This post is based on a sermon titled “A Shady Lady With a Bright Testimony” (length 52:26) by Dale Ralph Davis.
The New Testament in Hebrews 11 commends Rahab for her faith. We often overlook that as we focus on her lie (and her line of work, and her scarlet cord).
Why on earth did Rahab hide the Israelite spies? Because God had already been at work in her life long before the spies’ arrival.
Rahab told the truth about God. She heard a testimony (verses 9-10). She formed a conviction about who Yahweh is (verse 11). She sought a refuge from Him (verses 12-13). This is a pattern for saving faith: you hear, form a conviction and seek refuge from God. You have not only the right beliefs, but also act on them.
As a result, in Jericho there was a safety zone in the midst of judgment. Previous examples of such safety zones are found in Noah’s ark and in Goshen during the plagues. These were pointers to Christ’s cross, our place of refuge in the midst of the judgment to come.
If you were to cut out chapter 2 and 6:22-25 out of the book of Joshua, you’d never miss them. The story flows along quite well without those portions. The narrator didn’t have to tell us the story of Rahab; he interrupted his normal programming to tell it to us.
Yes, Rahab the prostitute told a lie and tied a scarlet cord to her window. But she also trusted in a great and merciful God, who is still in the business of saving those who seek refuge in Him.
Addendum: Read A Remarkable Woman for someone else’s opinion 🙂