31 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)
Welcome to the 22nd installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. This time, we look at Rahab. According to the above verse, Rahab was a prostitute. Since when do prostitutes get to be honored by God? Isn’t prostitution a sin? Yet Rahab was honored by God for her faith. This is a repetition of what God has stressed in the earlier few verses that he loves faith so much that he is willing to give us new beginnings no matter how bad our past were.
You may not have a good past. Who does anyway? You may have made many mistakes. Some may even became prostitute. I believe God is telling us that no matter how bad our histories are, he is not bothered by them. He still wants us to have faith. He will honor us for our faith in him.
Let us go through the story of Rahab.
Joshua sent 2 spies to scout out the land around Jericho. They went over and stayed in the house of a prostitute name Rahab. The king of Jericho knew about them and sent his soldiers to arrest them. They went to Rahab’s house to catch the spy but Rahab hid the spies and gave false information to lead the soldiers away. Why did she do that? Why would she betray her own country to help 2 strangers who were from the enemy’s camp?
The answer is in the verses below:
8 Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them.
9 “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.
10 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.
11 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)
It seems that she and her countrymen knew of the crossing of the Red Sea and the victories of Israel. The news of the Israelites’ achievements was spread far and wide up to the ears of those in Jericho. Did they believe? Obviously they did. Joshua 2:11 tell us their hearts melted with fear. They knew that the God of Israel God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.
It was ironical that the first generation of Israelites was so afraid of them that they did not dare to take the land. The truth is the inhabitants of the land were afraid of them too. If the Israelites obeyed God to march into the land, they would have easy victory because their enemies were paralyzed with fear. They missed a great opportunity for their prosperity.
This should be a lesson for us all to learn the importance of trusting and obeying God. When God tells us to do something, the best response is to obey by faith because if we don’t we might have missed a great opportunity like the first generation of Israelites. So, if you are really interested in great prosperity, be prepared to obey God to march into the Promised Land even if your enemies look big. Your victory is from God. Your enemies may look big but they could be paralyzed with fear. Victory is yours for the taking.
Please note that according to Rahab, everyone in the town believed what God had done. Yet God only honored her and not the rest. Why? She knew how to act on her beliefs.
12 “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that
13 when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.”
Joshua 2:12-13 (NLT)
She helped the spies and got them to guarantee the lives of her and her family. As a result she and her family lived when the rest of the people in the town died. This reminds me of a verse.
7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Psalm 91:7 (KJV)
Everyone in the town “believed” but only Rahab and her family got to live because Rahab acted on her beliefs. This means belief requires action to produce results. Here are some examples:
Anyone can say he believes Jesus died for his sins. That does not mean he is saved. He has to personally accept Jesus as his Saviour. Only then, will he have eternal life.
A Christian who believes Jesus died poor for him to live rich will not get rich automatically. He has to act on the principles of prosperity like tithing and sowing to be rich.
This is what James meant when he wrote faith without works is dead. The term “works” here does not refer to the dos and don’ts that are invented by religion. It refers to taking action to secure the promises of God like salvation, prosperity, health and every blessing that God wants to bless us with. Rahab did that and saved her family from destruction.
The whole town of Jericho had “faith” but only Rahab’s faith worked because she acted on it. She had not only saved herself and her family, she is honored by God for her faith.