Summary: Rahap’s faith is a wonderful demonstration of the grace of God.
A Study of Joshua
Sermon # 2
“Outliving Our Past”
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.” Tonight we are going to study the life of a woman who epitomizes the idea of trying to “Outlive our Past.” The woman’s name is Rahab and it will become very obvious that Rahab has made some bad choices in her life. She was a prostitute. But when it comes to God, the choices of the past are not near as important as the choices that you make now.
Chapter two of Joshua begins with, “Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from …. to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.”
The text does not say but some have surmised that Joshua was in error by sending out the spies. They say that he should have simply trusted in God and moved ahead. But the fact that God had instructed Moses to sent out the twelve spies earlier (Numbers 13:1-2) it is reasonable to conclude that God had likewise instructed Joshua to do the same now.
If the spies had been sent in obedience to the command of God, as we have reason to believe, we also have reason to believe that God had a great purpose than just bringing back information. I believe that situation is similar to that in John 4:4 where it says that Jesus “needed to go through Samaria.”
It was not that Jesus had to go through Samaria, but that Jesus had a purpose in going through Samaria, the salvation of a Samaritan woman. In the same way, I believe the two spies were sent to Jericho at a certain prostitute could be saved.
God had been at work in Rahab’s heart, leading her to faith, and now he was sending his messengers to confirm her faith and to physically save her.
In the chapter that we have before us we have a shining example of God’s sovereign grace. Here is a clear testimony that his saving purpose extends beyond the narrow confines of any one nation or anyone group of people. God’s grace is so broad that even the most unlikely of people can objects of it.
Verse one continues, “….So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.” She is identified as a prostitute and it was undoubtedly for this reason that the spies went to her home. No I am not saying the spies had an immoral purpose. But where else, could two strangers go where they were least likely to be asked embarrassing questions.
There are a number of things that I want us to consider in relation to Rehab’s faith.
1. FAITH CAN BE BORN IN THE MOST UNPROMISING OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
On the human level, the possibility that any one in Jericho would come to believe in the true God was very rare indeed. The first thing that would have been against her was here religious background. She lived in a pagan city in the middle of a pagan culture.
She did not have the privilege of having any detailed information about the only True and Living God.
But if her religious background made her a unpromising candidate, then she was even more so because of her moral background. Rahab was not a religious pagan she was a prostitute.
In this most unlikely of places, this pagan and dark city, in this most unlikely of people, true faith was found.
2. FAITH IS BASED ON HEARING AND ACTING UPON THE TRUTH (VV. 9-11)
To understand why Rahab did what see did we need to fast forward to verse nine. Rahab here reveals her faith, “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.