Tuesday, September 23, 2014

EMMDEV 2014-09-23 [Faith and Hebrews11] Rahab: Courage and Insight

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Hebrews11:31

Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute living in Jericho. When Joshua sent two spies into the city, Rahab hid them under some flax stalks on her roof when the king's men came searching for them.

Listen to what she says to the spies: "I know that the LORD has given this land to 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. We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt..." (Jos2:9-10)

The Israelites had been scared of Jericho because of its strong defences but as it turned out, Jericho's inhabitants were even more afraid of Israel's God.

Rahab is a good reminder that we never face opposition alone. These two spies should have come to a sticky end when they were identified in the city, but God's power and reputation had prepared Rahab's heart and she courageously helped them.

When we read the whole story in Joshua 2, we have to admire Rahab's courage: she commits treason by hiding the spies, she negotiates for her family to be spared and she gives them guidance for hiding in the wilderness for three days to avoid the king's search party. She comes across as a strong and independent woman, but her heart is open enough to recognise the fingerprints of God and to put her trust in Him.

So faith is courage and insight...
She had COURAGE to act and even defy evil. It's interesting that the Hebrew writer sees the people of Jericho as "disobedient" - this implies that they had a choice - as a gateway city they could have allowed the Israelites to pass into the Promised Land, but they didn't. She had INSIGHT to see that God was with the Israelites and she sensed that her future lay with the Israelites, and is recognised in Hebrews and James as a heroine of faith.

Theo Groeneveld theo@emmanuel.org.za
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