Faith Like Rahab?

Top of the Morning to all!

As I have said before, I tend to have reading mood swings. I either read five plus books at once or one or less book a month. There is no in-between.

Last week I decided that I should take up reading again. And while I have started reading The Chronicles of Narnia series, as part of my goal list, I wanted to read more than just about a lion and a witch.

So, I went to the library and I got a stack of books.

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One of the books was called The Pearl in the Sand.

This book intrigued me because it was a novel about a Biblical character that is rarely talked about or mentioned. This book is the history and story of Rahab.

There is little told in the book Joshua about Rahab, just that she was a harlot, she lived in Jericho, and she saved the lives of the two spies from Israel.

Tessa Afshar brings to light the raw history of the time of Joshua and Jericho. She writes many novels based on Biblical times, which is a rare find in book land.

There were many elements to this book that I loved. The first is the history; the first few chapters of the book are about Rahab and her family living in Jericho, and you see the heathenistic, sinful ways of the people of Jericho. You see the idol worship, the sinful sacrifices to the gods, Rahab as a harlot, all the reasons why God wanted to bring down Jericho.

The second part that stood out to me was the number of times that Joshua, as he too was a main character in the book, said “let us see the guidance and will of the Lord.”

Joshua and the leaders of the Children of Israel didn’t make a move without talking to God first. And that is the keyword here, he talked to God, yes, he did pray to God, but it was not complicated or detailed.

Joshua went to God and sought God’s will on everything. How and when to attack a city, guidance on leading the people, settling disputes, Joshua went to God for everything.

How often do we display that amount of familiarity with God? We often use God as a plan B. If this doesn’t work, we will ask God. Let’s try and do it ourselves…God is not our plan B, C, or D. He should always be our plan A.

The first One who we should seek everything from. No matter how small the problem might be.

The last thing, well sort of, the whole book was amazing, that stood out was Rahab’s faith. Rahab grew up around false gods and idol worship, it was part of her culture to believe in them.

But when news started coming to Jericho that surrounding cities were crumbling under the Israel army, Rahab didn’t believe any god could do that. Only a powerful, One True God could do such a feat. And Rahab believed.

Joshua 2:10-11 says

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.

Rahab knew that there was no possible way a fake idol or god could bring down large armies, cities, or even parting of the Red Sea. It was only God that could do that, and Rahab didn’t need any more proof than that. Rahab believed in God and gave up her sinful ways.

Many people in the Bible displayed a great amount of faith, such as; Noah, Ruth, Esther, Abraham, Moses, and so on. And we might say “oh to have a faith like Abraham!” He simply let God lead him into an unknown land and country, not knowing where God was leading him, but Abraham had faith in God.

But I can guarantee you’ve never said “oh to have a faith like…Rahab?”

Hebrews 11 is known as the Great Hall of Faith. In the chapter is listed many of the greatest people in the Bible who displayed an amazing amount of faith. Did you know Rahab, the harlot, was one of those people?

Hebrews 11:30-31

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.

31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

The only knowledge Rahab had about God were the stories being brought into Jericho by merchants, travelers, and even the spies themselves.

She knew nothing beyond the cities around her being destroyed and the Red Sea being parted. And yet she knew that this God was higher and more powerful than anything she ever knew. Rahab had seen firsthand that the sacrifices to the gods and the prayers did nothing except bring more misery.

So, she knew the God that was doing these extraordinary, was the One True God, and she put her faith into a completely different religion and culture.  

That took a great amount of faith. Because she knew Joshua was going to attack Jericho, people were going to die, and yet she had so much faith in this new God, that she asked the spies to spare hers and her family’s lives during the attack.

Joshua 2:12-13

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.”

Rahab hid the spies from the soldiers of Jericho and saved their lives, and in return, God spared her life and the lives of her family. The spies did not spare their lives, Joshua didn’t, God did.

Because when Jericho was attacked, the entire city collapsed, except for the wall that Rahab and her family were living on. Only God could bring down an entire city, save but one small part of a wall.

How often do we display such a faith? Often we don’t. Because we are naturally cynical and doubtful; we need proof and solid facts before we believe in anything. Rahab didn’t have either. And yet she put her full faith and trust in God without any reservation.

The rest of the book is all about Rahab’s growth in God and her learning the ways of the Children of Israel. And it talks of Rahab becoming the mother Boaz, who is in the lineage of Jesus.

This book has become a favorite; I highly recommend it. The story gives you a chance to look deep into the history of Jericho, Joshua, and a woman who displayed faith that we should strive to have.

Have a faith like Rahab.