Women of Faith experience God’s provision. This is my favorite part of Rahab’s story! Rahab was a nobody, and she was a nobody with a history. She was a prostitute, and everyone knew it. She lived in the wrong part of town, had no status, and nobody cared about her. She was a former pagan from a city that God allowed to be completely destroyed, a city that He used to show His mighty power in defense of His chosen people, a city that would stand as an example throughout time of God’s power over even the strongest human endeavors.
Rahab did no great act to show her faith, she did something that was hard and most defiantly risky but certainly nothing miraculous. She was an ordinary woman, caught up in ordinary every-day life, doing nothing unusual when God chose to include her in His plan. Yet! God used her mightily! He singled Rahab out, from a city where many other women could have been chosen instead. Women with better, less messy histories. Women with more courage. Women with more status. But God chose Rahab. He reached down, chose her, and He saved her! Here is what happened next:
When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel. Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD’s house. But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
Excavations at Jericho show that the walls did indeed fall…outward! This is important, because Jericho had been build with a steep glacis around it, a ramp of smooth rock and earth that was hard to climb up. Above the ramp was the first wall, then Rahab’s neighborhood, and a second wall around the inner city. Had the walls fallen inward, it would have still been hard for the Israelites to make it into Jericho…but when the walls fell outward, it created a stone ramp that allowed the army to simply climb up into the city.
Where was Rahab? Huddled there behind her scarlet cord with her family around her, she had a front row seat to the army marching around the city seven times. How could marching cause the walls to fall? What was this God doing? What a week that must have been.
And then…the walls fell. But archaeologists at Jericho have found something interesting…a part of the North wall of the city, where from Biblical account we can assume Rahab lived, still stands! Can you imagine? How must she have felt, amid the noise and dust and fear, there in the one part of the wall still standing when she realized that God had saved her?
Then, in an act that says such profound things about God’s heart, Rahab was placed in the chain of lives that is part of the ancestry of Jesus himself! God chose Rahab to be in the bloodline of the King of Kings, the Messiah, the only Son of God. She had no Hebrew roots, God adopted her and made her just as Hebrew as Abraham and Moses. Rahab had a terrible past, God washed that away and saw her as worthy to be the great-great grandmother of King David himself, and the great-grandmother (about 35 greats removed) of Jesus Christ! What does that say about God? I think God wants to be sure that we know that it is by faith and faith alone…not by works and not by heritage and not by any other means…that we are saved.
What does this say about you?
Hebrews 11:31 says that “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.”
Ephesians 2:8 tells us: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.
Some of us are carrying deep scars from our past. Some of us feel like we are inferior because we come from a faith background that is full of guilt, or lies. Some of us struggle because we are new at this, and come from a place of no faith at all. Maybe you feel like your gifts are too small to be of any use to God, or your faith is too weak. But God used Rahab in the mighty way He did to tell us something: We are each precious, worthy, and valuable to Him! God loves us and He can use us just as mightily no matter what our past looks like and no matter what our feelings of courage happen to be right now.
God is a God who adopts us and forgets our prior bloodline, a God who forgives us and forgets our prior sin, a God who uses us despite our weak flesh and failing courage…if we give him just the tiniest thread of faith.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “A red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break”. From a Christian perspective, the legend of the red thread means so much more. It means that as believers, our lives are connected for all eternity by a scarlet cord of faith, that we are adopted into the same family as all the women of the Bible, the family of Rahab, the family of Jesus Himself! It means that we are loved in a way that makes our past completely forgiven and our future as precious daughters of God assured.
This kind of love is not just a promise, not just a comfort to fall back on. This kind of love is a call to action! If God loves us in this way, we are called to do the same for others. Knowing God’s heart for us and the amazing love He bears for us…despite who and what we once were…what can you do in response to His call to love others in the same way?
Here are some resources of you’d like to know more about Jericho:
watch Jericho Unearthed at ExpeditionBible.com
The Walls of Jericho at Biblearcheology.org
The Story of Rahab at Oxfordbiblechurch.co.uk
More on the Walls at israel-a-history-of.com
The Walls of Jericho at Biblearcheology.org