2 May 2021
Rahab in Joshua 2 – Harlot to Heroine!
What if I stumble, what if I fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl? What if I stumble, and what if I fall?
What if I get drunk? What if lie? What if hurt someone? What if cheat on someone? What if I really mess up? Can I be forgiven? Can God still use me?
We've all done things we're not proud of whether we have lied, cheated, stole, dishonoured our parents or committed some sexual sin. All of us at some point have messed up.
Sometimes we've messed up so bad we think there is no hope.
Maybe we have allowed people to label us or we have labeled ourselves - Lionel the liar, Cheryl the cheat, Terry the thief, Abigail the adulterer, Rahab the prostitute.
Whenever Rahab is mentioned in the Bible it is Rahab the prostitute. In fact in Joshua 6.22 she is simply called the prostitute - no need for first name terms. Joshuas says Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out. Everyone knew who Joshua was referring too. Rahab had a reputation.
Rahab was known for one thing and it wasn't her cooking. She lived in Jericho’s red light district. She was a popular woman for travellers and locals alike. Rahab's Triple XXX venue was also possibly a hotel or inn. Not the kind of one you would stay in with your kids though.
If you were going to pick a hero or heroin for a Bible story you probably wouldn't look in a Brothel. Why the Israeli spies decided to visit Hotel Rahab we don't really know. There is no evidence from the text that they were there for immoral purposes. Otherwise the text would have said something like “They went in to Rahab the prostitute’ without mentioning ‘the house of’. We can thus safely assume that they chose the house as a place where would would not be obviously noticeable.
Another possible reason for their choice of residence is that an inn, hotel, or bar or is a good place pick up the latest gossip which would have been helpful to spies. But the kings secret service soon realized they weren't locals so alerted the King.
- So what were the spies doing in Jericho in the first place? Moses had lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Wilderness and then onto Moab just by the Jordan River.
- Moses died and was succeeded by Joshua the new leader of Israel.
- Before they crossed the Jordan to enter the promised land Joshua sent spies to Jericho to do some reconnaissance.
- The spies had just unpacked their bags when there is a knock on the door. It's the old bill trying to take the spies to the king.
- Rahab is faced with a choice. Does she obey king and country or is there something else she must do?
- She hides the spies & tells the messengers that the spies have gone. She then helps the spies escape.
- Why would she do this? Why would she betray her country? Her king?
- Rahab realised that there was a higher power greater than the king, who was worthy of her worship and devotion.
- In verses 8-11 She recognises that the Lord is the God of the whole universe - his fame had spread to Jericho, maybe she had picked this up from travellers who has stayed at her hotel.
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
- God had helped his people escape Egypt. Rahab had heard about the things God had done for Israel; how He'd turned the Red Sea to a red carpet, converted rocks into drinking fountains, made breakfast for them every morning in the wilderness, and dried up the waters of the Jordan River.
- Where Rahab lived, no one believed in God, and for a long time Rahab just went with the flow, not stopping and thinking for herself, never questioning what was best - she just tried to fit in.
- But then she did one very courageous thing:
- she stood up for what was right and put her trust in God, completely.
- Rahab may not have been wise when it came to her body, but she was wiser than everybody else in town when it came to her soul. She wasn't about to fight God - she knew that was a fight you can't win! For her the path to victory was surrender! She knew she had to change allegiance. Rahab knew there was only one side worth being on - the Lords!
- Add personal story? I’ve never had to hide spies but sometimes God has put me in situations where I’ve had to choose to do the right thing for him even though it might be costly. E.g.
- V12 in return for her good deeds Rahab asks the spies to spare the lives of her family and her when they conquer Jericho - which they do in Chapter 6! Rahab was an ancestor of King David and Jesus see Matthew 1 for the full genealogy. She helped to give birth to a royal family.
Rahab the harlot became Rahab the heroin.
Rahab the whore became Rahab woman of faith.
Rahab the prostitute became Rahab the person of peace.
