I think my favorite lesson in the series “Save the Drama for Your Mama” is the lesson on Rahab. Oh my, what a fabulous story. Some women limit themselves, or maybe I should say, they limit God, because of poor choices in the past. If anyone had a rough past, it would have to be Rahab.
According to Joshua 2, Rahab was a harlot. Now there are those who say that she was nothing more than an innkeeper. But as I studied the word, harlot in Joshua 2 comes from the Hebrew word porne, which is the feminine form of pornos. It’s pretty obvious what English word we get from that: pornography. So I think when the Bible says harlot, it means harlot. John MacArthur, in his book “Twelve Extraordinary Women,” says, “Remove the stigma of sin, and you remove the need for grace.” If Rahab was just an innkeeper, then this story lacks significance.
So here’s the story. Joshua, the leader of the nation of Israel, sent two spies into Jericho to spy out the land. They went and lodged at Rahab’s house. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because in her profession, discretion was key. Maybe it was because people wouldn’t think twice about strange men going to her house. But I do believe this was all in God’s plan. In the mean time, the king found out there were spies and sent soldiers to check it out. Rahab hid the 2 spies and told the soldiers they had left the city, but if they hurried, they could catch up.
Once the soldiers leave, Rahab went to talk to the two Israelite spies. She told them that the reputation of the nation of Israel preceded them “all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you” (Joshua 2:9) and “as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you;” (Joshua 2:11) Then Rahab, the harlot, says something unexpected, “for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord,” (Joshua 2:11b-12a). This was a turning point for Rahab. She acknowledges who God is and puts her trust in Him. She would not have asked the spies to swear by the Lord if she did not believe. (Notice she said the Lord and not your Lord.)
She then made provisions for the safety of her family. (Shouldn’t we also want to see our family members trust Christ?) It was decided that at the time appointed, she must have the scarlet thread in her window (to signify which house was hers) and her family members must be in her house. She let the spies down the wall and gave them instructions for their safety. In Joshua 6, we read of the Israelites marching around Jericho, blowing the trumpets, and shouting and the walls falling down FLAT! (verse 20) Joshua made sure Rahab and her family were spared and she then dwelt in Israel (Joshua 6:25)
Here’s my favorite part of the story. Rahab is mentioned in the New Testament. In James 2 where he is teaching on faith and works, in Hebrews 11, where Rahab is listed among the “giants” of the faith and in Matthew 1:5. “Salmon begat Booz of Rachab (Boaz of Rahab); Booz begat Obed of Ruth; Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king;” Rahab, the harlot, is included in the geneology of King David! BUT, if you continue to read the chapter, she is also in the geneology of Christ! Amazing! A woman who could have used her past as an excuse, a woman who most of society would have cast aside, was used in the lineage of the Saviour of the world.
Too many times we make excuses. Too many times we say God can’t love us or use us because of our past. Rahab could have told the spies, “nice story, but it’s not for me.” “you don’t know what I’ve done.” “God couldn’t love someone like me.” “If you only knew the choices I’ve made.” But it’s not about us. It’s about an amazing, forgiving, loving God.
“It doesn’t matter who you are.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.
Jesus is softly calling.
But because of who He is
And because of where He’s been
Because of what He’s done
You can start all over again.”
(“It Doesn’t Matter” by T. D. Jakes)