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The Surprising Faith of Rahab

Joshua: Faith & Fear  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Who was Rahab?

Rahab - was a prostitute in Jericho who managed an inn near the gate of the city of Jericho.
sinner
sinner
She was a prostitute in Jericho who managed an inn near the gate of the city of Jericho
She was a Canaanite, coming from the people that worship the false gods Baal, Asherah, Marduk, and Ishtar.
She lived in a city under condemnation from God (Jericho)
She was living under a period of grace from God (Deuteronomy 7:1-5, 23-24; 12:2-3, )
hearer of the word of God (she calls God, the LORD)
believer of God by faith (, , )
proved her faith by works ()
She cared about the fate of others who were close to her
Delivered from judgment of Jericho
shaking destroyed the city
fire destroyed the remainder
Rahab joined the Hebrew nation through marriage.
Rahab was a prostitute
Let me just speak clearly about the elephant in the room here and say that, while Rahab was a prostitute who managed an inn, the original text states clearly that the spies went to this inn and “lay down” there. There are places in the scripture that “lying down” can speak euphemistically of the act one might undertake here. But we cannot see any indication in the text that the spies went to Rahab’s inn for sexual relations. It is much more likely given the context that the spies entered this inn looking for information and a place to sleep.
There are other places in scripture where poor actions were taken by godly men and God’s punishment was made clear for their sin. But this is not one of those cases.
to lie down for the purpose of resting, to sleep
There are places that this word

I. Her Faith was Courageous (vv 1-7)

There are other places in the Bible where poor actions were taken by godly men, but this is not one of them. The language used here bears no indication that any sexual impropriety took place during these events.

I. Her Faith was Courageous (vv 1-7)

Joshua 2:1–7 NASB95
1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. 2 It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” 3 And the king of Jericho sent word 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 land.” 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5 “It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7 So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.
Rahab, in spite of who she was, saw these spies come into her inn and she did the most curious thing. She decided to help them and protect them when they were in danger. In fact, she took a quite courageous position and protected them by lying to the king’s men, who were there to take the spies in for questioning.
This courage was a surprising act of faith on Rahab’s part.
Rahab’s faith was surprising because of who she was.
Some surprising things about faith:
Faith can show up anywhere, at any time, and in any single person, whether they be faithful or not.
Faith often shows up in the very last place that you might expect it.
But faith is always surprising because it can show up anywhere, at any time, and in any single person, whether they be faithful or not.
PRINCIPLE Faith often shows up in the very last place that you might expect it. And sometimes it fails to show up in the place that you might expect it most.
And sometimes it fails to show up in the place that you might expect it most.
And sometimes it fails to show up in the place that you might expect it most.
We look at this story with human eyes and forget that God is working in this situation. He is drawing the people of Canaan and hoping that they will turn to Him. But they are being resistant and refusing His call.
But just at the right time, God breaks through to this Amorite woman in Jericho and she provides shelter to the Hebrew spies as they enter Jericho in preparation for an attack on the city.
The people of Jericho had heard of the Hebrew people camped out in the wilderness.
Not only did this people know of the Hebrew people, but they knew of their God, the one true God.
They had heard of their miraculous escape from Egypt and how God separated the Red Sea to make a way for them and protected them by allowing the water to cover their attackers.
But instead of this event giving them hope and belief, it filled them with terror.
But Rahab had apparently come to belief in this one true God of Israel. We have no history of how she came to belief, but we can see this belief in action when she protects the spies.

II. Her Faith Took Action (vv 8-11)

Joshua 2:8–11 NASB95
8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10 “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 “When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
Rahab saw an opportunity and she took quick action on behalf of these spies, but more specifically she was making a decision to choose God.
Rahab has just moved from one account of obstruction of justice into aiding and abetting known criminals, not to mention treason against her King and country.
Notice several new things that we just learned about Rahab...
Notice several new things that we just learned about Rahab...
hearer of the word of God (Yahweh)
She called God by His personal name, Yahweh, not some generic title. This indicates an intimate knowledge of God. She had apparently heard of God’s work and become a believer in secret when this opportunity came to her door.
believer of God by faith ()
Rahab is making her faith in God active here.
Romans 10:17 NASB95
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Rahab is also rejecting her own religious traditions here by claiming that the God of the Hebrew spies is greater than those of the Canaanites.
Hebrews 11:31 NASB95
31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
It’s clear to see here that Rahab is acting upon a belief that God is who the Hebrews claimed Him to be and that the impending doom on the city-state of Jericho would indeed happen as she had heard.
proved her faith by works ()
proved her faith by works ()
She cared about the fate of others who were close to her
James 2:14–26 NASB95
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Delivered from judgment of Jericho
Faith in God is nothing without works to back it up.
James 2:25 NASB95
25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
shaking destroyed the city
Faith in God is nothing without works to back it up.
fire destroyed the remainder
Faith in God is nothing without works to back it up.
Rahab joined the Hebrew nation through marriage.
Of course we are saved by our faith in God, but the works are the fruit that we can clearly see on the tree of faith.
PRINCIPLE Faith results in works, not vice versa.
Rahab had clearly been introduced to a saving faith by believing in the one true God.

III. Her Faith was Compassionate (vv 12-14)

Joshua 2:12–14 NASB95
12 “Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13 and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”
She cared about the fate of others who were close to her
Delivered from judgment of Jericho
shaking destroyed the city
Rahab loved her family and remembered them in her bid to save her own life from the invading forces. She negotiated their safety along with her own.
fire destroyed the remainder
Her Faith Established a Covenant...
Rahab joined the Hebrew nation through marriage.
with the spies
with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
covenant - an agreement or contract between two or more parties
It matters not that Rahab’s request might have been seen as bold or opportunistic.
PRINCIPLE Compassion for others makes us bold in our faith.

IV. Her Faith is a Picture of Redemption (vv 15-24)

redemption - being bought, liberated from slavery and set free, it also carries a context of being ransomed
Rahab had clearly been introduced to a saving faith by believing in the one true God.
She believed in God
She turned from her sin and rejected the gods of the Canaanites
She chose to join the Hebrews
Joshua 2:15–24 NASB95
15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. 19 “It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 “But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.” 21 She said, “According to your words, so be it.” So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window. 22 They departed and came to the hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had not found them. 23 Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “Surely the Lord has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.”
Rahab was proposing a coven
Delivered from judgment of Jericho
shaking destroyed the city
fire destroyed the remainder
Rahab joined the Hebrew nation through marriage.

What Happened to Rahab?

Joshua 6:25
Joshua 6:25 NASB95
25 However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
Rahab joined the Hebrew nation through marriage.
Rahab married a Hebrew man named Salmon (Matthew 1:5), and they gave birth to Boaz, who married Ruth. Boaz and Ruth gave birth to Obed, who was the father of Jesse and grandfather to David, the King of Israel. But also we know that Rahab, the Amorite prostitute of Jericho, was a great-grandmother to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and Messiah of the nation of Israel.
Matthew 1:5
Matthew 1:5 NASB95
5 Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.
Hebrews 11:31 NASB95
31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
Hebrews 11:31
Rahab had clearly been introduced to a saving faith by believing in the one true God:
She believed in God
She turned from her sin and rejected the gods of the Canaanites
She chose to join the Hebrews
Her life was completely changed.
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