In this post, I’ll share my thoughts regarding what I’ve newly learnt after taking another look at the life of Rahab. FYI is a previous post about her titled: Rahab, a woman of faith.
Two days ago(Nov25th), we completed our Bible study in James 2: 14-26 which talks about Faith and Works and concludes by giving Abraham and Rahab as examples of how faith works and how works can justify faith. In the process of preparing the study outline, I went back reading Joshua 2.
The following verses talk about Rahab’s conversation with the two spies. This conversation occurred after she hid the men, and lied to the King’s messengers that she did not know the whereabouts of her visitors
Jos 2:8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;
Jos 2:9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
Jos 2:10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
Jos 2:11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
Jos 2:12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:
Jos 2:13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.
It strikes me to hear Rahab testify: “I know that the Lord hath given you the land……….. for we have heard……..for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath……..”
Question: how did Rahab hear about he Lord of Israel and the battles He won for His chosen generation?
Did God have a mouth-piece (prophet or priest) in Jericho who warned Jericho’s king and his people on a regular basis – like Elijah and Ahab? No.
Did Joshua send some men to Jericho to preach and proclaim the good news about the Lord of Hosts? and warn of an impending attack / destruction of the city if they failed to oblige? No.
Did God send His angel to Jericho like He did to Sodom and Gomorrah? No. Its worthy to note that while Lot and his family needed an angel to guide them out of Sodom, Rahab didn’t need an angel to inform her that “the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath……..”
Joshua had sent 2-spies to Jericho and it seems these men were on their first spy-mission coz it didn’t take much time for word to get to the King about their(spies) actual mission. With no further investigation to be done, the King sent his men straight to Rahab’s house with an instruction to hand the men over. Perhaps their(spies) clothes gave them away – like Moses in Midian; or perhaps their manner of speech(questions and enquiries) was suspicious enough for Jericho’s citizens to quickly know what they(2-spies) were up to.
If one of the most immoral human beings in Jericho, Rahab, could hear about what the God of Israel has been doing, right from the parting of the Red Sea, then other men and women in Jericho who were at a higher societal status than she was, and all those who had a better reputation than she did definitely heard too. The King himself must be more informed than Rahab.
Rahab confirms “we have heard”:
Isn’t it people like Rahab who shouldn’t even know what was going on, politically and socially in Jericho?; and even if she was aware of kind of information, shouldn’t it be a bunch of harlotry lies, gossips and exaggeration? With her reputation, who could ever trust anything she said, talk less of give her any reasonable piece of information?
Perhaps, she heard from battle tales told by drunken men / city-soldiers who had patronized her; or from debates for and against Israel and their God; or from afternoon gossips from her harlotry colleagues and friends; or from an open market talk among women; or from those who made a fun about the God of Israel, pitying Egypt and Pharaoh for their loss, and the kings of Og and Magog for their destruction; or maybe from hush hush, don’t tell them I told you third party talks which she just over-heard and wasn’t even part of.
Regardless of her medium of information, it was definitely not through a God-sent town-crier who went about giving the city a deadline, date and time to repent like Jonah did at Nineveh.
But the beautiful thing is that Rahab, even though she got her information from someone/somewhere, she believed what she heard. Can’t you hear her saying: “we all heard, but I believed”?
All that Rahab and the men / women of Jericho heard definitely struck fear in their hearts, for she says: “your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you…….our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man”.
The wonders of the God of Israel, the battles Israel won and those kings who were destroyed were the definition of bad news and death as far as Jericho and its inhabitants were concerned. They were aware of the kings/kingdoms Israel had destroyed and they knew how near/far those cities were from Jericho – therefore they must be aware that Jericho was either next or almost next to be attacked by Israel.
But all the barrage of news didn’t move anybody to repent and call on Israel’s God to spare their lives. Nobody considered the terror they heard about too much to rent their clothes, put on sackcloth and pour ashes on themselves as a sign of surrender to the God of Israel.
It wasn’t a man that believed, it was a woman, and her name was Rahab. It wasn’t a man whose faith and work saved her own family, it was a woman, a prostitute for that matter. How the spies found her house is another story. They must have thought the most ideal place to be low-key and anonymous was the house of an harlot. Who would ever suspect they were spies in a harlots house? or perhaps could we say that Joshua’s idea to go spy out Jericho actually came from God, and God led the spies to Rahab’s house because he(God) had a property in the city – Rahab?
Rahab surely confounds Pharaoh in Egypt. Pharaoh was an eye witness to the wonders of the God of Israel through Moses. Even though he saw it in the physical, he refused to believe. Rahab heard it afar off and believed.
Rahab confounds Lot’s wife. She needed an angel to bring her out of Sodom and she still looked back – Rahab didn’t need a divine visitation, for she had realized the Lord of Heaven and Earth through the eyes of her spirit.
Rahab confounds everyone past, present and the future who will hear of God’s love and turn it down. Rahab didn’t hear a message of Gods love and forgiveness. She heard one that made her heart melt, a message of war, terror and death.
Rahab confounds those who feel they are the worst sinners ever. Her story tells us that Gods love knows no bounds. Abraham was bargaining with God for 5-righteous souls in Sodom, while Lot and his family weren’t even bargaining for themselves. Rahab, “a sinner” by Jericho’s standards, single handedly bargained for her entire household.
Rahab confounds the intelligent minds of religion who arrived at a conclusion that there is no God. Could they ever sin as much as Jericho or Sodom? And if someone from the lowest cadre of society could realize there is indeed a God, how much more those who have the opportunity of an education?
Rahab confounds all those who after finding their own salvation in Christ forget their father’s houses: “Jos 2:13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death”. If one could be sad in Heaven, it would be the number of broken families there. It was never mentioned if Rahab’s father, mother, brethren, sisters, etc., had the same conviction as Rahab had. If they did, we definitely know who must have told them; and if they didn’t, isn’t it good to know that God is interested in us individually and in every member of our entire house?
With so many people who have heard that God is love and of how He sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for the sin of man, Rahab confounds them all by her action. She says: I didn’t hear the same God loves you love-story you heard, yet I believed. I heard about Judgment, not Love.
And so what I learn’t from all these is that it doesn’t matter how you heard – how you heard about the good news of God through Jesus Christ His son. It might be through a preachers personal plea to you, or through different forms of direct and indirect social media, or through an evangelist preaching about hell and mincing no words about the destination of sinners; as long as you heard, you heard and the choice you make determines where you will spend eternity.