… and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab…
Prepare to Listen. Light 2 purple candles. Be still and silently repeat: You are the Lord my God.
Prayerfully Read Joshua 2:1-14
Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and spent the night there. 2The king of Jericho was told, ‘Some Israelites have come here tonight to search out the land.’ 3Then the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come only to search out the whole land.’ 4But the woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, ‘True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. 5And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them.’ 6She had, however, brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid out on the roof. 7So the men pursued them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. As soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut. 8Before they went to sleep, she came up to them on the roof 9and said to the men: ‘I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. 10For 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 that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11As soon as we heard it, our hearts failed, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you. The LORD your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. 12Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the LORD that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith 13that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.’ 14The men said to her, ‘Our life for yours! If you do not tell this business of ours, then we will deal kindly and faithfully with you when the LORD gives us the land.’
Rahab’s ethnicity (Canaanite), gender (woman), and social station (prostitute) were all strikes against her. Yet, she is an ancestor of Jesus and named in Matthew’s genealogy. She’s also one of only two women named with the giants of faith in Hebrews 11: “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish …, because she had received the spies in peace” (v31). And James claimed that she was “justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road” (2:25).
The two spies were sent to “view the land, especially Jericho” but inexplicably entered the home of Rahab, a known prostitute. She made two speeches. First, to the king’s soldiers. She lied about the spies, thus committing treason against her people. But she’s never rebuked for her lies. Second, to the spies. She described to them the fear of her people because of what they’d heard. She said, “our hearts failed, and there was no courage left in any of us.” She also expressed faith in Israel’s God, using God’s name Yahweh (that is, the LORD): “I know that the LORD has…”; and “The LORD your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.” She also stood up for herself and her family, asking for protection. Her faith saved many lives, including the spies. The Lord saw her faith, and ignored the stuff we might want to hold against her. She lives on in Jesus’ family tree and belongs with the giants of faith named in Hebrews. By faith Rahab….
Rahab, in her newfound faith, stood up for herself and her family, leaving an example. Who can you help stand up for themselves?
Respond in Prayer
Lord I pray for all women who are forced to the margins and treated unjustly because of their gender, ethnicity, social station. Give them the faith and courage of Rahab to stand up for themselves and their family. Amen.
Live Obediently. Like Rahab, live by faith today.
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Reading my Bible has been central in my life since I received my first Bible at 8 years of age. My decades of reading, studying and teaching the Bible gives my devotions a unique and enriching perspective. Reflecting on Jesus' family tree enriched my understanding of Jesus and the salvation he offers.