In a day where sex is prevalent and flaunted everywhere; where porn is a simple click away on the internet and more and more couples are choosing to live together without a marriage license, Rahab occupation may not shock us much. Although, some commentators go so far as to deny it and claim she was only an inn keeper, God Word tells us plainly, ( Joshua 2:1; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25) therefore we need to believe it. There’s just no getting around it, Rahab was a harlot, a prostitute, a whore living in Jericho, a land the LORD promised to Israel with a people God abhorred (Lev 20:23).
The Canaanites came from Noah’s son Ham. Notice here:
“ When he [Noah] drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said,” Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” Genesis 9:21-25
It was apparently all down hill for Canaan from there. Though the Canaanites grew fruitful and prosperous, so did their sins. To the point where they would have orgies as an act of worship to their gods and even went so far as to bury their babies alive at times! They were “abhorred” by God and He wanted them to be utterly destroyed and Israel to inherit all their lands. Imagine Rahab being looked down upon by such a group as this because of her profession. Even the men, who flock to her door at night, ignored her by day.
As I was studying Rahab this week, my thoughts turned to another woman we’ve studied recently, Lot’s wife. I’m sure both women were very desirable, if Lot chose his wife the same way he chose his lands to live on. Both knew the place they called home were about to be destroyed, but that’s pretty much where the comparisons end.
Lot’s wife was a member of the upper class and Rahab the lowest. Lot’s wife was a wife and mother, a desirable position; Rahab had many men, but no one to call her own. Lot’s wife looked back and lost her life; Rahab walked out of the rubble and never looked back, but embraced a new life with Yahweh.
Rahab placed all her faith in the mercy of a God she had only heard of, and obediently hung a scarlet cord from her window as a symbol of her faith that God would keep those in her household safe from the pending destruction. How could she be so sure that a holy God would have mercy on one such as she? I was instantly reminded of the nation of Israel marking their doorposts with the blood of a lamb as an act of obedience and faith that this same God would keep the inhabitants safe inside as the death angel passed by.
But this same God did so much more than simply spare Rahab and her family. He caused a prince among Judah to fall in love with her and make her his wife, thereby making her a princess among this new people and honored her even further by including her in the linage of our Savior. (Matthew 1:5)
Reflecting on the fact that Lot’s wife desired to hang unto her old life and lost it, and Rahab gave up everything from her past life to embrace a new life, and a new faith in a loving God caused me to think of Jesus’ words in Luke.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” Luke 9:24
Rehab offers us a wonderful picture of God’s amazing grace, for she came to Him with nothing to offer Him, but her faith. She proves we are loved and accepted unconditionally without ever having to be found worthy enough. I’m sure, if she could, she would tell us to leave all that holds us back from being wholly His and embrace a new life totally surrendered to His will and His way and we will be overwhelmed by the new life He gives us!
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