Throughout the Bible, wherever Rahab is mentioned (Joshua 2,6; Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25), her profession is also included – ‘Rahab the harlot’.
This is in no way to insult or denigrate this great woman of faith but indeed God’s way of highlighting the fact that she had so many strikes against her, so many red flags that could stop her from being anything but a filthy rag to be trampled on.
She wasn’t of the right pedigree, lived in the red-light district and was a disposable object serving the pleasure of anyone who could pay.
Still, I love Rahab’s story. I love her personality. She went rogue and got a result no one would have thought possible for someone of her class.
Rahab S M A S H E D the bias and here’s how she did it.
She was resourceful, agile and quick witted
Rahab thought on her feet and made some seriously smart calculations that led to the deliverance of herself and her family.
She saw an opportunity to be free and she took it. No one would have expected that of a prostitute.
By our assumptions (even if we don’t openly admit it), people on the margins and fringes of society surely aren’t smart. Their foolish decisions have ostracised them to the margins of society and that’s where they’re meant to stay. They are dumb people and we (with our white picket fences and Pret lunches) are the smart ones who got our lives in order. Not Rahab.
She was a social outcast, probably an embarrassment to the family but most importantly, she was down but not out. She clearly had her ears to the ground and while her customers (the men) were discussing politics and the rumours of impending Israelite invasion, she was devouring the information with gusto.
But her customers didn’t think she was listening. She was a prostitute after all. She wasn’t supposed to have the mental capacity to understand geopolitics.
Her job was to lay down and stay down.
But we see from Rahab’s interaction with the two spies in Joshua chapter 2 that she had more than a clue what was going on. She used what she had (knowledge, her house) to secure a better future for herself and her family.
Don’t be surprised – the people we have condemned to obscurity might actually be the clairvoyant ones.
That homeless man you see on the side of the road looking ragged and washed out might have the memory of an elephant; that single woman on the council estate might have serious skills in the kitchen that could give professional chefs a run for their money; trapped inside that unkempt teenager from the council estate might be a wordsmith that could rival Shakespeare with the power of his pen. All they need is for two spies (an opportunity) to come knocking on the door.
If you are a Rahab, don’t count yourself out of the game.
Your current situation may stink, it may even be downright immoral but deep down in your heart you know there’s something more. Keep your ears peeled and your eyes open, your opportunity maybe round the corner to get out of that lifestyle and carve out a glorious future for yourself.
Salvation is always round the corner – you’ve just got to be resourceful, agile and quick to grab it! And just like Rahab, the world won’t see you coming!
A quick word to believers and atheists: you don’t have to commit intellectual suicide to believe in God.
If Rahab had turned her mind off, there ain’t no way she was getting out of that situation. Instead, based on all the intelligence she had covertly gathered over time, she was able to come to a rational decision that putting her faith in the God of Israel was her best shot at deliverance.
She was selfless and saw the bigger picture
Rahab clearly had a generous heart – again, something you wouldn’t have expected from a prostitute. Surely her heart should be cold, calloused and closed from all the years of trauma and abuse.
Who would blame her if she only thought of herself when the two spies arrived? But no, not Rahab.
In two clear ways, Rahab demonstrated her selflessness and foresight. She could have outed the spies, but she did not. She looked beyond her security and welfare and saw the bigger picture of the inevitability of Israel’s conquest. Even after agreeing to hide the spies, she could have struck a deal only to save herself.
I can’t imagine that Rahab’s family were proud of her chosen way of life; she definitely wasn’t getting the ‘Daughter of the Year’ award. But somehow, Rahab saw beyond the potential hostility of her family and bargained for them to be included in the rescue plan.
It was her house and her life on the line. But her risk not only yielded a favourable outcome for her but for her extended family members.
That’s generosity. She gave them a chance to escape not expecting anything in return from them.
Through Rahab’s foresight, the house that once was the devil’s trading post became an ark that rescued many souls.#IWD2022 #breakthebiasTweet
Indeed, God loves to dwell in the unexpected places – from the backside of the desert to the living room of a prostitute. These are the places no one would go digging for gold – and that’s just the way God likes it!