ABC Bible Character Faith Series

Faith without Works is dead!

Lessons from Rahab

By faith Rahab, the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” – Hebrews 11:31

In the list of faith heroes, we find a commendation given to Rahab, a harlot and Gentile woman who became an Israelite “by faith”. Rahab’s story is found in Joshua 2 where she is introduced as a harlot that hosted the 2 Israelite spies who were sent to spy out Jericho.

The news got to the king of Jericho at the time that the spies were in Rahab’s house but when asked about it, she denied it. “Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.”  But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.  And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof.” – Joshua 2:3-6

When the pursuers of the spies left, Rahab said to the men what she had heard of God. “Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof 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.” Joshua 2: 8-11. It was clear that the heathen nations had a knowledge of God. Many shared the same conviction that Rahab had but refused to act on it.

Rahab went on to make an oath with them.  “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.” And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” Joshua 2: 12-14

We learn from Rahab that faith without works is dead. (James 2:26). Rahab made an oath to which she had a duty to fulfil. What saved Rahab was her obedience to the messenger’s instructions. “Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household.”……. “And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.” Joshua 2:18, 21

Yes, Rahab was dishonest when asked about the spies and we should note that we do not need to lie because it is not our power that protects but the power of God. She had heathen practices but God met her where she was and still used her. God meets us in our craziness and uses us for greater purposes. Dishonesty had nothing to do with Rahab’s salvation but she was saved because of her faith and obedience to conviction. She believed in God and wanted to be part of that family and hence made the oath which she then fulfilled her part. We also risk having dead works if we obey without real faith.

Be blessed.

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