Summary: It's obvious God forgave Rahab her sin... but if He forgave her, how come the Bible repeatedly refers to her as "Rahab The Harlot"?
CHILDREN’S STORY - The story of Rahab protecting the Spies.
SCRIPTURE and PRAYER
SERMON: Years ago, when Logansport was a major railroad hub, the trains would stop at what we now call “Little Turtle Waterway.” And if you’ve ever noticed, there’s still a depot down by the tracks. That’s where people would get off the trains. When passenger trains would stop at that depot, some of the people got off on the NORTH side of train, and some of the people got off on the SOUTH side of train. Those who got off on the SOUTH side wandered on down to some houses by the river and spent time in the “red light” district.
Nice folks didn’t talk about it much… but everybody knew it was there. That’s where the prostitutes lived. That’s where the men would go to spend their time and money. And whoever was in charge of that “enterprise” would bring NEW girls down from Chicago once in while, to swap out with the girls that where there (Just to keep things interesting, I guess).
Now, there were businesses in town who appreciated having those girls there. The girls paid their bills, they were respectful, they didn’t cause too much trouble, and they stayed on “their side of the tracks.”
(PAUSE) When I first moved to Logansport I was told this was a city of churches.
But you have to wonder - how did those churches respond to having prostitutes just a few blocks from their houses of worship?
Now, YOU may wonder why I’d start sermon talking about prostitutes? Well I’m talking about prostitutes because Rahab was one (a Prostitute.) Joshua 2:1 tells us “(the spies) came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there.” James 2:25 says “in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?” And Hebrews 11:31 declared “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”
So… Rahab was a prostitute.
Now, just so we’re clear here… prostitution is sinful lifestyle. In Deuteronomy 23:17 God declared: “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.” And Leviticus 19:29 says “Do not prostitute your daughter to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.”
And in the New Testament I Corinthians 6:16-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I Corinthians 6:16-20
My point is - prostitution is NOT an “acceptable” lifestyle to God. Anyone who lived like that (and the men who frequented them) I’m pretty sure they’re all going to hell!
(PAUSE) All except Rahab and a few others we’re going to talk about later. Rahab WAS a prostitute, but God forgave her of that sin.
In fact, once Joshua rescued her & her family out of Jericho, Rahab lived outside the camp and she ultimately married a man from tribe of Judah named Salmon. They were the great-great-grandparents of King David. That resulted in her being one of ONLY 5 women included in Jesus’ genealogy. She is named by God as an ancestor of Jesus. Then, of course, Hebrews and James tell us God praised by for her faith.
SO, SHE’S NOT GOING TO HELL!!!
But that does raise a question: Almost every time her name’s mentioned in Scripture she’s called Rahab the harlot! It’s almost like it’s her last name. If God forgave her her sin why did He keep calling her THAT? Why repeatedly refer to her as “The Prostitute?”
Well, actually, God has actually done that with others. Matthew, for example is called “Matthew the tax collector” (Matthew 10:3) Tax collectors were not upstanding citizens in Israel. The Pharisees once asked why Jesus was eating with the “tax collectors” and sinners. It’s like there were sinners, and then there was a special class of sinners – called tax collectors.