Who was she?
Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute living in the walled city of Jericho. The Canaanite’s were the descendants of Canaan, known for being wicked, idol-worshipping people, and living in the land promised to the Israelites.
Rahab was a young woman, trying to make a living by spending her days enticing men to use her body in return for money. Unlike a lot of society today, in biblical times women wanted to keep themselves covered and modest, particularly if they wanted to be respected and seen as someone to be considered for marriage.
The fact that Rahab would have been using her flesh to entice men to her bedroom was not something she would have been proud of. Any dreams of meeting a husband and having a family would have seemed farfetched and unrealistic, I can imagine as a young woman she would often have struggled with seeing herself as a girl who had any sense of worth. But unlike other Canaanite women, Rahab had a secret faith in the God of the Israelites, and because of her faith she was going to go from a harlot to a heroine and become the first recorded Gentile convert.
How did God use her?
Rahab was given an opportunity to show her faith to the Lord when two spies from the tribe of Judah came to her home.
They were on a mission to find as much information as they could about the Canaanite army and so it would have been easier and caused less suspicion to turn up at the house of a prostitute, as well as being a good place to fish for information without being asked too many questions in return.
But someone had reported to the King that Israelite spies had been spotted in the walls of Jericho and so their lives were suddenly in great danger, especially as the only way out of the city was through the gates. But when the Kings men came knocking on her door, Rahab hid the men and lied for them in order to keep them safe.
Now let’s just put this into perspective here, a vulnerable woman with two men from a tribe that wanted to attack her city, gave them a place of refuge and told a lie which could have cost her her life if she had been found out. She showed them some serious loyalty!
Why did she do that? Because Rahab was special, because although the kind of life she lived was not noble or respected, she didn’t have a husband or her own children, but she did have belief in the one true God.
That seed of faith was burning so deeply within her that she believed helping His people was more important than helping her own. As a result of her kindness and loyalty, her and her family were spared when the Israelites attacked Jericho. Even more than that, she later went on to marry Salmon from the tribe of Judah and is part of the lineage of David which led to the birth of Jesus Christ.
What can we learn from her?
God can use anyone. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what area you live in or how smart you are. All that matters is your heart.
Rahab was someone who, despite her circumstances and what society had labelled her as, chose to do what she believed to be right. She stood up for something greater than herself and chose to put her faith in God even when she had only heard stories of Him.
She is a wonderful example of the inner strength and courage we all have to trust God in the midst of difficult situations and do what is right by Him. Rahab’s story shows us what it is to have true faith – faith with action. She didn’t just carry round her secret belief, she saw an opportunity to serve God with her loyalty and acted upon it.
Just think, if she hadn’t have chosen to step out in faith she wouldn’t have saved the lives of her loved ones and gone on to marry and have a family of her own. God loves our faith so much, maybe next time you have an opportunity to express your faith remember the same courage and strength within Rahab is in you too!
God won’t ever let you down!
Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
You can read Rahab’s story in Joshua 2.