I chose characters for these devotionals back in summer, but didn’t assign dates to each SO, when I looked at the list this week, I smiled and did a little cheer, thanking God for His providence and foresight. How great that we are examining the life of Rahab now, just a few days before Christmas! What perfect timing. Why, you ask? Let me explain:
#1 – Rahab’s story illustrates God’s love and revelation for Gentiles like us.
Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho, the first city that the Israelites had to conquer as they entered the Promised Land. Joshua sent two men ahead of the army, and Rahab hid them from the authorities. She provided them with more than shelter, however; she also gave them courage by proclaiming her faith in their God:
“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 this land to you 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 …, and what you did to… the two kings of the Amorites… When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.” (Joshua 2:8-11)
She was not a member of God’s chosen people, and yet God revealed himself to her. She somehow understood that the God of the Israelites was the true God AND that He just might protect her too. Others in Jericho recognized God’s power but stood still in fear, Rahab asked for mercy and consequently, “they burned the whole city… But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute… and she lives among the Israelites to this day.” (Joshua 6:24-25)
#2 – Rahab’s story illustrates the depth of healing and wholeness God offers to people.
If her story ended in Joshua 6, we might have imagined that Rahab lived among God’s people but was never fully accepted by them: a foreign prostitute would live forever on the margins of Jewish society, wouldn’t she? Fortunately, her story continues. In Matthew 1:5 we learn that Rahab married Salmon and had a son named Boaz who was the great-grandfather of King David. Every Christmas when we read the genealogy of Jesus Christ, who came from David’s line, we come across her name.
The authors of Hebrews (11:31) and James (2:25) recognize Rahab as an example of true faith and reference her story to encourage others. She was not simply “tolerated” by God; she is healed, restored and accepted by Him. This same God continues to heal and restore today; call upon Him!
#3 – Rahab’s acceptance by God in the Old Testament foreshadows Christ’s acceptance of people in the New Testament.
As you read stories of Jesus over Christmas and throughout the year, take note of who loves Him and who hates Him. He threatens the world of the religious, but the “sinners” cannot stay away. He is called a “friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:24, Luke 19:7) and he accepts all who God draws to him with quiet words: “Your faith has saved you, go in peace” (Luke 7:50), “Neither do I condemn you … Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).
Rahab was an outsider chosen to proclaim truth to those already inside God’s family. If you are outside the faith and “want in”, I hope her story encourages you to pursue a relationship with God and His people. If you are a follower of Jesus, ask Him how you can best follow in His footsteps, extending grace and forgiveness to those whom God brings your way.
This narrative doesn’t have shepherds and angels and a stable, but it is a Christmas story nonetheless.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:14)
Pastor of Women