January 17 I Monday
“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” —Hebrews 11:31
Which would we consider more important—a person’s faith or a person’s character? Most of us would probably say character. Character is extremely important, but there are those in Scripture whose character had not yet developed, but were commended for their faith in God.
Rahab was a prostitute who lived in Jericho at a time when the Israelites were planning to invade and conquer the city. Joshua had sent two spies to investigate the land. The king of Jericho heard rumours that there were spies in Rahab’s house and he sent a message, telling her to “bring out the men for they have come to spy out the whole land.” Rahab replied, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went” (Joshua 2:4-5).
Rahab was both a prostitute and a liar. The next verse tells us she had taken the spies up to the roof and hidden them under stalks of flax. Before they laid down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you” (Joshua 2:9). The invasion had not yet taken place, but in Rahab’s mind, the Lord had already given the land to the Israelites. Her faith was not in the nomadic tribe approaching Jericho, but in the God of Israel.
Rahab had spoken with certainty, and goes on to say, “…for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:11). She then bargains with the spies to save her life and that of her family. When the attack took place, their lives were spared by a scarlet cord hanging from her window, letting the Israelites know not to take her house when they conquered the city.
Many of us have a lurking sense that we need to earn God’s approval before He is going to work with us. The marvellous thing in Hebrews 11:6 is that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” The reverse is also true: with faith it is impossible not to please God. When God saw Rahab’s dependency on Him, He may have thought, “I love that woman. She is one in whom I will work.” Rahab eventually became an Israelite and the great-great grandmother of King David. Faith, beyond character, enables the work of God to take place in our lives.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that it is faith in You that will transform our lives.