Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rahab


Women of Israel's Heroic Years
Rahab

Rahab: Woman of faith who aided Joshua's army.

Key Scripture: Joshua 2:1-21; 6:17-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11;31; James 2:25.

Her Name Means: "Storm" Arrogance," "Broad," or "Spacious."

Her Character: Rahab was both clever and wise and had great faith in God.

Her Strengths: Rahab was loyal to Israel and faithful to her word.

Her Weakness: She was a prostitute.

Her Sorrow: To see her own people destroyed and her city demolished.

Her Joy: That God had given her, as idolater and prostitute, the opportunity to know Him and belong to His people.

Pre Story: The Jews finally entered the Promised Land of Canaan after wandering 40 years in the desert. Moses had died and they were now led by Joshua, a mighty warrior. Jericho was the worst of the cities of the Amorites, thus God commanded Joshua to destroy both the city and the inhabitants. By divine decree.

"Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, including Jericho." (Joshua 2:1a)

Her Story: Rahab’s parents, brothers and sisters were alive at the time of her association with the spies Joshua sent out. She heard about the God of Israel and recognized him as the true God, the One worth risking her life for. She saw judgment coming and was able to devise an escape plan for herself and her family.

Rahab ran an inn built on the Jericho city wall. The house was built against the town wall with the roof almost level with the ramparts, and with a stairway leading up to a flat roof that appears to be a continuation of the wall. Thus, the people of Jericho knew all about the men who entered and left such a disreputable house. It was from some of the travelers Rahab entertained, that she came to learn the facts of the Exodus of Israel.

When two spies from Joshua sought cover in Rahab's house. She soon realized that these two men were different from other men who came seeking her favors. These were men of God, not idolaters. She pleaded for her life and for the lives of her family members. She made an oath with them. She would keep silent about their mission and the Israelites would spare everyone in her household when they invaded the city.

Rahab, although her safety and patriotism as an Amorite would be assured if she informed against the spies, set out to hide the spies. Seeing their hunted and dreaded look, Rahab assuredly said, “Fear not, I will not betray you nor your leader. Follow me,” and taking them up to the flat roof of her house, bade the men cover themselves completely with a pile of flax lying there to dry.

Rahab was to hang a scarlet cord from her window as a sign, so the Jews could find and protect her. That red token at the window was likewise a signal to the outside world that Rahab believed in the ultimate triumph of Jehovah.

When the king of Jericho learned the men had been to Rahab's house, he sent orders for her to turn them over. Rahab lied to the king's soldiers concerning the whereabouts of the spies, and sent them off in the opposite direction.

By the faith Rahab and many others, the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. Rahab and her whole family were preserved according to the promise of the spies, and were incorporated among the Jewish people.

Her Place in God's Divine Plan: Although Rahab was a harlot, intuition from above had been given her that the spies were men of God, the forerunners of His people who were to execute His will, and that to take sides with them was to take sides with God Himself.

Her Challenges Along the Way: When Rahab hid the spies, put those who sought them on a false trail and helped the spies to escape and melt away into the shadows of night, she took her life in her own hands.

Lesson We Can Learn from Her Legacy: The story of Rahab reveals again God's willingness to use the less than perfect, the outcast, what we might see as the unsuitable to accomplish His holy purposes. As with Rahab, God promises to use us, and through our experiences to perfect us.

Do we make Rahab’s prayer for the salvation of her family, the cry for our own homes? Is ours the same passionate supplication for all of our dear ones that when death strikes they may be found sheltered by the atoning blood of the Redeemer? 

Paul highly commends Rahab for her faith and gives her a place on the illustrious roll of the Old Testament of those who triumphed by faith. “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31). The declaration of faith given by this Canaanite woman places her in a unique position among the women of the Bible.

Genealogy:
Hometown: Jericho.
Born: 1214 BC
Died: 1114 BC
Spouse: Salmon
Children: Son: Boaz. (married Ruth) Great grandson: King David. Ancestor of: Jesus Christ
Occupation: Prostitute, innkeeper, wife.

*According to the Book of Joshua, the Battle of Jericho was the first battle of the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan. According to Joshua 6:1-27, the walls of Jericho fell after Joshua's Israelite army marched around the city walls, blowing their trumpets, once every day for seven days with the priests and the Ark of the Covenant. It was during this siege that Rahab's story unfolded.

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