The faith of Rahab Joshua 2
The FAITH of Rahab
This morning we are going to begin a five week study in the Book of Joshua
-The Book of Joshua details the conquest/the taking of the land that God Promised to Abraham and his
descendants 400 years prior. The reason for the 400 year gap? The sin of the Amorites was not yet full
(Genesis 15:16). Such shows the amazing grace of God- who gave them 400 years to repent and yet
-The key leader in the Book of Joshua is Joshua-- one time assistant to Moses and the man set apart by
God to take over from Moses
-The signature verse of Joshua seems to be Joshua 1:9 which says; "Have I not commanded you? Be
strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with
you wherever you go." We need to take this call and promise of God to heart in our lives.
Following the call of God to be strong and courageous Joshua makes a decision to have the land
scouted out before he leads the people en masse into the Promised Land.
For those of you that remember, roughly 40 years prior, when the Israelites were parked at the border
of the Promised Land, Joshua was part of a group of 12 spies who were commissioned by Moses to
scout out the land. Of the 12 spies only he and another spy named Caleb came back with a favourable
report. Because of the lack of cowardice of the 10 spies and their spreading of a bad report about the
land the entire nation wavered in its faith-- the result being that God swept away that entire
generation-- save for Joshua and Caleb and the children of the complaining families of Israel (who they
thought would be destroyed by the inhabitants of the land)
Now instead of sending in 12 spies, Joshua sends in 2 with this task-- look over the land, especially
Why Jericho?-- it was a main city in the centre of the land. It seems that the plan was to enter the land
at its midpoint-- the strategy literally being "divide and conquer"
While Joshua 2, which is our text for today, details the adventures of the two spies in Jericho, the
emphasis is not so much on them but on THE FAITH of a woman who named Rahab- a woman who
comes to take a very special place in the history of Israel.
The woman in question is named Rahab. She had a very checkered past-- for she was a prostitute-- and
yet she eagerly became a follower of God, came to be known as a great person of faith, and then top it
all off she is listed in Matthew 1:5 as being of the genealogy of Jesus Christ
OBSERVATIONS, LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES
1. For those of you curious about the place named "Shittim" .
-It was so named after what it was famous for -- Its Acacia groves
-Called Acacia Seyal
-Also known as the Shittah tree
-grows 20 to 30 feet high
-has bright yellow blossoms
-it's wood used to make the Ark of the Covenant
Further significance of Shittim: This was the place where the Israelites fell sexually (Numbers 25:1).
Moab, seeing that Balaam could not curse the Israelites, took Balaams advice on how to corrupt them--
send over a whole bunch of women to offer themselves to the Israelite men. The plan worked and Israel
brought judgment on herself. So here we are and where is that the spies go? To the house of a
prostitute-- and yet this time the men stay pure. We are also called to sexual purity!
2. Rahab lied. This does this mean that it's ok to lie sometimes? Joshua 2:4
Lot's of people think it's ok to lie at certain times. Even some Christians think that lying is acceptable
given the "right situation". Whenever the subject of lying being "ok" comes up the example of should
those who were hiding Jews in WWII told the told the truth or refused to answer when asked by
Gestapo if they were hiding Jews.
To answer the question of should you tell the truth at all times, we shouldn't look to what people have
done we should consider what the Bible says we should do.
What the Bible says about lying and telling the truth
Proverbs 6:16-19 says; "There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord
Proverbs 12:22 says; "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his
Exodus 20:6 says; "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"
RECAP: Just because Rahab lied and then later became a celebrated figure in Israelite history, doesn't
mean she did what was right in lying on the evening the kings representatives came to her house. She
could have said "If you think the spies are here, search my house" and because God is so big, HE could
have easily hidden the spies in plain sight.
Situation ethics is not a game we are to be playing. We are to be honest and true in all situations and
circumstances. There is no such thing as a "white lie". We are to be truth tellers
3. The theme of the Book of Joshua- that of being strong and courageous flows through our text
Book of Joshua built on the call to "Be strong and courageous"
-Courageous spies who risk their lives in crossing the river, entering the land, entering Jericho, trusting
-The courage of Rahab who puts her trust in God, who doesn't go along with her people, and who also
trusts her life and future to the integrity of the spies to keep their word when the day of invasion came
All this contrasts with the loss of courage of the inhabitants of the land who were "melting" in their
We need to be strong and courageous today
-in our witness for Christ
-in saying NO to the world, the flesh, the Devil
-in saying YES to what is right in the sight of God
Further thing to note: Faith expresses itself in action-- such is an outworking of the call to be strong
4. RAHAB'S FAITH IN THE LORD DISTINGUISHES HER AND REMINDS US THAT FAITH PLEASES
In Hebrews 11:6 it says; "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to
him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" A few verses later
(v.31) it says of Rahab; "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed
with those who were disobedient."
