How Rahab Entered the 11th Chapter of Hebrews
Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
The 11th chapter of Hebrews is an often preached from passage on “faith” or more exactly on some of the great heroes of the faith. In this chapter only two women are mention by name.
*Sarah – Abraham’s wife – a godly woman and
*Rahab – a prostitute – yet the bible calls her “a woman of faith”
Rahab is twice mentioned in the N T. In Hebrews 11:31 she is listed in the great "hall of faith" – and is described as one whose faith proved itself by good works (James 2:25).
The Bible doesn’t have a whole lot to say about the life of this woman. It seems that the only account we have of her is found in Joshua chapter 2. Initially, it seems that Rahab isn’t exactly heroine material. She is first introduced as a prostitute – not someone you would expect to be praised in the scriptures!
This morning we’re going to talk about this woman Rahab and how she entered the 11th chapter of Hebrews.
The Book of Joshua can be divided into three divisions.:
1. Entering the land – Chapters 1-5
2. Conquering the land – Chapters 6-12
3. Possessing the land – Chapters 13-24
There are many lessons for us in this 2nd chapter of Joshua but this morning I would like us to focus on Rahab. Tucked away in this chapter is the fascinating story about two spies and a prostitute named Rahab.
I’m convinced that God can use Rahab’s story to show us several things.
1st – God shows us that He can use anyone who is available to Him.
2nd – God shows us that He can save anyone – even Rahab.
As the 2nd chapter of Joshua opens, we find the nation of Israel – under their new leader Joshua – poised to enter the promised land. A land they had waited over 40 years to enter. Israel is camped just a few miles across the Jordan river from Jericho.
Joshua sends out 2 young men to spy out the land who enter the city of Jericho and find lodging in an inn run by Rahab – a prostitute.
This is where our story begins.
I. (Vs. 1-7) Our first major observation is this: God has a way of working thru very ordinary and very unlikely people. He can use anyone who is available to Him.
1st God used two ordinary young men to spy out Jericho.
Who were these two men? – We don’t know. They were unnamed – anonymous.
We need to be constantly reminded that God works this way – thru ordinary people.
Illustration I often find it helpful to illustrate this idea using my own experience.
1. God used a backslidden Christian who had gotten right with God to draw me to Christ.
2. God used Jerry T. – a very ordinary Christian – to disciple me in the basics of the Christian life.
3. God used a black woman from the island of Antigua – to show me godliness and faith.
4. God usd the pastor of a small mission church in New York City – to teach me how to forgive.
2nd Then God used Rahab – A woman who had three strikes against her.
1. Strike One – Rahab was a Canaanite, not a Jew. - The Canaanites were a wicked people. A people so wicked and so evil that God used Israel as his instrument to judge them. The Canaanites were Idolaters.
2. Strike Two – Rahab was a woman.- Women at that time were often treated as 2nd class people. They had few rights. ( Much like in many Islamic countries today) In many instances they were treated as property. Yet God worked through this woman – Rahab.
3. Strike Three – Rahab was a prostitute. She sold herself for money. – God sees potential in every single one of us. No matter what our past.
Rahab had all this going against her and yet she had one great redeeming factor in her favor – FAITH – She believed God.
II. (Vs. 8-24) God not only shows us that He can use anyone. But next God shows us that He can save anyone.
There are 5 particular qualities in Rahab’s life that I want us to notice.
1. Rahab had an openness to the truth. – Vs. 8-11.
She had heard about Israel and Israel’s God. But what was it that made her believe in Israel’s God.
* It could have been fear – fear of death
* It could have been dissatisfaction – with the life she was living – wanting something better.
* Maybe she was a religious person seeking true spiritual reality – A seeker.
It’s exciting to talk to an open minded person. To someone searching for the truth. Occasionally someone hears that I’m a pastor and initiates a conversation. The ask about the church or why I became a minister, ect.
2. The 2nd quality Rahab had was the courage to make a tough decision. – Vs. 12-16
She didn’t have a lot of time to think about it. She had to make a decision then.
Salvation involves a decision on our part. It’s one thing to believe something and another to act upon it.
3. The 3rd quality Rahab had was a willingness to join a new family. To leave the old life and enter a new one – To enter the family of God. – Vs. 17-21
The spies told her to hang from her window a scarlet thread. – Did she understand it’s significance. I doubt it. ( Read note in Pilgrim Bible )
Sometimes God asks us to do something that we don’t understand. To Rahab the scarlet thread was an outward sigh of what God was going to do.
Her faith was not in the rope – it was in God.
4. The 4th quality that Rahab had was a concern for her family. Vs. 12-13
She was willing to persuade her own family to trust in her newfound God.
Our loved ones need to know what we believe. Mothers and fathers need to teach their children about Jesus. Rahab cared about her family.
5. The last quality Rahab had was a lasting faith. A persevering faith. Chap. 6:22-25
Rahab had to follow thru on her faith. No longer was she a prostitute in Canaan. She was now a part of the people of God. A believer in the true and living God. No longer an idolater.
Conclusion – What else do we know about Rahab.
The NT books of Hebrews and James tell us that she was a woman of faith.
Matt. 1:5-6 tells us that she became the great grandmother of King David and a part of the linage of Christ