One of my very favourite things about the Bible (second to Jesus) is how many kick-butt women God sowed into His story. Not just women; but strong, real, unafraid, beautiful women, who become a part of the story in a massive way. Rahab is one of those women, and this is the part that makes me especially happy: Rahab wasn’t a good girl in any way, who toed the line and did what she was supposed to do – in fact, Rahab was a prostitute.
If Rahab walked into a church in 2018, it’s probably quite unlikely that she would be accepted with open arms and given much respect or authority, but this is who my God is: He uses the most unlikely of characters and He uses them for good. 1 Corinthians 1:27 says that God “chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” – this is my story, it is the story of Rahab and of so many others: we are the weak ones, the broken ones, the ones who can not do it on our own; and yet we are the ones that He chooses. How beautiful is He?!
Rahab is brave: she lets the spies into her home, when she knows that there are enemies looking for them, and that her actions are putting her in danger. And then in Joshua 2:9, we read this:
“Before the spies had gone down for the night, she went up onto the roof and said to them, “I know the Lord has given this land for you, and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you”
Rahab knew God’s heart. She was at the centre of a culture of people who did not know Him, and yet she recognized Him as the God of heaven and knew that these men were worth defending. While everyone around her was standing in fear because of the things that God had done, she knew whose side she wanted to be on.
She took the two men in and protected them, when anyone else around her would have done the opposite, and this earned her favour with them:
“Now, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you.” Joshua 2:12
She knew who God was, and she knew that the people who stood against Him didn’t stand a chance. She had not been living for the Lord, before the two men turned up at her door, but here’s the thing: it is God’s kindness that leads towards repentance, not the judgement of man. People do not need us to condemn them. They need to know who God is, and to experience His kindness, which leads towards repentance.
Romans 2:4 says just that: “or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
The word repentance means a complete turn around of thinking to face the other way: a change of mind, and purpose, and life; a forsaking of sin and turning from it. God’s kindness, when we feel it, melts the heart, whereas judgement can tend to harden it – and then, we see who God is and we can’t help but love Him. In His kindness there is no end to goodness: we see it in the sun, in the rain; in the home that we have and the food that we eat; in friends, in fun; in the protection He gives to us, and in Christ who has given us life – it is these things that call us towards repentance. Rahab saw something of these things, and she responded to it by helping God’s men.
Because of the goodness of God, Rahab’s heart was turned to Him, and her story became a part of God’s story. She was not a priest, or a religious leader – pretty much the opposite – but she made it into the family tree of Jesus. The Word says that God chooses the foolish things of the world – He chose the prostitute from the nation that the Israelites were moving in to, to protect His men.
I am so thankful that God does not only use the people who have got it all sorted. Know this, friend: He chose you. He chose you when you were far off, when you were foolish; when you were messing up; when you didn’t care or want anything to do with Him. He chose you when you ran away, He chose you when you were pretending to be someone that you are not. Like Rahab, He chose you because He wanted your heart; He showed you kindness and He turned you towards repentance. He’s sowing you into His story and He’s at the centre of yours.
He isn’t done with you yet, kiddo.