Her house was part of the wall surrounding the fortified city. Likely, it was strategically located to capture the attention of travelers entering the town. And no doubt many a story had been told in her house. Stories that likely were embellished from time to time.
You know how it is when stories are passed on. And how much a woman loves a story!
The day the spies entered Jericho, they went directly to her house. It’s as if God sent them there. Joshua 2:1
I marvel in our digital, media age at how news seemed to travel as fast back then, but news came to the King that there were spies and he sent men directly to the place where one would know about men entering the city. To Rahab, the harlot’s house.
Rahab had heard stories about the Israelites and no doubt pondered them enough to be well acquainted with the acts of their Mighty God. Enough to fear Him. And the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10
As a prostitute, in a heathen city, her conscience certainly would have been dull, and she likely had practice hiding men under the flax on her roof before. Perhaps men pursued by enemies . . . or maybe their wives’ fathers.
“Jericho was part of the Amorite kingdom, a grotesquely violent, totally depraved, thoroughly pagan culture so hell-bent on the pursuit of everything evil that God Himself had condemned them and ordered the Israelites to wipe them from the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 20:17) In fact, the Amorite culture had been so completely and maliciously corrupt for so long that their evil lifestyle was the very reason God had granted Abraham and his heirs rights to their land int he first place. (Deut. 18:12; 1 Kings 21:26). The Lord had promised Abraham that his descendants would begin to possess the land as soon as the wickedness of the Amorite culture was complete (Genesis 15:16) That time had now come. This evil nation had reached God’s maximum tolerance level.” John MacArthur (Twelve Extraordinary Women)
The King’s men inquired after the spies, and Rahab lied to them, saying they had left the city, “They went that-a-way!” and she shooed them along.
In conversation in my classroom Sunday, we decided that Rahab (or anyone overseeing a business such as hers) had to have a measure of boldness. My mind wanders to ‘wild-west’ movies . . . so the boldness of her words to the spies was likely characteristic of her and ultimately a gift from God. Look at Joshua 2:8-14 with me and notice two things. God encouraging Israel through her, and notice not only Rahab’s boldness, but the boldness of her request when you consider her career: (Highlights mine)
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
“Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.” Joshua 2:8-13
So the spies told her that she and all who came in to her house would be spared as long as she hung a scarlet cord in the window, which she did, and as the walls fell, true to their promise, she and her household were saved.
Not only saved, but went on to be fruitful as a “mother” our faith-history. Rahab is noted in the gospel of Matthew in the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew 1:5-6 And again, as one honored for her faith in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25.
She left her people and joined with God’s people. It was Rahab’s “come to Jesus moment”.
Just as Jesus calls us to leave our old life of sin. (John 8:11; Luke 9:62; )This was the moment of turning TO God for Rahab. This was the moment of her salvation, and all who came with her.
“Rahab was, and is still, a living symbol of the transforming effect of saving faith. That is the primary message of her life.” John MacArthur (Twelve Extraordinary Women)
She displays the stunning grace of God in all it’s glory. Rahab is EXTRAORDINARY precisely because of the grace she received. And she is a portrait to us of the length Christ goes to redeem even the vilest of sinners who turn to Him in faith.
Limitless, lavish love and forgiveness is demonstrated to all of us through Rahab’s story. How does your story demonstrate His lavish, amazing grace?