Rahab – All or Nothing

by Melanie van den Berg

Where are we in the Bible at the time of Rahab?

Moses had died and Joshua has received the commission from God to lead the people of Israel into the long-promised land of Canaan. (40 years of desert time are behind them.)

Now the city of Jericho is to be taken and Joshua sends two spies. Their mission: to explore the situation around Jericho as inconspicuously as possible.

The two spies come to Rahab’s house, a house right on the city wall. Rahab, a prostitute, knows her city and its residents all too well. Jericho is a prosperous city protected by a great wall and the Jordan River all around. Residents who do not fear the God of Israel, but rather put their trust in their prosperity, their environment and themselves.

Rahab was different.

She believed and feared the God of Israel. She also had no doubt that God’s righteous judgment on Canaan would soon come. She had noticed that God stands with His people.

Neither her ancestry nor her lifestyle qualified Rahab for a relationship with God, but still she decides to put everything on one card. A decision for the God of Israel and against her people, her origins and her previous life.

She decides to protect these scouts and says to them:

Joshua 2:11b-13 ”And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”

The king of Jericho gets wind of the whole thing and sends messengers to Rahab’s house. They are misled by Rahab. That’s how she saves the lives of the scouts whom she keeps hidden on her roof.

After making a deal with the scouts, she lets them out of the window on a string. As a sign that her house and all its residents will be spared, she agrees to hang a red crimson string on the window.

Rahab shows her faith in a very practical way. She protects and saves the scouts. She opens her house to her entire family. This way she saves not only herself, but many in her immediate environment from certain death.

Just through her trust in God and her resulting works, her life changes completely.

Hebrews 11:31 “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.”

Do we “just” believe or does our faith also show up in our works?

James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Are we ready to risk everything and bet on one card?

I want to put all my trust in Jesus and hold nothing back, just like Rahab did.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

No matter what background we come from, what experiences we have had in our lives, or what paths we have taken, Jesus can turn every life around 180 degrees – He just needs our trust.

Ephesians 2 8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.“

References: New King James Version (NKJV) Bible www.bibelstudium.de / H. Forbes Witherby + M. Leßmann www.lotanner.com / Alonda Tanner