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)
I love the honesty of the Bible. If I were making a list of the Who’s Who of the Old Testament I would be tempted to leave some people out. Rahab is surely one of them. She was a prostitute. She made her living by selling her body. She lived on the city wall and watched for lonely passersby who might want her company. She had no discretion, no self-respect. The writer of Proverbs has a stern warning about women like Rahab:
My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind. (Proverbs 23:26-28 ESV)
Rahab was a deep pit. She waited like a robber and made traitors out of otherwise honest men. Then one day Hebrew men showed up. They didn’t come looking for Rahab, they came needing cover. Sent by Joshua to scout out the great city of Jericho they hid on Rahab’s roof. The king of Jericho caught wind that the feared Israelite spies were inside the city walls. He sent his soldiers to find them. Rahab covered for them and sent the soldiers on their way. She found the Hebrew spies on her roof and spilled her guts:
Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. (Joshua 2:8-11 ESV)
For we have heard how the Lord…Some in Jericho heard about what God had done and tried to resist Him. Rahab heard and embraced Him. Notice how she finishes her confession to these men: For the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens and on the earth beneath. Rahab believed! Rahab, the prostitute became Rahab the protector. Rahab who was accustomed to wrecking men’s lives, saved their lives. Rahab who usually sold her body for sex, offered her house for safety. She believed. And she made it into Faith’s Hall of Fame!
Only Christianity would celebrate a prostitute turned protector and tout her as a defender of the faith.
And you think Jesus can’t turn your mess into a message to the world!