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Lessons from a Prostitute: Rahab

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Know who is one of the unsung heroes of the Bible? The prostitute Rahab, she’s simply not talked about enough in sermons today.

We’re working our way through the book of Joshua at my church right now and just covered chapter two last weekend. Rahab has been on my mind all week.

Here’s a woman who makes her living sleeping with the men and visitors to the city of Jericho. Even in today’s society she’d be looked down upon. But the Israelite spies show up at her door.

What was she thinking in that moment? More customers?

They tell her who they are. Now, she would have known that their presence within the walls of her city meant that the Israelites were coming to destroy Jericho.  Common logic is that she should have summoned the authorities, screamed, spit on them.

But Rahab has heard of the works their God has done, from parting the Red Sea to favoring them in war, and she wants what they have. She asks them to spare her and in a move that most Christian fiction publishers wouldn’t print, the prostitute brings the men into her house and hides them. When Jericho officials show up at her house she bold-face lies in order to save God’s people.

After the spies leave, Rahab could have gone back on her word and reported them. She knew where in the hills they were hiding. But she didn’t, she chose to have faith in God. Believing that the Israelites would come back to Jericho and save her.  They did. When they took Jericho they killed everyone but Rahab and her family.

So why all the talk of this prostitute? Well, the thing is Rahab understood something in two minutes that many of us Christians struggle with for years.

God could care less about your past. The bad stuff, the sin in your past is never an obstacle to God.

I’ve heard “I’m not good enough” from people too many times. We never have this moment from Rahab, she gets the chance to be one of God’s children and doesn’t give a second thought to her prostitute past. Within the first minutes of being a Christian she sins again by lying, but God knows her heart.

This lady of the night goes on to be mentioned three times in the New Testament. In the faith chapter (Hebrews 11:31), among the likes of Abraham and Jacob, Rahab is praised for her faith. James (2:25) tells us that Rahab the prostitute was considered righteous by God from the moment she hid the spies onward.  And the greatest mention falls in the book of Matthew (1:5) because God blessed Rahab by placing her in the lineage of Jesus.

Yes, one of Christ’s ancestors was a lady of the night.

God can use anyone. Your baggage doesn’t scare Him – it scares you. Don’t let it be an obstacle for his blessings in your life


About Jess Keller

I'm an author, speaker and chocolate eater who's chasing hard after my dreams.

6 responses »

  1. I’ve been being brought back again and again to the book of Joshua for the last few months, especially chapters one and two. The verse that has been sticking out to me is Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

    It is also said in verse 6 and verse 18, “Be strong and courageous.” These words were spoken to Joshua, but the same can also be said of Rahab. She was strong and courageous. We were studying her in our women’s Bible study, and in chapter two when the spies come to Rahab’s house, the king himself sends messengers to her to turn on the spies. So not only was Rahab a prostitute, she was a very well-known one, even to the king. So this makes her faith in God even more powerful, because she probably had it relatively good if even the king knew of her and her inn.

    I love Rahab. She is such a beautiful character and I can’t wait to meet her in glory!

    Great post, Jess!

    • Ooo, I love that extra info Renee – makes her belief an even bigger deal!

      When we studied chapter one our pastor made an interesting point, when God is telling Joshua to be strong and courageous Joshua would have been in is 80’s or 90’s. Not the time when he would have wanted to start waging wars and everything. He was at the time of life we humans usually consider passing the torch to someone younger. So it makes God’s command/encouragement even more meaningful.

      That AND this was the same city that year early (40-50 years, right?) that Moses had sent spies to and all but Joshua came back saying “they people are giants, we’ll never win, we shouldn’t even try.” But Joshua said, “God told us we can do it, let’s do it.” But they don’t take the city then. I wonder if in Joshua 1-2 Joshua is thinking about all those years ago – “should I have tried to pursauded them more?” “What if those guys were right and the city of Jericho is too powerful?” Or maybe he was worried that God would bring up his failure to lead the charge in the past.

      But God doesn’t. Just like he doesn’t bring up our past failures. He gives Joshua an opportunity to succeed, offering encouragement along the way.

  2. Have you read Pearl in the Sand by… Tessa Afshar I think it is. Excellent story about Rahab. She is the mother-in-law of Ruth because she’s the mother of Boaz. Forget her husband’s name though…

  3. Great summary of the story of Rahab
    Rahab certain shows that Jesus is a friend of sinners. There is hope for everyone – only trust Him. How amazing is God’s love


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