“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Hebrews 11:31 (NLT)

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has often been referred to as The Hall of Faith. It records great examples of faith fleshed out by mighty men and women of God.  Among the many men listed in this chapter, there are only two women.  Although there certainly could have been more, it is interesting to me that, of the two women listed in God’s Hall of Faith, one of them was a prostitute. When you consider her life, you may wonder if there could even be a more unlikely candidate for such an honor.  Not only was Rahab a prostitute, she was also a pagan and a Canaanite who lived in the city of Jericho.  That’s three strikes against her; but, when it comes to God’s grace, you’re never out if you just have faith.  The second chapter of Joshua records her story and how she came to be included in the Hall of Faith.

Joshua sent two spies into Jericho on a reconnaissance mission to scout out the city and bring back a report.  Israel had just crossed the Jordan River, and they were poised to take the first city in the land of Canaan. Jericho was a fortified city with thick and high walls.  It must have seemed impenetrable.  Since Rahab’s house was built on top of the city walls and because she was a prostitute, her home would be a likely spot for the spies to get information.  What is remarkable is the response those spies received when they met Rahab.  Here’s the record of what happened:

“Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. ‘I know the LORD has given you this land,’she told them. ‘We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the LORD made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.’” Joshua 2:8-11 (NLT)

While Rahab shared the general fear of the Israelites with the rest of her people, she alone turned to the Lord for her salvation.  Her faith gave her courage to hide the spies and risk her own life if she were caught.  She believed that the Israelites relied on a God who was worth trusting!  God rewarded her faith by promising her and her family safety.  Here’s what the spies told her before they left her house:

“We will be bound by the oath we have taken only if you follow these instructions. When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house. If they go out into the street and are killed, it will not be our fault. But if anyone lays a hand on people inside this house, we will accept the responsibility for their death. If you betray us, however, we are not bound by this oath in any way.” Joshua 2:17-20 (NLT) 

Rahab accepted their terms.  She was to place a scarlet rope outside her window and stay inside the house.  It was her only hope of salvation. That scarlet rope foreshadows the scarlet robe our Savior wore for us to provide our own way of salvation when we put our trust in Him as our Savior from sin.

God uses the most unlikely people to display His glory – people we may even be inclined to reject or overlook.  Rahab was forever remembered for her faith, not her profession.  She rose above her situation, left her past behind, and looked forward to a new future through her trust in God!  You can do the same today!  Later, we find Rahab in another list, the genealogy of Jesus!  Rahab would become the mother of Boaz and an ancestor of King David!  She didn’t let her past prevent her from the future God purposed for her!

You, too, can have a fresh start!  Put your faith in Christ who wore the scarlet robe for you and took your sins to the cross.  Trust Him for your salvation.  Then, celebrate your new beginning at Super Summer Baptism 2 this weekend at a Woodlands Church campus near you. Baptism is the first step of obedience in your new life of faith!  Register now!