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March 4, 2016

The Hall of Faith!

It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. Heb. 11:31a (NLT) 

You might not think that someone like Rahab would make it in the Hall of Faith among spiritual giants like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and David. But, she did! She had two strikes against her. She was a Gentile and, worse, a prostitute. How would a woman like that get into the Hall of Faith? By faith. She demonstrated her faith in the God of Israel by welcoming and protecting the spies that Joshua sent into her city.  Though we’re not sure how she heard about God, she trusted God to spare her and her family when the city would be destroyed.  In Joshua, the Bible says,

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 mood of fear with the rest of her city, she alone turned to the Lord for her salvation. Her faith gave her the courage to hide the spies and ask them for mercy when her city was destroyed. She took a huge risk. She could have been killed by her own people for betraying them or, even, by the spies she hid. Still, Rahab put her faith in the God of Israel believing that He was a God who could be trusted! And, God rewarded her faith by promising to save her and her household. Joshua’s record tells us what happened.

Before (the spies) left, the men told her, “… 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.” Joshua 2:17-18 (NLT) 

Rahab accepted their terms and left the scarlet rope hanging from the window. So, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute and her relatives who were with her in the house. She would later marry a Jewish man named Salmon and have a son named Boaz.  Boaz would marry Ruth and have a son named Obed who became the father of Jesse, the father of King David! What a difference faith can make! When you feel disqualified by your past or the disapproval of others who may reject you, put your faith in the God who can be trusted to change you from the inside out! Rahab was remembered by God for her faith, not her profession! She made it into the hall of faith! Through faith, we can do the right thing – regardless of our past – and experience a new beginning in Christ!