However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she lives in Israel to this day.
It’s a false dream that suggests humans can earn the favor of God by living a good life. It’s despicable arrogance that leads someone to think: “Unlike myself, that person over there does not deserve God’s favor!” The truth is: no one deserves God’s favor!
The Bible almost screams out the message: “There is no one that does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Yet, we humans are inclined to reject this—either because it appears too good to be true or because it seems too bad to be true. Both conclusions assume that we must be deserving of his love.
The truth is a hard pill to swallow. To admit that I am a lost and condemned creature strips me of any intrinsic value and all hope of redeeming myself.
It should! That’s the reality I need to face.
The Savior God reveals the basis for offering his favor and rescue. He shows his undeserved love with words and actions.
Rahab, the prostitute, is one such example.
She lived in Jericho at the time when Israel was entering the Promised Land. By the command of God, every living thing in her hometown was to be killed by the sword—every woman, man, and child; all of the cattle, the sheep, and the donkeys—every living thing in Jericho, except Rahab and her family.
Surely some of those people had lived a better life than this woman! Certainly the children had fewer sins on their records! So why did Rahab deserve to be spared?
She didn’t. She was lost to the kingdom of God. The grace of God spared her.
And how was this undeserved love given to her?
The New Testament explains: “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” (Hebrews 11:31).
This thing called faith—that sure, firm, trust in God—that’s what makes all the difference. It’s a matter of believing him when he says, “Son, daughter, be of good cheer! Your sin is forgiven! It is my gift, bought with the lifeblood of my Son!”
When Rahab the prostitute put her faith in this God, she was changed from heathen to servant of the Lord, from sinner to saint. Not only was her earthly life spared, but she gained eternal life in glory.
She even was given glory in her earthly life.
Saint Matthew pens the name “Rahab” as the great-great-grandmother of King David. Amazingly, she became an ancestor of Jesus, the promised Savior of the world! (Matthew 1:5)
That’s good to know. For, like Rahab, I, too, once was lost. But thank God, lost no more!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we sometimes sing the words, “Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—That saved a wretch like me!” We go on the explain, “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” Allow us evermore to see your love and glory. Lead us over life’s border to your Promised Land. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.