was a godly woman, the founder of the Hebrew race, and God used her to bring Isaac into the world. But Rahab was an ungodly Gentile who worshipped pagan gods and sold her body for money. Humanly speaking, Sarah and Rahab had nothing in common. But from the divine viewpoint, Sarah and Rahab shared the most important thing in life: They both had exercised saving faith in the true and living God.
THE FAITH OF RAHAB: JOSHUA CHAPTER 2: 1-7
1“Now Joshua sent out two men to spy secretly, saying “Go view the land especially Jericho.
So, they went and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there.
2 And it was told the king of Jericho saying, “Behold men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.”
3 So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.” 4 Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, ”Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5 And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went, I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.)
7 Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.”
RAHAB’S COURAGEOUS FAITH
How did the spies meet Rahab? We certainly have to believe in the hand of God as we watch this take place. Rahab was the only person in Jericho who trusted the God of Israel, and God brought the spies to her. WW
The fact that Rahab had a house and lived alone is amazing….she hides the spies on her rooftop under stalks of flax - why flax? some scholars believe
that in addition to being a prostitute Rahab was also in the business of manufacturing linen and the art of dying . Linen is a textile made from the fibers of flax. I found one interesting commentary that pointed out that only fine linen was used in the robes of the Israelite priests to go into the Presence of God.
Rahab took her life in her hands when she welcomed the spies and hid them, but that in itself was evidence of her faith. True saving faith can’t be hidden for long. Since these two men represented God’s people, she was not afraid to assist them in their cause.
Had the king discovered her deception, he would have slain her as a traitor.
The main lesson here is that Rahab’s faith was conspicuous, and she demonstrated it by receiving the spies and risking her life to protect them.
James saw her actions as proof that she was truly a believer.
Her faith wasn’t hidden; the spies could tell that she was indeed a believer.
** In James 2:25 Rahab stands as evidence of the transforming power of God.
** 25) “And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?”
** 26) “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.”
“No man will ever be moved to action without faith. But no man’s faith is genuine unless it moves him to action.” Chuck Smith
RAHAB’S PROFESSION OF FAITH IN GOD JOSHUA 2:8-11
(8) “Now before (the spies) lay down;, she came up to them on the roof,(9) and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. (10) 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. (11) 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.”
LET’S LOOK AT WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT HIMSELF! Only the Spirit could have given her these words.
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Myself….” Isaiah 44:24
It took a lot of faith to acknowledge that the Hebrew God was greater than any of the gods of Jericho. When your city has fortified walls it’s easier to believe your city is impenetrable. For years, the people of Jericho had existed behind their thick walls. None of their neighboring countries had been able to penetrate their walls and so they felt safe. But Rahab believed in the power of the Hebrew God, all she had heard were stories but she BELIEVED He was powerful enough to deliver Jericho into the hands of His people.
By contrast and in spite of the fear Jericho was experiencing they stubbornly stuck to their old ways and trusted in their (man made/government) security. ** Thoughts of Noah’s faith, and the story of the ark come to mind.
The declaration of faith made by this Canaanite woman places her in a unique position among the women of the Bible. “I know that the Lord has given you the land.” It seems Rahab sensed a distinct call from God and that sense made her willing to sacrifice her own life. She chose to leave everything every part of her life in Jericho and chose a new life with God. A bold step towards her new life, leaving her past behind.
How did Rahab become a God follower? She had no personal relationships or friendships with anyone that followed God. Yet somehow she had a change of heart and made a decision to follow God. As such Rahab became the first noted convert in the Promised Land. In fact she appears to have become a believer before the people of God set foot in the land.
How did Rahab come to a saving knowledge of the one true God, rejecting the gods of the Canaanites, rejecting her culture and her people? She heard the stories of the Israelites and the miracle of the Red Sea…that is the seed, but not the same as faith and commitment.
R.A. Crouse writes: “I can only think of one way: Rahab heard the stories and she listened to the Spirit of God in her. The Holy Spirit is always the difference maker…in our culture we have a lot of words spoken, a lot of stories told, many opportunities to hear the message of salvation, all good, but when it comes down to it, a person must act on the prompting of the Spirit and make a commitment to God Almighty and Jesus Christ. It’s the Spirit in you, convicting you, leading you, and promising to be with you. May you listen to the Spirit to act in boldness, to embrace the calling of Christ even when outside your comfort zone, to live your life in the name of Christ.”
JOSHUA 2:12-14 RAHAB AND THE SPIES MAKE A COVENANT
(Rahab said to the spies) (12) “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, (13) and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”
(14) So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”
RAHAB’S BOLDNESS: Rahab knew her only chance for survival was to ask the spies to protect her. She asked for what she wanted knowing the Hebrew spies had no reason to give it to her. By her own admission, the Hebrew God had already given the Israelites the city of Jericho. Even without her intervention, their victory was sure. Still she boldly asked them to spare her life and pleaded for the lives of her family.
