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Years ago, a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying
her tiny baby in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blinding blizzard. She never reached her
destination, and when the blizzard had subsided her body was found by searchers beneath a
mound of snow. But they discovered that before her death, she had taken off all her outer
clothing and wrapped it about her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise
and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life
for her child, proving the depths of her mother love. Years later that child, David Lloyd George,
grown to manhood, became prime minister of Great Britain, and, without doubt, one of
England’s greatest statesman.
We have all come to know how far a mother will go to take care of her family.
Joshua Chapter 2 opens with Joshua sending spies out to survey the land of Jericho
which the Lord had promised The Children of Israel. The next scene is set in the home of a
prostitute named Rahab who becomes the heroine and savior of the people of Israel. Rahab is
one of the few women mentioned in the book of Joshua, better known for its theme of war and
conquest. Women are relegated to the fringe of this narrative and usually have very limited
roles in the dramatic scenes we are exposed to in the book of Joshua.
Rahab is the exception as she becomes an unwitting accomplice to the overthrow and
demise of the people who occupy The Promise Land. Rahab is viewed as industrious and
resourceful as she finds a way to preserve her life and the lives of her extended family; she
seems to have a way of surviving in her world.
The occupation of a prostitute was seen in a cultural context as being a job born of
necessity seeing as Rehab looked to be providing for herself as well as her extended family.
Rehab has a rather cosmopolitan connection to the outside world as you hear her recite back to
the spies in great detail the news reports that have circulated concerning their exploits; she
seems to have been reading the newspaper and keeping up with the goings on of this rather
infamous group of people. It is in this moment that we see the true resourcefulness of Rehab as
she cajoles the spies and covers them at the same time. Rahab not only hides the spies but she
sends the guards who are enquiring of their whereabouts on a wild chase that will allow the
spies to get away to safety. In keeping with her quick witted and creative way of living Rahab
realizes that her best chance for survival is to align herself with these eventual victors to solidify
posterity for herself and her kinsmen.
Here are some thoughts from the text we have read today:
Some people are defined by their occupation (Joshua 2:1)
a. Rahab’s job was practically her last name – “Rahab the harlot”
b. There were two kinds of prostitutes in her day
1) Religious prostitutes – those who worked in the Canaanite Temple
2) Run-of-the-mill harlots – those who worked for cash (Rahab)
c. Prostitutes were social outcasts—ostracized moral lepers, tolerated but never
1. Some people are defined by providence (wisdom) (Joshua 2:2-5)
a. The spies needed a place to hide and providentially showed up at Rahab’s door
b. Rahab had a decision to make, cooperate or risk losing her life. (vs.3)
c. “In every life story, including our own, decisions are made in haste that
determine the course of eternity.” (Liz Curtis Higgs) (v.4)
d. Rehab realized that something was about to change – a shift, an upheavalspiritual or otherwise was about to sweep through Jericho. (vs.5)
2. Rehab made a choice (Joshua 2:8-11)
a. She heard the word concerning the acts of God (vs.10-11)
b. She believed the word spoken by others (vs.9)
c. Which led to faith (confession, action) in God. (vs.9)
3. Rahab made a covenant (Joshua 2:12-14)
a. Swear by the Lord…to show kindness to my family…because I have shown you
b. Give me a sign that you will save my family from death (vs.13)
c. The men reply with conditions: “if you don’t tell what we are doing.” (vs.14)
1) If you love me keep my commands (John 14:15)
2) If you worship me, it will all be yours.
3) If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land
4) By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one
another (John 13:35)
5) But if you are led by the spirit you are not under the law. (Gal.5:18)
6) If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how
can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will
you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? (Jer.12:5)
Rahab can and should be viewed as a savior of sorts as she operates with a keen
awareness that things are about to change in her and her family’s life and rather than take a
chance that it will go well for her she becomes proactive and secures her own place and future
with the people of God.