Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 16, 2015

Rahab the harlot: An Example of a Learning and Working Faith

Today’s devotion comes from Joshua Chapter 2 which covers Joshua sending two spies to spy out Jericho and the surrounding land, the welcoming of the spies and protecting of them by Rahab the harlot, her faith which motivated her action, and the return of the spies to Joshua.

I will only quote the first 11 verses.

“1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.”  So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.  2 It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.”  3 And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.”  4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.  5 It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out;  I do not know where the men went.  Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.”  6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7 So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.

8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.  10 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 the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  11 When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you;  for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”  Joshua 2:1-11.

——————

Rahab the harlot provides hope for us.  Like Rahab, we are a sinner.  Like Rahab, we are a Gentile.  But, like Rahab, we can gain knowledge about God.  Like Rahab, we can act upon our faith in God.  Like Rahab, we can be saved.

First, we first notice that Rahab’s faith did not stand alone.  Rahab’s faith motivated her to take actions that were dangerous, that proved her faith.  

If she did not truly believe what she confessed, then she certainly would not have risked death to protect the spies.  “In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?”  James 2:25.

Such faith put Rahab into the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews Chapter 11.  “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.”  Hebrews 11:31.

Second, we notice that this faith is also not a simple faith in the existence of God.  This faith shows a willingness to learn and recite details about the qualities of God and the works of God.  Consider all that Rahab said about God in verses 9 to 11!  

First, she heard of the promises of the LORD, and although the process of the LORD giving the land to Israel had just begun, she considered it an accomplished fact:  “I know that the Lord has given you the land”.  Second, she personally experienced the terror of the LORD.  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.  If she did not believe God, then she would not say personally:  “the terror of you has fallen on us”.  Third, she showed her belief in the extent of God’s work in giving the land to Israel by stating:  “all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.”  Fourth, she learned and recited the following works of God:  “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 the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.”  Fifth, she concluded that God had the quality of being sovereign:  “the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

Knowledge of God is an important element of faith.  We can not just be passionate about the idol image of a god that we want.

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”  Romans 10:2-3.  We should increase in the knowledge of God:  “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”  Colossians 1:10.

What doctrine shows more of a willingness to learn and recite details about the qualities of God and the works of God?  Reformed Doctrine! 

What doctrine shows more of a willingness to learn and recite details about man, his alleged free-will, and what man has done?  Other doctrine! 

“Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 9:23-24.


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