By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched round them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
Hebrews 11:30-31 (NIV)
Read: Joshua 2
Consider: We come to a section of Hebrews 11 that draws from an incident where the Israelites conquered the city of Jericho. The writer of Hebrews mentions two things: the faith of those who marched around the city for seven days before the walls fell down and the faith of Rahab.
If we are honest, we would probably say that we would not have chosen Rahab if we were writing Hebrews. However, despite how she chose to live, God was willing to save her from the destruction of the city and its inhabitants.
Although Rahab was willing to welcome the spies into her house and hid them from the king, she also demonstrated her faith through what she said. In Joshua 2:8-9 we read: Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, ‘I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.
Rahab was willing to identify with the God of the Israelites. She could have said ‘your God’, but instead she used the term ‘the LORD’, showing that she knew who the Israelites worshipped and believed in him. Rahab also had to show faith in getting her family together in her house and tying the red cord to her window as a sign to the Israelites. In Joshua 6:25 we are told: But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho – and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
The key message for us from this incident involving Rahab must be that God chooses people not because of their status in life, but because of his great mercy. This reminds me of something Paul says in his first letter to the believers at Corinth: Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no-one may boast before him (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
So let’s thank God for his grace and mercy that he decided to offer us salvation.
Pray: Father, we know that like Rahab we were called because we are sinners. Help us not to be judgemental of people we meet, but to see them through your eyes as in need of forgiveness. Amen