Rahab

Issue 17  // 

Her heart was beating furiously. She tried her best to remain calm. The king himself had sent a message to her that his men were coming. The king? Sending his men? To her inn? She was proud of her inn in the city wall. She saw all who came into the city and all who went out, and some of them would spend the night at her inn. And some … did more than spend a night. But why would the king have any business with her — a prostitute and innkeeper? The message was clear. The two new guests were spies, and she was to turn them over.

She didn’t have a moment to lose; she knew she had to act quickly and courageously. She called the two men to follow her up to the roof, where she hid them under the stalks of flax she had laid out. When the king’s men came charging in, she bought more time by sending them on a wild goose chase. Neither the fear of treason nor even death could deter her from hiding these men of Israel. She knew what was at stake — her life and the lives of her entire family. But she had heard of the God of Israel and the things that He had done for His people — rescuing them from slavery in Egypt and miraculously parting the Red Sea. Faith bloomed in her heart — this God whom the Israelites worshipped was certainly the only true God. She knew that she was a foreigner to them, an outsider. Yet she chose to place all of her hope on this God to free her from the chains of her own life.

When all was quiet, she went up to speak to the spies: “I know that the Lord has given this land to you. Everyone in our country is filled with great fear because of you and what we have heard of what God has done for you.” She concluded firmly: “For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Jos 2:9-11). She knew that the people of her city stood no chance against the all-conquering Israelites and their God. She realised that the only way to survive the imminent destruction was to risk her life first by hiding the spies. The great gamble paid off. The spies agreed to protect her and her family in exchange for her help. She had secured the safety of her entire family!

On the day Jericho fell, only one house was left standing, with a scarlet cord hanging from a window — Rahab’s inn. Her act of faith saved her life and the lives of her family. It was God’s plan for Rahab to be a part of His great purposes for His Kingdom. Her unwavering faith and wise action to protect the spies gave Israel courage to conquer the land. God honoured her faith and by His grace, He redeemed her past and gave her a new life.

Commended as one with exemplary faith (Heb 11:31; Jas 2:25), she became a matriarch in the lineage of King David and Jesus Christ (Matt 1:5)! Also, as the first non-Israelite (or ‘Gentile’) worshipper of God, Rahab points us to the great plan of God fulfilled through Jesus Christ to include ‘outsiders’ as God’s people (Rom 11, Eph 2:11–22), by their faith in Him (Rom 5:1; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8–9).

Many times, we may doubt ourselves and feel that our faith is insignificant. But Rahab’s story directs us to have the audacity to hope in God whose scandalous grace is for everyone who chooses to turn away from sin, believe in Jesus Christ, and follow Him.

Kim Eun Hee
Eun Hee, 27, currently resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where she serves in missions. She longs to live an obedient life (but is definitely still a work in progress!).