Study 3 RAHAB: THE WONDROUS GRACE OF GOD
(Scripture Portions: Hebrews 11:31; Joshua 2: 1-24; 6: 17, 20-25)
God 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 family and all who belonged to her” – look up Joshua 2: 12 and l8; 6: 25 – and compare Hebrews 11: 31. Are we surprised when we read that “by faith the harlot (of all people!) Rahab perished not with them that believed not” (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! – look up Proverbs 28: 13, and see in it a wonderful illustration of God’s way of salvation. Notice Rahab’s faith – how it began, how it operated, how it was manifested and what it accomplished.
1. Rahab was a common sinner, yet she was saved by grace, through faith.
That of course 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 John 3: 19-21. She was a prostitute, (or possibly an innkeeper, as the word may mean) but God loved her – look up John 3: 16, and compare Luke 7: 36-50 and John 8: 3-11 – and also Romans 3: 22-23 and James 2: 10. Our need now is as great as hers was then! She entertained residents and visitors in her house on the wall – look up Joshua 2: 15.
2. Rahab’s faith began, where all true faith begins, by hearing God’s Word
Twice we are told that she said, “We have heard” – compare Joshua 2: 10 and 11; and because she had heard, and because she believed what she had heard, she was able to say, “I know…” look up Joshua 2: 9. Faith takes God at His word and reckons on it – compare Romans 4: 20-2l. We are saved in the same way as Rahab was saved. We hear the gospel – look up John 5: 24; we hear that we are under condemnation, and we tremble – look up Joshua 2: 11; John 3: 18 and 3: 36; and by faith, by taking God at His Word, by trusting Him, we are saved – look up Acts 16: 30-31!
3. Rahab confessed her faith to the spies
She was not a secret believer. Notice the difference between a mere intellectual faith and a real heart faith. In Joshua 2: 10 she says, “We have heard…” (that presumably included many of the inhabitants of Jericho); but in verse 9, she says, “I know that the Lord…” Many in Jericho heard about the Lord and about His power and they believed about Him, but Rahab believed in Him and she trusted Him. Now turn to Romans 10: 9-10, and particularly notice the word “heart”. It is not enough to believe with our head; we must trust, and this has to do with our heart. Then, after believing in, or with, our heart, we must confess Him 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 – look up James 2: 25, and compare Ephesians 2: 10 and Philippians 2: 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 and 6); that she confessed to the spies (verses 9 – 12), and that she sent the spies away (verse 16). But the greatest and most striking evidence of Rahab’s faith was the scarlet cord, mentioned in Joshua 2: 18, for this cord was the “sure 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 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.
6. Rahab’s faith reached out and encompassed her friends and loved ones
This is made clear in Joshua 2: 12-13. What a lovely thing it is to see this woman showing a great concern for the salvation of her family and friends! She was like Esther – look up Esther 8: 6; she was like Andrew – look up John 1: 40-42; she was like Philip – look up John 1: 43-49; and she was like the woman of Sychar – look up John 4: 28-30. Do we have any real concern for the members of our own family and for our friends who do not know the Saviour, and are we seeking their salvation?
7. Rahab’s faith brought her into a position of great honour and it made her the special channel of God’s blessing
God’s grace is very wonderful! This woman Rahab, who had now been brought into living relationship with the Lord, was given a godly husband, and as the result of their union she 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: verses 21, 22, 23 and 25 – and Isaiah 1: 18 –
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.”