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An Unexpected Hero: Rahab

By Hannah Brzozowski

One thing I love about the Bible is the unexpected. God is constantly deciding to use those whom society has pushed aside. So he uses murders, cheaters, people with tempers, gossips, doubters, worriers, and the list goes on and on.

I don't think this is an accident. I believe that God uses those on the outside to show how upside-down his way of doing things is. If we look at the sermon on the mount, Jesus does the same thing. He said, "Love your enemies" and "Blessed are the poor." Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes, the "big time" sinners of the day.

One hero I'd like to take some extra time looking at today is Rahab.

When we first meet Rahab in Joshua 2, we see that she is a sex worker in the city of Jericho. The Israelites were about to conquer the city and wanted to get some intel. So, some spies from God's people (the Israelites) come and go into her house. Why? Were they looking to get lucky? I don't think so. They went to her house because she had the reputation of men coming and going...a lot. So, they wouldn't stand out as much if they went there.

Word got out that the men had gone into her home and the King asked her about it. By this point, she actually hid the men on her roof and she proceeds to lie to the king of her city. Not only that, she sends the army on a wild goose chase after the men outside of the city. If it wasn't for her, the spies would have most certainly been killed by the king.

She doesn't stop there. She was smart and saw an opportunity.

You see in those days, conquering happened... a lot. And if you weren't on the winning side, it wasn't pretty. There was a lot (and I mean a lot) of death. (If you'd like to know more about this, you can check out my blog on it.)

Rahab knew that this was her time to save her family. She tells the spies that they should allow her and her whole family to live because she saved them.

She also says this: "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."

What did all of this mean? She had heard of God's reputation for taking care of his people and she wanted to be a part of that people.

The spies and her "shake on it," and her entire family is spared when the Israelites eventually take over the city.

Now, the story doesn't just stop there.

There are two books of the Bible that are named after women: Ruth and Esther. Ruth is the one we're going to focus on now. (You can read our blog focused totally on Ruth here.)

The book of Ruth is a love story. It starts out with an Israelite family moving away because of a famine. The sons in the family marry foreign women and one of the women is Ruth. The men all die (the book doesn't start out very happy). She then moves back to her husband's land with her mother-in-law, even though most people would have just stayed in their own country.

Now, at this point, she is a foreigner in her dead husband's land. She is an outsider and a window. She is an unexpected person for God to use. She catches the eye of a man named Boaz, a wealthy businessman. They fall in love and he marries her, thus saving her from a life of poverty.

At the end of the book, we see in Ruth 4, that Boaz's father was Salmon. Salmon was married to... you guessed it! Rahab!

Sometimes, it's good to imagine what happened behind the scenes in the Bible. The parts that you don't know exactly what happened.

This is what I imagined happened. As he was growing up, Boaz saw how his mother was treated, as an outsider and as a former prostitute. He saw the judgmental looks and the shame that she had.

When he saw Ruth, in his field that day, he knew that she was an outsider. He knew what it was like to be seen as less than and he saw past that. He saw Ruth's faith. Just like God saw Rahab's faith.

And, I can imagine the introduction of Ruth to her mother-in-law, Rahab. Imagine the conversations they would have as women, on the outside, unexpectedly used by God.

You see, Rahab was the great, great grandmother of David (You know from David and Goliath) and the great, great, great.... great grandmother of Jesus, himself. She is one of the few women mentioned in the geology of Christ in Matthew 1:5, alongside her daughter-in-law, Ruth!

Then, for the cherry on top, we see in Hebrews 11:31: "By faith, the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient." She is listed alongside Abraham and Noah, as someone who had great faith.

So, you see if God can use Rahab to use such an impact in this world, he can use you too.

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