By Mike Kemper
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Dyer
Now that Joshua has assumed leadership for leading the Israelites on to the Promised Land, the city of Jericho was one of the first obstacles just across the Red Sea. Joshua sends two spies to “scout the land.” They went and came to the house of “a prostitute named Rahab.” They were not there for the wrong reason. They hid out there.
We hear about the heroics of “first responders” and others standing in the face of evil to save innocent lives from death. We hear of individuals breaking car windows to save folks inside from a fiery grave, or an agent of rescue saving from frozen waters those who had broken through into freezing waters. Courageous indeed!
Yet, we may not really realize the real value of a courageous faith that leads a person, or persons, into safety and security in relation to eternity! How remarkable is that?
The song says, “Faith is the victory, o glorious victory that overcomes the world!” There is no way to deny that Rahab was a sinner. Yes, “sin is sin,” and Rahab was known as a “harlot” who came to be a possessor of saving faith! She had heard how God was protecting and leading the Israelites to victory. Even in that day, “news traveled fast!”
The fear of the Lord led Rahab to have courage to help the spies. She dared to risk her life for the sake of the spies, knowing that if they were found in her house she would be put to death. Rahab prepared herself to die if necessary, asking for God’s protection of her family. She was denying herself, trusting, thinking of others, and asking that her family be saved. Their promise to her was, if their mission failed, “we will give our lives for yours.” Rahab was faithful to her word. She protected the spies and God protected her and her family.
The writer of Hebrews 11:31 affirms, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not ….” Her faith is indeed remarkable — a harlot, living in Jericho which is about to be overcome/destroyed by the power of God. Her actions show an obvious fear or respect for God and for His people! Many Scriptural examples of faith could be mentioned.
Faith, dividing the waters. Faith, crashing down strong walls. Faith, defeating enemies. Even more so, faith conquering sin! Changing lives, breaking the bonds of evil, new creations, faith bringing us into relationship with Almighty God! Rahab was saved by faith, rescued, turned ashes to beauty, and her name is listed in the Hebrews “roll call of the faithful” the redeemed! What a mighty thing faith is. The same faith that Rahab had can save us. Yes, it is “faith that overcomes the world!”
This is a powerful story of God’s love for all people, even those most of us would consider “beyond hope.” Yes, Rahab had faith, and she put her faith into action; James 2:25 reminds us that she not only believed God, but she acted upon her faith, hiding the spies, and asking for the lives of her family. God saves and delivers all who will respond to Him by faith.
We can learn from Rahab that God honors His promises. We can learn that God’s people should also show mercy to those who show mercy, no matter who they are or what they have done. And, we can learn that courageous faith in God will lead us in ways beyond our imagination. There is victory in faith!