Before the men fell asleep, [Rahab] went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. For 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 Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. Now please swear to me by the Lord that you will also show kindness to my father’s family, because I showed kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them, and save us from death.” The men answered her, “We will give our lives for yours. If you don’t report our mission, we will show kindness and faithfulness to you when the Lord gives us the land.”
Joshua 2:8-14 (CSB)
All but one mention of Rahab’s name in Scripture includes the title “the prostitute.” What a way to be remembered! However, the mention of Rahab’s former way of life is not used as a judgment of her character, but rather a reminder of the way God redeemed her life. She’d been living a life of desperation and sin, but she’d also heard about a powerful God leading the Israelites through the desert — and she wanted to know more. Though she was from a pagan, Canaanite city, she feared God when she heard of all of the miracles He performed for His people in the wilderness. When God’s people needed an ally, He was able to use Rahab and grow her faith.
The repeated mentions of Rahab’s profession also illustrate something powerful — that God doesn’t require perfection, only repentance. After all, if He had to wait for perfect people to carry out His good plans, He’d wait forever! No, God works in many mysterious ways, including the way He moves in and through the lives of sinners. When God’s people asked for her help, Rahab didn’t hesitate. She helped them, she protected them, and she kept her promises to them. In return, she was protected by them as well.
By faith Rahab the prostitute welcomed the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.
Hebrews 11:31 (CSB)
Rahab’s obedience and faith was so noteworthy that she is mentioned in the Bible’s “Hall of Faith,” the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Listed right alongside Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses, Rahab is remembered for her service to the Lord and her faith in His good plans. And not only was her life (and the lives of her family members) spared when the Israelites took Jericho, she went on to play a significant role in what would become Jesus’s family tree. She became the grandmother of Boaz, the husband of Ruth, and she was a direct descendant of King David. She is one of four women mentioned in the lineage of Christ.
Do you wear labels of your past sins? Do you identify as your former self, despite being a new creation in Christ? If you believe that Jesus has already paid the penalty for your sins and have asked forgiveness for your past, it is time to let go of those old wounds. You have a new identity in Christ and it is one who is forgiven! Who is beloved! Who is cherished and valued and a vital member of God’s Kingdom! You are not who you once were. You are not what you once did. You are clean and brand new and exactly who God created you to be, and He wants to use you just like He wanted to use Rahab.
And remember, while you may grieve the choices you made in the past, you should not doubt God’s ability to use every single part of your life — good, bad, and ugly — to reveal His glory. You may regret, but God always redeems.
Others identified Rahab by her former self; perhaps she even identified herself that way. But God honored her life and faith, showing her immense grace despite her past and her heritage. He took her in as one of His own people. His grace redeemed her life and changed her future.
As you reflect on your past, may you never question God’s decision to adopt you into His family through Christ’s work on the cross. May you accept His forgiveness and your new identity as a beloved child of God. May you take courage in the truth that Jesus has given you His record, and you no longer stand on your own. May you see clearly the ways God is working everything — the old and the new, the stained and the cleansed, the regret and the redemption — together for your good and His glory. May you be remembered for your faith and for the grace God gave you.
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