what do you think?
Rahab’s profession as a prostitute is a bit of a shock, especially when she is honored with being mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy. Are there some people today who, because of their professions or previous actions, are thought unworthy of being lights for God?
List some of these professions on a piece of paper and then number them from worst to not so bad.
Also, check out Ruth, who may have been shunned for her nationality (Ruth 1:22; 4:13); Tamar, who dressed up as a prostitute in order to have an heir to carry on the family name (Genesis 38:24); and Esther, who hid her identity and married a Gentile king (Esther 2:10).
did you know?
Rahab’s profession was a bad one, at least in the Israelite society. Sleeping with a man that was not your husband was a great crime for women; girls who did so were stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:20-24). And if the girl was from a priest’s family the punishment was even worse. Rahab was, of course, a professional prostitute, but she still would have been looked down upon in the Israelite community. It’s rather surprising that under these circumstances Rahab is honored in the Bible when she would have been so looked down upon by that society.
INTO THE STORY
“Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim.”
“So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: ‘Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.’ . . .
“She said, ‘Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.’ (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.)
“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.’
“‘Our lives for your lives!’ the men assured her. ‘If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.’
“So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. . . .
“Now the men had said to her, ‘This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house.’”
“‘Agreed,’ she replied. ‘Let it be as you say.’”
(Joshua 2:1, 3-6, 8-18, 21, NIV)
OUT OF THE STORY
How would you describe Rahab: wise or foolish? smart or stupid? loyal or a traitor? Explain your answers.
What would you have done if you had been Rahab? What would you have done if you were the spies?
List the “out of the ordinary” events that occurred in this story:
How did God honor Rahab for what she did that day? (See Matthew 1:5.)
Why was she honored? (See Hebrews 11:31.)
Of what event in Israel’s history does the scarlet cord remind you? (See Exodus 12:12, 13.)
How are we saved from our “doomed neighborhood”? (See Romans 5:1, 2 .)
“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace” (Hebrews 11:31, NASB).
“In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?” (James 2:25, NASB).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NASB).
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1, 2, NASB).
“Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Galatians 2:16, NASB).
“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th-century U.S. poet.
“Christ came to save all through His own person.”—Irenaeus, 1st-century bishop of Lyons, in his Against Heresies.
“It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.”—Fidelis of Sigmaringen, 15th-century lawyer and philosophy teacher.
Take a look at Rahab’s plea for mercy in Joshua 2:9-13. Rahab’s plea about honoring God and then pleading for her salvation is similar to the prayer of Daniel, when he is pleading for the lives of his people. In fact, this was the way all the Israelites prayed when in need of help. Read Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9; notice how he starts the prayer: by honoring God. List the similarities and differences between Daniel’s plea and Rahab’s (Joshua 2:9-13).
Read the story of Esther (in the book of Esther). Here was another woman who had faith in God. She had no idea what would happen when she went to the king when he had not called her. But she trusted God to take care of it all! Because of her faith, thousands of people were spared, and in Israel today, they still celebrate “Purim,” a day that was turned from sorrowful to joyful; all because Esther and her people had faith.
Is there a situation in your life that you need to go forward in and trust God to take care of it?
In the Flashlight section of this week’s lesson, Ellen White brings an issue to our attention. The Israelite nation as a whole had gone through times when they trusted more in themselves than in God. In fact, their lack of faith in God and their trust in themselves set them back a whole forty years, which they spent wandering around in a dry desert! Some land of milk and honey! The fertile land of Canaan could have been theirs, except for their inability to have faith in God.
Read the story of their misfortune in Numbers 14. What warning can you heed for your life?
In Monday’s lesson Israel’s lack of trust was mentioned. It’s interesting to note that Rahab was saved by her faith in God; quite the opposite from Caleb and Joshua’s generation, who wandered around in the wilderness until they all died. Read the Punch Lines for this week and notice the ones dealing with faith. Which one speaks to you the most?
This week’s lesson is indeed a fascinating one; a bit puzzling, too. Make a list of all the things that are out of the ordinary. Then read the story for yourself! You can find it in Joshua chapters 2 and 6. Look up “Rahab” in Ellen White’s writings and see what else you come up with!
Read Patriarchs and Prophets, chapter 45, “The Fall of Jericho.” In this chapter are described the trials and victories that the Israelites had because of their faith. When they didn’t follow God, and instead followed their own plans, they failed miserably, and lives were lost. But when they trusted in God and had faith in His power as Rahab did, they were victorious! Faith is so crucial in life. You can’t survive without it!
Can you think of circumstances in your life in which you followed your own plan and failed? or when you trusted in God and were victorious?
This week we have been talking a lot about trust, faith, and our salvation by grace through faith. It is God’s grace, and the faith in that grace, that saves us (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Read Romans 5 and see how God saves even the most sinful of sinners if they just believe in Him. Like Rahab, we have the evidence of what God can do if we trust Him, and like her, we ought to give Him a chance.