My Community Bible Study is studying Joshua this fall. The second chapter is about Rahab, a prostitute who is listed in Matthew as part of Jesus’ genealogy! I have always been perplexed by a prostitute being an ancestor of Jesus! Though prostitution is not listed among the Ten Commandments, isn’t it equivalent to being an adulterer? Maybe worse?
The study did not ask this question, but I did: “Why would God honor a prostitute by making her a part of Jesus’ family tree?” The answer was not obvious to me until we went through the questions as a group.
- God needed a liar! A righteous woman would not have lied about the two spies she had hidden. A prostitute would be easily savvy with untruths. She lied to none other than the King of Jericho!
- Only a rare woman would have risked her own life by hiding the two spies on her rooftop. Rahab was used to taking risks in her business. In saving these two spies, she saw a glimmer of hope for herself, so it was worth the risk.
- Without knowing what God had commanded of Joshua, then Joshua demanded the same of his men, she fulfilled God’s command: be strong and courageous. She was a one-of-a-kind woman!
- She was intelligent and kept abreast of the news reports. She knew it was Israel’s God who led them on dry land across the Red Sea. She had heard about the two Amorite kings. As soon as her people learned of these reports, their “hearts melted.”
- She believed Israel’s God was the God of heaven and earth.
- She had faith God would defend his people.
- She was familiar with negotiations. She negotiated for her family to be defended also.
No virtuous woman would have had ALL of these characteristics: a liar, a risk taker, strong and courageous, a believer, had faith, and a negotiator for the salvation of her family.
We are all sinners. God is no respecter of persons; he loves us all. In this case, God needed a sinner with certain experiences, plus faith, to accomplish his purposes. That should make us wake up and take notice of what God allows to happen in our lives. We may not be happy with circumstances God gives us, but he has a purpose. We may not comprehend the purpose until we are in heaven, but he does have a plan.
In her lifetime, Rahab did not comprehend the honored place God had designed for her. But we can see today how she was used so many long years ago. That could be the same for us — we may never know why we endured difficult things in life until we are in heaven and see the whole picture.