A Look at the Magnificent Faith of Rahab Part 2

“and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 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 devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” Joshua 2:9-13

The sparing of Rahab, a prostitute, and her inclusion in the Messianic line (Matthew1:5) showcases God’s amazing grace extended to people of all nationalities even in the Old Testament. Not only was she a Gentile, but she was a woman of ill repute in society. The principle that pervades is that although God judges sin, He is gracious to those who come to Him in faith, in it we see the mercy of God toward not only Israel but to the Gentiles too.[1] Rahab introduces the concept that the faith of a pagan woman.  In the story of Rahab, we begin to see the mystery of salvation to the Gentiles as well as the Jews who would reject the Messiah.  Arthur Pink speaks to the purpose of Rahab, “In God’s saving of Rahab and bringing her into the congregation of His people, we may perceive a clear and glorious foreshadowing of the fuller scope of His eternal purpose as it is now more plainly manifest in this N.T. era.  Since Rahab was a Canaanite, she was by nature cut off from the Abrahamic stock and therefore a ‘stranger to the covenants of promise.’ (Eph 2:12).  By her conversion and admission into the congregation of Israel, she was obviously both a type and a pledge of the calling off the Gentiles and tier reception into the mystical Body of Christ.”[2]

Moreover, we see that the purpose of God has always been for those outside of Israel too—for the Lord’s people to lead others to Himself.[3] The genealogy recorded in Matthew includes Rahab among four women.[4]  Rahab and one other being Canaanite, a Moabite (Ruth), and a Hittite (Bathsheba).[5]  In all of these, we see God use them to gloriously display the principle of the sovereign grace of God in the way He delights in using foreign and disreputable women to accomplish His eternal purpose.[6]

All New Testament inspired Scriptures—Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25, and Matthew 1:5 references of Rahab speak very positively of her.  God confirms His claim of Rahab in the New Testament’s mention of her great faith.  Rahab was a model of faith, although she was not only a Gentile but also a Canaanite of the Amorites whom God had marked for destruction from the beginning (Gen 15:16).[7]  She was a biblical heroine even though at one point she had been in the business of prostitution and a part of a society that put live babies in jars and build them into their city walls as foundation sacrifices.[8]

However, after her conversion, Rahab could never go back to being the same immoral woman she was before.  She was now a daughter of the King that would be a part of His chosen people and even help bring forth the promised Seed,  “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” Col 3:10.  A transformation happened in her heart by the power of God.  What an encouragement for us to pray and show compassion toward the lost from all walks of life in this wicked world.  Salvation is for people of every race—that together we would be a part of one family that is forged by the blood of Christ.

 

[1] Klassen, Mark J.H. “A Reading of the Rahab Narrative (Joshua 2:1-24) Based on a Text-linguistic and Narrative Analysis.”  (Theological Research Exchange Network TREN ID# 048-0218), 11.

[2] Pink, Arthur W. Gleanings in Joshua.  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1964), 62.

[3] Firth, David G., The Message of Joshua: Promise and People.  (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2015), 50.

[4] Merrill, Eugene H. Kingdom of Priests. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008), 206.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Merrill, Eugene H. Kingdom of Priests. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008), 206.

[7] MacArthur, John.  The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Hebrews. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983), 364.

[8] Ibid.