Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”
But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
Sometimes we can look at ourselves, and see all our sin and selfishness, and think that we are just too fallen, too dirty, too sinful to be accepted by God.
Rahab was someone who, very publicly, didn’t have a “clean slate”. She was a prostitute. She would have faced social rejection and moral condemnation from people around her. It’s likely that Rahab herself may have also seen herself in this same light – as someone who is unworthy, dirty, sinful. Yet, here we read the story of how Rahab welcomed two Israeli spies into her house, and hid them, protecting them against capture by the king of Jericho. An act which proved to be very significant in the history of Israel, and their entry into the land that God had promised them.
We might ask: of all people, why would God have used someone like Rahab to achieve his purposes? God is a righteous and holy God, and he hates sin. He hates adultery and deception. How could he have thought to use someone like Rahab? Rahab was a sinner caught up in adultery and prostitution. She is the last person that you might expect God to use. She hadn’t earned God’s attention or favour by her own merit, by any stretch of the imagination. But she saw who the God of Israel was. She recognised that he was the one true God, the “God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Josh 2:11). She placed her faith in him, and was used powerfully by God.
The Bible doesn’t shy away from Rahab’s prostitution. It doesn’t try to hide or sugar-coat the fact of her sin. Rather, it makes stunningly clear that God uses sinners. He calls and saves sinners, and he works powerfully through sinners for his glory, and his purposes.
Like Rahab, we are all sinners. We are all unworthy to stand before God; unworthy to be accepted by him. That’s why God sent Jesus to die on a cross – to deal with the sin of the world. To deal with the reality of your sin, and of my sin.
In Jeusus’ name, we are forgiven – freely, fully and forever.
Is this a truth that you have grasped for yourself? Have you accepted the salvation and relationship that God has offered you in the name of Jesus Christ?
If you already follow Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, then the challenge here is in how you see yourself. You need to realise you are a sinner, and you desperately need God’s grace and mercy. But then to know that Jesus’ blood is enough to cover every sin – whatever it is. You don’t have to wonder how God feels about you. You are righteous and dearly loved in his eyes, and he has plans to use you for his glory and purposes, and for your joy.
Will you trust him in this? Will you give of yourself selflessly as his witness and servant, because of the unshakeable security and love you have in him, and because he is the one worthy of the praise of all people? What would this look like for you this week?
Take a good look in the mirror –
Can you tell me who you see:
the one that Jesus died for, or the one you’d rather be?
Can you find it in your heart to have mercy on the one
the Father loved so much that he gave his only son?
“The Golden Boy and the Prodigal”, Jason Gray, 2010.
Listen on Spotify: Jason Gray – The Golden Boy & The Prodigal
Check out Hebrews 11. This chapter draws attention to the faith of several people throughout Israel’s history, and highlights that they were justified not by their works or their worthiness, but by faith. By their faith in the one true God of the Bible. What does this passage say about Rahab? Check out also Matthew 1:5 and James 2:25. How is Rahab portrayed through the Scriptural record? How is this significant for sinners like you and me? How is this an example and encouragement to you?
You are a God of holiness and perfection. I praise you today, for you are not like me. There is no sin or darkness in you. You are not selfish or wicked or unkind. Lord, I confess that I am a sinner, and that I have done things which hurt you, and other people. Lord, before your holiness and righteousness, no one could stand. So I thank you so much for Jesus. Thank you that he took upon himself all the sin that I’ve ever committed, or will ever commit, and that I stand before you forgiven, and clean. Thank you that I have this great hope in his name alone. Help me to see myself as you see me. And by your Spirit, fill me with joy in your presence and your salvation, and use me for your glory and purposes in the world, and to make your name known wherever I am.
I pray in Jesus’ holy name. Amen