“By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).
Hebrews 11 is God’s Hall of Fame for champions of faith. In verse 31, we come to an unusual person to celebrate and learn from—a prostitute. But God transformed Rahab. She became the great, great-grandmother of King David, part of the bloodline of our Savior. (Read Matthew 1.)
Faith has incredible power to change someone. (See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.) Christians are not just nicer people; they are absolutely new people.
God’s Providence Confronted Rahab
Israel has come out of Egypt, the land of bondage. Only the River Jordan stands between God’s people and the Promised Land. Joshua sent out spies.
“So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. …So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.’ Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, ‘Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from’” (Joshua 2:1b,3-4).
Was that particular house mere coincidence? It was the providence of God. God will find a person seeking Him, whose heart is tender and ready. God will take a witness, and work in that person’s heart as well. Then He gets the two together.
The Holy Spirit Convicted Rahab
“Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: ‘I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. …And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath’” (Joshua 2:8-9,11).
This woman is under great conviction. How?
The Holy Spirit of God convicts, and He does it through people who are living in victory. Would anybody say to you, “I know there is a God because I can see what He has done for you”?
God’s Word Confirmed Rahab
But people will not be saved apart from the Word of God, no matter how you live. (See Romans 10:17.)
Rahab said to the spies, “‘Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token. …’ So the men answered her, ‘Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours’” (Joshua 2:12,14a).
This was a message from God. “Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?” (James 2:25) Here they are called messengers. They were appointed by providence to bring the Word of God to Rahab.
God’s Grace Cleansed Rahab
The messengers said to Rahab, “So the men said to her: ‘We will be blameless of this oath…unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down’” (Joshua 2:17a,18a).
Not only was Rahab delivered from destruction; the Bible tells us she was justified. (See James 2:25.) That is, she was made pure in the sight of God.
The blood of Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin. (See 1 John 1:7.) If God saved Rahab, He will save you.