Summary: This sermon deals with the inclusion of the harlot Rahab into the Bible's listing of people with faith.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also 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 also.
There are some stories in the Bible that are hard to understand.
The story of Rahab is one of them.
We like the story of Daniel’s faith in the lion’s den.
We enjoy the story of David’s faith in killing the giant Goliath.
We like the faith stories of Abraham, Moses and Joseph.
We like the story of Noah’s faith in building an Ark.
Yet, in today’s passage from James
Rahab is praised for her faith.
Verse 25 clearly says Rahab was a harlot…a prostitute.
Rahab’s story is found back in Joshua chapter 2.
Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove 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.
The king of Jericho was told that spies were at Rahab’s house.
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."
Now, what does Rahab tell the king?
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."
So Rahab is not only a prostitute, she’s a liar!
The king’s men go off on a wild goose chase.
Rahab hid these 2 Hebrew spies on her roof.
She saved the lives of these 2 Hebrew spies.
So Rahab goes up to speak to the spies.
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.
Those verses are very important.
Rahab shows her faith in God.
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."
The spies promise that when Israel attacks the city
her family will be spared.
Now look at Verse 21
Then she said, "According to your words, so be it." And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.
Do you think it was just a coincidence that a red cord is used?
The lives of those spies was saved through a red cord.
So the spies went back to tell Joshua what they saw.
That meant Joshua got the crucial information he needed.
The story of Rahab continues in Joshua chapter 6.
The Hebrew people surround Jericho.
Listen to Joshua’s words to his people.
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.
So the walls of Jericho come tumbling down.
The people of Jericho are slaughtered, except for a few.
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.
So Rahab’s faith ended up saving her whole family.
She shows up in Matthew 1 as part of Jesus’ genealogy.
Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,
So Rahab had married Salmon, a descendant of Abraham