In my church today, we started a 5-month long study through the book of Joshua which chronicles the entry of the Israelite nation into the land God had promised their ancestors. I’m thrilled beyond words to be studying the Old Testament – I love the Old Testament so much. But I’m particularly excited to be studying Joshua because it’s a book that’s often overlooked. It’s a book rich in symbolism that beautifully showcases God’s grace. My favorite part of the book of Joshua is right at the beginning, when the Israelites are preparing to enter the land of Canaan and they must fight the city of Jericho. Joshua sends some men into the city to spy it out and they are taken in by Rahab, a town prostitute. She shows them kindness by hiding them from the city officials and then sends them out of the city secretly. Before they leave, she tells them that all the city is in dread because they have heard of the awesome deeds of their God. She asks them to remember her kindness and spare her life when they take the city. The spies promise to do so, and to save all who are in her home when they come to take possession. As a sign of her faith in the Israelites, she leaves a scarlet cord hanging out her window to mark her home. Rahab is an amazing woman – she’s my favorite woman in the Bible. She had incredible faith in the God of the Israelites – enough to shelter her town’s enemies and face severe punishment if it was ever found out. Moreover, she had faith to ask something of the Israelites, and of the Israelite’s God, and she expected her request to be fulfilled. The Bible tells us that to please God we must have faith in Him and believe that He rewards those who search after Him (Hebrews 11:6). When Jericho falls, Joshua tells the men who spied out the town to find Rahab and bring her and her family inside the Israelite camp. And there she stayed. We find out later that an Israelite man marries her — and she is the great-grandmother of David, Israel’s greatest king. This is such a beautiful picture of grace. A young Gentile woman with a disreputable past finds a place, a home, a family, a nation – all in the presence of the God she dared to believe. And God honored her greatly for her faith. She is one of four women specifically listed by name in the geneology of Jesus. God chose her to be in the line that gave birth to the Savior of the world. Hebrews 11 is considered to be the “halls of faith” of the Old Testament saints – it lists some of the heroes of God that fought for and believed His promises. Able, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the judges of Israel – all are listed and praised by God for their faith. And Rahab is listed among them: one of two women to be named, and the only Gentile – there she is listed as an honored figure in the history of Israel. Because she had faith, it was counted to her as righteousness, and her life is the beautiful result of what happens when grace and faith collide.
Blessings to you,