PERSUASIVE RAHAB: I am especially fascinated to ponder what it must have taken to convince her entire family they would be better to trust the God of the Hebrews than to trust in the security of the city walls and the strength of their army. To save her family’s lives, Rahab managed to convince her whole family of two things.
1. that danger was imminent
2. to move into her home in order to save their lives
After 43 years of witnessing verbally, to no effect, I continue to believe that salvation belongs to the Lord. Not with words, but by my conduct, I pray that my husband will hear how much God loves him. I do not credit Rahab for convincing her family, but rather the movement of the Holy Spirit.
RAHAB AND THE SPIES AGREE TO THE COVENANT JOSHUS 2:17-21
(17) “So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, (18) unless when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. (19) So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. (20) And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.”
(21) “Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” (Amen) And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.”
JOSHUA 6:16-17 AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF JERICHO
(16) “And the seventh time it happened when the priests blew the trumpets , that Joshua said to the people: “Shout for the Lord has given you the city!
(17) Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.”
JOSHUA 6:22-25 THE COMPLETION OF THE COVENANT
(22) “But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.” (23) And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. (24) But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron , they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. (25) And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”
“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“Without Christ you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
SOME INTERESTING NOTES FOUND IN SCRIPTURE & COMMENTARIES RE: RAHAB & JOSHUA
God had been preparing Joshua for more than 40 years to lead the people to claim the Promised Land.
In an old classic book, “The Holy Spirit in both Testaments”, William Scofield writes that back in the Book of Numbers Chapter 27:18-20. God said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit and lay your hand upon him, set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight, And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.”
Chuck Smith commented, “I always found it fascinating that Moses, the great lawgiver, is denied permission to take God’s people into the Promised Land. Instead God Chooses Joshua, whose name means “The Lord Saves.” Some commentaries suggest “this name anticipates the New Testament revelation that God’s promises cannot be fulfilled by the Law, but only by Jesus Christ.”
The Bible calls her Rahab the harlot because that was her defining trait? The Bible used the word harlot not only to refer to prostitutes but also to anyone who worshipped idols - those who prostituted themselves before pagan gods. However Warren Wiersbe writes; “The Hebrew word translated “harlot” can also mean ‘one who keeps an Inn.’ “If all we had was the Old Testament text, we could absolve Rahab of immorality and call her the “proprietress of an inn”or an “idol worshipper.” But there is no escape, for in James 2:25 an Hebrews 11:31, the writers use the Greek word that definitely means “a prostitute.”
I think you may agree with me when I say, the label “harlot” or prostitute would be applicable to all of us before our salvation by the grace of God. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
I believe that the term “harlot” was used in the Bible to contrast the
the sin of man with the incredible mercy and grace of our God. It rests there to draw all sinners to the saving grace of our Lord. “But where
sin abounded grace abounded much more.” (Romans 5:20)
I found Rahab to be very relatable. If I had time to share my testimony
I could find many experiences to share that would coincide with Rahab’s life. Especially about her decision to turn from her old (dead) life in the world and run to God for a completely new one in Him.
My dear friend Maria Estrada could not be with us today she had a doctors appointment; but the other day as she and I discussed this devotional and how relatable Rahab was, she shared a brief testimony with me. It was so applicable for today that I asked if she could write it down and send it to me. She was kind enough to do that and when I asked her if she would be comfortable with my sharing it with you, she said absolutely. So……………..MARIA ESTRADA’S TESTIMONY
After this devotional I pray you will once more reflect on your moment of “Decision” and know you will again praise and thank Him. I DID! And that you will also have a renewed realization of the Presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, every day. I HAVE!
THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST THROUGH JOSEPH
“So all the generations from Abraham unto David are 14 generations and from David unto the carrying away to Babylon unto the Christ are 14 generations.
Women are not usually mentioned in genealogies, but this one contains the names of 4 women, and they weren’t the most distinguished of women either. Tamar was a woman who had been disgraced and posed as a prostitute in order to deceive Judah.
Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho,
Ruth was a Moabitess , and the Moabites were “under a curse.”
And Bathsheba (who was listed but not named) was the woman who had an illicit affair with David, which led to the murder of her husband.
What a collection of relatives!
These women were all damaged and tainted, and yet they all appear in the adoptive heritage of Jesus, as they were ancestors of His adoptive father Joseph.
And they remind us that the Lord adopts us, as well, though we are tainted and damaged. He is not ashamed of us, His “shady relatives.