Summary: Part 3 of 6 of the series, Who’s That? Stories of little known people of the Bible. How could a prostitute be given the same honor as man like Abraham? Read her story and discover the rewards of trusting God...
RAHAB – THE WOMAN WHO TRUSTED GOD
Read at beginning of service:
James 2:14-26 (NIV)
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 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. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 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? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
For the last two weeks we’ve been looking at the stories of some unfamiliar people found in the Bible. People that we don’t hear about too often. I have found this to be an interesting venture because there has been some very important lessons I have learned from their lives – important lessons that I hope we have all learned!
Lot, the man who compromised, taught us the dangers of pitching your tent in the wrong place! We saw by his life the things that he compromised (or placed in danger) because of his obsession with "looking out for number one".
Last week, we looked at the story of two brothers, Nadab and Abihu, and their offering of "strange fire" in the presence of God. In this particular story, holy fire came out from God’s presence and consumed the two men. From their lives (and their deaths!) we encountered the importance of having a respectful reverence for God and His holiness – how important (vital!) it is to never take Him for granted – lest we start bringing our own "strange fire" before Him!
Today we’re going to look at a woman named Rahab. Perhaps some of you have heard of her, perhaps not. I’ve called Rahab, the woman who trusted God. Rahab is twice celebrated in the New Testament as a great believer – 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 – read earlier).
So Rahab is obviously a woman worth studying. We’ll begin this morning by looking at her story as recorded in Joshua 2:1-24
Read text: Joshua 2:1-24
Context surrounding Rahab’s story: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 here in Joshua. 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! Yet she is… The story of Rahab is located right in the midst of the biblical account of the launch of Israel’s military campaign to conquer the Promised Land (Canaan). The Israelites are camped by the Jordan River waiting for the orders to cross and take possession of the land they had been waiting so long for. Joshua, their new leader, sends in two spies to help in the planning of his strategy.
These spies come to Jericho, the first city in the path of the coming conquerors, and we read that their first stop was the house of the prostitute Rahab. Wait a minute here! I thought they were told to look over the land not look over the people…well anyway... The question that immediately comes to mind is, why would the spies go to a prostitute’s house? Disregarding the obvious and perhaps more immoral answers for the Bible would have mentioned these possible answers if they were true – I believe…It was a good place to gather information and no questions would be asked in return. No doubt Rahab’s house would have been a frequent stopping place for travelers from other parts of the land and therefore much news would have been exchanged.It was in an ideal location for a quick escape because it was built into the city wall (Joshua 2:15)