Study 2 THE REFUGE OF FAITH - RAHAB
MORE STUDIES IN HEBREWS 11
by Francis Dixon
Scripture References: Hebrews 11:31: Joshua 2:1-24: 6:17, 20-25
The Heroes of Faith in Hebrews Eleven were far from perfect. There were failures and inconsistencies in their lives, but their names are included because of their faith. Our sins and our follies are always wrong and must always be displeasing to the Lord. He never condones or excuses sin, but He has made a way whereby sinful and failing men and women may find deliverance from the penalty and the power of sin, and that way is the way of faith – faith (as we shall see in this study) in One who shed His blood for us, and whose precious blood was so beautifully typified in the ‘sure sign’ of Rahab - “the line of scarlet cord” which guaranteed and secured her safety and the safety of” her father’s household” - look up Joshua 2:12 and 18; and 6:25. In spite of our knowledge of the recorded failures in the lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob etc., we are not surprised that their names are catalogued in Hebrews 11; but we are surprised when we read that “by faith the prostitute Rahab was not killed with those who were disobedient” (Hebrews 11:31). Can a sinner be translated from a house of shame into the Hall of Fame? - yes! - look up Colossians 1:13. Does the grace of God take a prostitute out of the land of Canaan and place her into the line of Christ? - yes! For Rahab learned the blessed truth of Isaiah 1:18, and every sinner everywhere may do the same. In this study we are to trace the story of Rahab as recorded in Joshua chapters 2 and 6, and see in it a wonderful illustration of God’s way of salvation. We might almost call it ‘John 3:16 illustrated’! Let us notice the faith of Rahab – how it began, how it operated, how it was manifested and what it accomplished.
1. Rahab was a sinner, yet she was saved by grace, through faith.
That is the only way for a sinner to be saved - look up Ephesians 2:8-10, and compare Titus 3:5. Rahab was a pagan and she lived in spiritual darkness, among people who were given up to idolatry – look up and compare John 3:19-21. She was an innkeeper and entertained residents and visitors in her house (Joshua 2:15). Rahab was also a prostitute, but God loved her (John 3:16), and compare Luke 7:36-50 and John 8:3-11. But now look up Romans 3:22-23 and James 2:10. These verses tell us that our need is as great as hers was.
2. Rahab’s faith began in hearing God’s Word.
Twice we are told that Rahab said, “We have heard …” – compare Joshua 2:10, 11; and because she had heard, and because she believed what she had heard, she was also able to say, ”I know …” – look up Joshua 2:9. Faith takes God at His word and reckons on it - compare Romans 4:20-21. We are saved in the same way as Rahab was saved. We hear the gospel (John 5:24); we hear that we are under condemnation, and we tremble - nlook up Joshua 2:11; John 3:18; John 3:36 and Acts 16:29-31; and by faith we are saved!
3. Rahab confessed her faith to the spies.
She was no secret believer. Notice the difference between a mere intellectual faith and a real heart faith. In Joshua 2:10 Rahab says, ”We have heard …”(that presumably included many of the inhabitants of Jericho); but in verse 9 Rahab says, “I know that the Lord …” Many in Jericho heard about the Lord and His power and they believed about Him, but Rahab believed in Him and she trusted Him. Look up Romans 10:9, and particularly notice the word ’heart’. It is not enough to believe with our head; we must trust with our heart. Then, after believing in our heart, we must confess with our mouth and in our lives – look up Matthew 10:32-33.
4. Rahab’s faith was demonstrated by her works.
Works are the evidence of faith. We read in Hebrews 11:31 that Rahab, because she believed in the Lord, ”welcomed the spies” - look up James 2:25, and compare Ephesians 2:10 and Philippians 3:12-13. Where faith is real it will be seen. The evidence of Rahab’s faith was that she hid the spies (Joshua 2:1,4,6), and that she confessed to the spies (verses 9-12), and that she sent the spies away (verse 16). But the greatest evidence of Rahab’s faith was the scarlet cord, mentioned in Joshua 2:18, for this cord was the ‘sign’ (verse 12) that she believed the word of the spies. While the cord was in the window Rahab knew she was safe - compare Joshua 2:21 with Exodus 12:12-13. The only safe refuge for a guilty sinner is the blood of Jesus - look up 1 John 1:7.
5. Rahab’s faith involved a radical change.
Because she believed on the Lord, her whole life was transformed. For her, a believer, it meant leaving the doomed city, being separated from her people (the Canaanites), and throwing in her lot with the people of God. She certainly turned to God from idols, and everything became new - look up and compare 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 Thessalonians 1:9. A real work of grace in the heart will always lead to a real change in the life. In other words, faith in the Lord Jesus will be evidenced by a change of character.
6. Rahab’s faith reached out to her friends and loved ones.
This is made clear in Joshua 2:12-13. What a lovely thing to see this woman concerned for the salvation of her family and friends! Do we have this concern? She was like Esther who said …(Esther 8:6); she was like Andrew… (John 1:40-42); she was like Philip… (John 1:43-49); and she was like the woman of Sychar …(John 4:28-30). Are you concerned for your own family and friends who do not know the Saviour, and are you seeking their salvation?
7. Rahab’s faith brought her into a position of great honour and made her the special channel of Gods blessing.
This woman, now brought into living relationship with the Lord, became the mother of Boaz, the great-grandfather of King David - look up Ruth 4:21-22, and compare Matthew 1:5-6 and 16, and as you conclude this study be sure to read Joshua 6:21-23 and 25.