Now take a look with me to verses 8-12. In these verses we read of the FAITH of Rahab-- her faith in
the LORD (Yahweh) and not in the false gods of her land READ
5. NOT ONLY DOES FAITH PLEASE GOD, IT IS ONLY BY FAITH THAT A PERSON IS SAVED
According to the Word of God, how is one saved? By faith! Ephesians 2:8-9 says; "For it is by grace you
have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so
that no one can boast."
Rahab did not depend upon anything but faith in God-- she claimed no good works, etc.
Irony: Instead of turning to God in faith, the hearts of the rest of the inhabitants of the land gave in to
fear. How interesting that Rahab heard of God and put her faith in Him.
6. CONSIDER THE SPEED IN WHICH RAHAB HUNG THE SCARLET CORD OUT HER WINDOW v.21
In verse 12-13 Rahab asks for a "sure sign" that her and her family would be saved from the judgment
that was coming. The men swear that if she doesn't go and report them that she and her family will be
spared. To seal the deal the men say in v.17 "This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us
unless when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us
Over history, much has been made of the scarlet cord Rahab hung out the window-- noting how it
reminds one of the blood of Christ shed for the forgiveness of sin and how it hearkened back to how to
escape the judgment to come that the Israelites had to paint their doorposts with the blood of a lamb
on the night judgment came upon the firstborn of Egypt. All whose doorposts were marked escaped
judgment for they were passed over.
Further: When the Israelites circled the city of Jericho 7 times in the days to come, that scarlet cord
would have highly visible to all and so they would know to spare whoever was in that particular house.
Question: When told of what she needed to do to spare her life and her families life from what was
coming, how long do you think Rahab waited to do as instructed?
Do you think she waited till when the Israelites were outside the walls? Do you think she said "I need
to sleep on this, maybe I'll respond tomorrow"
Our text tells us in v.21 that Rahab sent the spies away and that she "tied the scarlet cord out the
It appears that there was a zero gap between her being told to tie the cord out the window and her
The Bible tells us that "today is the day of salvation" and "Today when you hear his voice, don't harden
your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled." Hebrews 3:15
One does not know how time they have. If you have not gotten right with God on His terms, why are
you delaying? What more do you need to convince you to put your faith and trust in Christ as Savior and
Lord? Believe and be saved. Trust and obey.
7. RAHAB'S SALVATION REMINDS US THAT ANYONE CAN BE SAVED
Before turning to the LORD, Rahab was a prostitute-- and it appeared she had no shame about it-- for
she speaks of her concern for her family (which seems to indicate she wasn't estranged from them)
Ironically the moral climate of Canada is approaching that of Jericho for it increasingly seems that
hardly anyone is ashamed of the sins they are committing anymore
Anyways: The point is-- and this shows how amazing the grace of God is-- that no matter what you've
done, if you humble yourself before God, confess your sin, and put your faith in Jesus as Savior and
Lord, you will be saved/forgiven/granted eternal life. So, if you haven't turned to Christ because of some
thought that your sins are too big, don't think that, for its not true.
8. RAHAB'S SALVATION BY FAITH INCLUSION INTO THE PEOPLE AND PROMISES OF GOD
ANTICIPATES THE FUTURE SALVATION OF GREATER NUMBERS OF GENTILES-- including us
Interesting: Rahab a Gentile. She converts. She of the genealogy of Jesus-- so as to his human nature
there was a Gentile in Christ's lineage.
Salvation is first for the Jew and then for Gentiles (ROMAN 1:16)-- this has always been the plan of God
going back to His promise to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3
FOR HIS GRACE TO US WE ARE TO GIVE THANKS!
9. THE CONCERN RAHAB HAD FOR HER FAMILY IS TO BE ECHOED IN OUR LIVES v.13, 18-20
Rahab wasn't just concerned for herself. It was not enough just for her to be saved from death. She was
concerned for her family.
We need to have a heart for our families, our co-workers, our neighbors.
While we can't save anyone, we are to plant the seeds of the Gospel. We are to let others know we are
the followers of Christ. We are to tell others about Jesus and how to be saved and why they need to be
saved. We are to pray for those around us-- leaving the results to God.
Last week we finished our series in the Gospel of John- which comprises an extended call to put ones
faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Here we are in Joshua- back in the Old Testament-- and what is the
theme? FAITH! The call is the same-- put your faith in God. Faith pleases God. One is saved by faith.
Faith and works goes hand in hand. Anyone can be saved-- its by faith. There is only Savior-- Jesus
Christ, put your faith in Him