What does this tell us about God? He is at work in people's lives long before ever talk to them about him. So when we are trying to make disciples – lets not limit who God wants us to reach. He maybe working in their hearts and we don’t realise it!
In fact if you look at Jesus he made a special effort to welcome those who others had written off:
Jesus – welcome people who were outcasts e.g. Prostitutes & Tax collectors, poor & downtrodden
- Mark 14.3-9 it was a prostitute who anointed his feet and kissed his head
- Matt 21.28-32 Jesus said to Pharasees religious rulers, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
If Jesus was hanging out in London today aiming to recruit new disciples to follow him where would he be? The church? The pub? The Betting shops? The brothels?
God chose Rahab to protect his Spies, marry into the royal line and be one of the few women to appear in the famous heroes of the faith from Hebrews 11
Hebrews.11.30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
Rahab had faith in God and she chose to follow him above all others.
The Bible says that ‘faith comes by hearing’. Rahab hard head and believed. What’s more her that was not just a verbal confession. It was combined with action, and risky action at that. If was faith she was willing to die for. If the spies had been found in her house she would have gone straight to the gallows! But because of her faith in God Rahab was willing to take the risk.
What does this passage say about us? Well it gives us hope when we mess up. When we stumble, when we fall. Rahab had fallen pretty far. You couldn't really pick a worse occupation other than maybe assassin or traffic warden.
The story of Rahab shows us how willing God is to us the less than perfect, the outcast, what we might see as the unsuitable to accomplish his holy purposes. Throughout scripture God chooses the weak - Moses: a stutterer & murderer to speak for Him, Gideon, a weakling to defend him. Sarah, an infertile woman to be the mother of a nation. David , a forgettable youngest son to be the most unforgettable king of his people, Mary - an unknown youngster to be the mother of his son, and Paul - a persecutor and enemy of Christians to take the gospel to the nations.
God doesn’t want us to first become spotlessly clean or totally mature in our faith in order to use us. Instead, he invites us to come as we are, warts and all.
He takes ordinary willing people, like you and me, and accomplishes the extraordinary, both in our lives and those around us. Just as he did with Rahab, God promises to use us and through that experience to perfect us.
Jesus says you only need faith as small as a mustard seed to move a mountain. So hoowever small your faith feels, however weak and feeble we might be right now, - that is good enough for God, because it's all about Gods grace and Gods strength.
Paul wrote these words in 2 Corinthians 12.10 ‘When I am weak, then I am strong.’ When we realise that we are not perfect and need God’s help that is when God can really use us.
God can use people who are foolish, weak, despised, nobodies… Failures… Ordinary people… Average people…
God chooses people like Rahab, people like you and me.
God has put you on your street for a reason. God has put you in your school or work for a reason. God has put you in your family for a reason.
You may be the only Christian people know. You may be the only chance people get to hear about Jesus.
God has put you at this church for a reason. God has put you in a small group or ministry team for a reason.
All of us are uniquely gifted and God wants to use us all!!
Christ still wants the Christless ones… the unloved, the unlovely… the foolish, the despised, the derelict, the drunkards, the unwanted, the unworthy, the Rahabs – to come to Him. Christ still wants to enter into the broken homes and into the broken hearts. He longs to…
Sure, you’re not perfect and neither am I.
But God can still use us! When we feel inadequate & unworthy, God can truly use us
If you have messed up and want a fresh start with with Jesus it really simple. You just need to say 3 words - Sorry Thank you and Please.
If you say sorry to God for your sins, thank you to Jesus for dying for you and say to the Holy Spirit to please come into your life the slate will be wiped clean.
You can begin again but this time you will have God’s Holy Spirit helping you along the way!
We are going to have a time now of quite prayer. In your own words, where you are if you need to do business with God talk to him. Whether you have messed up yourself or long for God to help you bring hope to others.
If you want to say the words Sorry Thank you and please then feel free. If you just want to be still and know God do that. Use this time to respond to God’s amazing love for you.
Let us pray now in the quiet…..