New Faith – Strong and Working

Joshua 2:8-14
Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign 13 that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

One must admire a no nonsense, take-charge kind of woman like Rahab. She has already proven herself to be strong and independent (and willing to tell a little lie) to save the lives of Joshua’s two spies. In defiance of her king, she hides the two men on her roof-top and now she goes up there to strike a bargain with them. Her words tell us volumes about this woman.

She begins her words to these men with her own personal confession of faith. “I know that the Lord . . .” That sounds strikingly similar to the words we begin our statement of faith with, “I believe in God the Father Almighty . . .“ We don’t know where she learned the name of God, but she uses “Yahweh” here like she knows Him personally and expresses a faith in Him that speaks of faith. She admits to the spies that all of Jericho stands in fear of God’s people, for their reputation precedes them. The people of Jericho know the stories of the escape from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, and their dealings with other kings along the way. For her, those things add up to a saving faith.

We know that Rahab does indeed have God-given faith, for her reputation continues throughout the Scriptures. And not her reputation as a prostitute, but as a woman who believed on God for her salvation. She is listed among the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 and is credited with a faith that is alive because she let it show by her works.

Hebrews 11:31
By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

James 2:25-26
25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Not only does she display a great faith, but is moved to join the Hebrews as a convert and as such, becomes one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:5-6
and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

It is always a miracle of the Spirit when formerly dead unbelievers quote Scripture in living faith. I cannot help but wonder about those two spies. It’s possible they were the ones who explained the faith to her, although the text is silent about that, so – just speculation. Those two men had to be grateful to God for her assistance, making their escape possible. In the end, we are allowed to see God working out His plan by giving faith to a pagan sinner and incorporating her into His kingdom.