Week 3 – Rahab
Apologies, unfortunately there isn’t a sermon recording from Sunday, June 17, at Downtown, so you won’t see it posted above or in our podcast this week.
By the time we get to the second chapter of Joshua, the people of Israel have been wandering in the desert for 40 years and are finally about to take hold of the land God had promised them. Unfortunately, that land was already occupied, so the Israelite leader Joshua sent spies into the land to scout out how best to conquer it. These spies almost got caught in the major city of Jericho, and looking for a place to hide they ended up at the house of a prostitute named Rahab. They explain their situation to her and ask her to hide them. And she agreed.
Now, when the Bible talks about Rahab, it doesn’t shy away from her former life as a prostitute. Almost every time she’s mentioned she’s referred to as “Rahab the prostitute.” At first glance you might think scripture is just slut shaming her. And yet scripture praises Rahab over and over, in Joshua 6:25, Hebrews 11:31, and James 2:25. It praises Rahab, not because she left behind her prostitution, or because she submitted to the conquering Israel, but because of her faith in God and the response of her faith in hiding the spies. More importantly, scripture records Rahab in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:5 as the great-great-great-grandmother of Jesus, and fittingly that’s the only place in scripture she isn’t referred to as “Rahab the prostitute.” Like other scriptural characters, God used Rahab as a human object lesson of grace, showing us that we’re saved by grace alone through faith in the power of God to save, and revealing God’s overwhelming grace towards broken people, a grace that adopts people like Rahab into God’s family.
Questions for Discussion
• Let’s look at Joshua 2:1-11
• Glance back through Joshua chapter 1. What’s the context of Rahab’s story?
• Why do you think Rahab risked her life for these spies?
• How can we make sense of Rahab’s faith and her life practicing prostitution?
• Turn to Matthew 1:5, Jesus’ genealogy. What can Rahab’s inclusion here tell us about God?
• How can Rahab’s story relate to us today?