“On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around [Jericho] in the same manner seven times…And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout, for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.’…Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day” Joshua 6:15-17, 25
What grace. Rahab wasn’t a model of righteousness. She lived in a city that had rejected the Lord, among people who would not repent. And she didn’t live there as one set apart; she was immersed in the culture, making her way as a prostitute. She is perhaps not who we would have picked out as one to save. Yet God saw her and chose to save her. He set her apart in mercy, recognizing the woman she could be with His grace.
We don’t know how the spies met her, what the circumstances were that compelled Rahab to offer them a place to hide. But we can be assured that God provided both a refuge for the spies and salvation for this woman whom He loved. And she was not forgotten. In the midst of what was most certainly chaos, Rahab was remembered and she and her family were brought safely out. Grafted into the people of God, as are all of us who confess Jesus as Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead.
Rahab lived. The whole picture of her life was transformed on that day. The transformation began when God saw her in her sin, reached down, and began to draw her out and lead her heart to His. It’s a beautiful parallel to what He does for us. He sees us in our sin, as we think nothing of Him and go about our merry way towards our own destruction. And in perfect love and amazing grace, He reaches into our lives and begins to draw us out. He gently, powerfully leads our hearts to His. He opens our eyes to His glory. He softens our heart to His love. And when we make the decision to turn to Him, to trust in Christ and follow His leading, we find our Lord mighty to save.
Rahab’s story doesn’t end here. “And Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king” (Matthew 1:5-6). This woman who once lived in deep darkness, bound by sin and spiraling toward destruction, was in the family line of King David. Greater than that, she was in the family line of Jesus Christ. The Messiah who would offer hope to the world. The hope that she knew—forgiveness and grace from a holy God of righteousness. This is what God will do when we choose to trust in Him. Save us, free us, transform us, and make us a beacon of His light in a dark world, that others will see the glory and power of His grace.