Summary: Part three in a series from Joshua, centering on Rahab with the theme Your past does not determine your future
COURAGEOUS LIVING P.3
Moving Beyond Your Past
Hebrews 11:31 "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."
James 2:23-26 "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."
God has a way of working through very ordinary and unlikely people. Rahab was a lost pagan woman who lived in the city of Jericho. Yet she became one of the most honoured women in the Bible. She is mentioned in Hebrews 11 and in the book of James.
In Hebrews 11 she stands as an example of faith; in James, she is exemplified as an illustration of works. Putting the two together, we see in Rahab the picture of what we should all have – a belief that behaves.
Or in other words a faith that expresses itself in action.
Here we have the story of a woman who deserved nothing but judgement, and yet risked her very life in order to secure her deliverance and that of her family.
What audacity. What faith. What incredible COURAGE.
She deserved nothing, yet because of her faith, she got more than she could have ever imagined.
This is all the more remarkable when you consider Rahab had so much against her.
STRIKE #1: SHE WAS A AMORITE, NOT A JEW.
Rahab was not one of God’s chosen people. She had no inheritance rights or promises from God, and yet here is an outsider, a complete pagan sinner showing kindness and compassion to the Israeli spies.
STRIKE #2: SHE WAS A WOMAN.
An old daily Jewish prayer went like this, “I thank my God that I was not born a Gentile, or a woman.” This was the prevailing attitude toward women in that society. Women were viewed as second-class citizens. But that wasn’t necessarily God’s attitude towards women. In this case, God worked through an Amorite woman named Rahab.
STRIKE #3: SHE WAS A PROSTITUTE.
Now, I grew up presuming that God would only work through HOLY PEOPLE. You know, men or women who dressed in dark three piece suits, their hair was cut just so and they lived in the RIGHT neighborhood.
But the Bible says Rahab was a PROSTITUTE. Some Bible commentators have tried to sanitize this by pointing out that the Hebrew word for Prostitute is the same word for Inn Keeper. They suggest that Rahab ran an inn for those merchants travelling in and out of Jericho.
However, James and Hebrews makes it quite clear as to Rahabs sordid profession. She was, indeed a hooker
Why would God choose a prostitute? Surely there was someone of more reputable character who would’ve done the same thing.
Many people, even Christian’s struggle all of their lives trying to overcome their past. Since they have never forgiven themselves they have a hard time believing the God has truly forgiven them. Perhaps some of you live daily with the constant ache of regret.
The thoughts of your previous mistakes and sins still haunt you. You live with the continuing thought, “If only…if only I’d done this or had not done this… Life would be different.” Today we are going to study the life of a woman who epitomizes the idea of trying to “Outlive our Past.”
You see, each of us has a little Rahab in us. None of us are exactly where God wants us to be in our life. Some of us have things in our past that we actually feel will prohibit God from loving us. Each of us has fallen short at some time or the other. However, these actions will not preclude any of us from obtaining grace from God or keep him from using us in his perfect plan. God can use the Rahab in Us!
The most important thing about Rahab was her faith. Rahab’s faith is a wonderful demonstration of the grace of God. What kind of faith did Rahab have? To begin it was…
1 And Joshua the son of Nun (A)sent[a] two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.”
We are not told why Joshua did this. Earlier under Moses leadership 12 leaders were chosen to spy out Canaan as God instructed.
We are not told whether Joshua had heard from God. What we can assume is that Joshua was an excellent military general and strategist. He definitely was doing what any wise leader would do when preparing for a new campaign or challenge. He was getting all the information required to make the best decisions possible that would achieve victory.