I don’t like bad people. Do you? Murderers and rapists are bad people! Terrorists are definitely bad. So are prostitutes!
So, why? Rahab? Huh!
With all the names of the good people, the patriarchs, and the heroes of our faith, we find the tarnished name of Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute. In the annals of the good and faithful, the Hall of Faith, we read, “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” (Hebrews 11:31, ESV)
Rahab’s story is recorded in the Book of Joshua, but the story started forty years earlier when God had miraculously parted the waters of the Red Sea for His Chosen People. In the Arabian Peninsula’s desert wilderness, God had orchestrated Israel’s victory over her enemies. The reports concerning those epic events spread. The stories of God’s power and His abiding presence with His people were told and retold until they reached the ears of those living in Jericho. (Joshua 2:10)
When Joshua’s two scouts arrived in Jericho, Rahab harbored them in her home. She said, “when we heard this (the accounts of a living God), we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.” (Joshua 2:11, CSB)
The citizens of Jericho feared a foreign God, but their hearts remained stone-cold.
Rahab, a prostitute, heard the message of God’s greatness, and her heart was forever changed. She acknowledged that “God is God!” The New Testament writer, James, says that Rahab was similar to Abraham. He believed God, and “it was credited to him as righteousness.” James goes on to say that Rahab demonstrated her heart-changing faith by serving God and caring for the spies. (James 2:23-25)
Rahab’s story screams, GRACE!
God miraculously moved in the heart of a prostitute... a bad person. The God of Grace renewed her dead heart. Rahab was made new. She was grafted into the Israelite nation and marched with the conquering nation under Joshua’s leadership.
It was happy-ever-after! Rahab married a Jewish fella named Salmon, and they had a son named Boaz. Boaz married a Moabite girl named Ruth. Boaz and Ruth had a grandson named Jesse, who had a son named David. Rahab, once a bad person, became a revered princess in the lineage of David, and of course, the lineage of Jesus! (Matthew 1:5)
Shame on me! I look down my self-righteous nose at bad people. God, stoops down, and graciously touches the hearts of bad people ... like me.