1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. Hebrews 11:1-2.
Faith, as discussed before, is believing what God has said in His Word. However, this belief is not static, but it is very dynamic as illustrated for us by the famous Hall of Faith given in Hebrews 11. Each individual that is commended for their faith demonstrated it by their actions as recorded in Hebrews 11. As James said in James chapter 2
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17
So genuine faith will result in works that verify that faith. James mentions two individuals who demonstrated their faith by their works, whereas, there are numerous individuals who are extolled for their faith in Hebrews 11. I would like to focus on one of the individuals who is promoted by both James and Paul, the harlot Rahab.
Rahab is always linked with her vocation whenever she is referenced in the New Testament, except when named in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Because of her profession she would seem to be a very unlikely candidate for being a glowing example of faith, but that is just what she is. We learn about Rahab in Joshua chapter 2.
1 Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. 2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent 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 country.” 4 Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5 “And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” 6 (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) 7 Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued 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, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. 10 “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token. 13 And spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.” 15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. 16 And she said to them, “Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way.” 17 So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18 unless when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. 19 So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.” 21 Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” 21 And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window. Joshua 2:1-21
22 But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.” 23 And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. Joshua 6:22-23
So the spies, prompted by Joshua the leader of the Israelites, honored the covenant they had made with Rahab. She later married Salmon and begot Boaz who is in the lineage of King David and of Jesus Christ.
Rahab displayed extraordinary faith in sheltering the spies, protecting them from the king’s men, requesting protection for herself and her family members, sending them out another way, and tying the scarlet rope in her window as a covenant sign between herself and the spies. Her actions were motivated by her belief that God is God in heaven and on the earth. She was fearful like her fellow countrymen, but unlike them, she didn’t turn to the idols of the land to save her. Instead, she turned to the One true God who rules over heaven and earth, and she didn’t request salvation for herself alone, but also for her whole family. By God’s mercy and grace the testimony that she gave to her family members was believed by them and so they too were saved from God’s wrath upon that heathen city. Read the commendation given to her in James 2 and Hebrews 11:
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? James 2:25 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. Hebrews 11:31
This work of faith by the harlot Rahab is repeated over and over in the lives of those who turn from the lie and embrace the truth of the gospel, being saved from God’s just wrath, and serve Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Who do not continue in the vain opinions of men and the doctrines of demons but rely wholly on the Scriptures as their source of the truth of God. Who boldly proclaim the gospel to all for God’ glory and the salvation of those who hear and believe.
8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10&
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13
May our Father in heaven be pleased with our work of faith as we serve Him, turning from the lies of the enemy to His truth in His Word the Bible in obedient faith, and sharing the glorious gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.