MERIDIAN — “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 (NKJV)
Hebrews 11 lists famous people in the Bible that were considered heroes of the faith. One would think this list would be well known individuals that lived exemplary lives. To coin an often used statement, we would expect to hear, “They loved everyone and never said an unkind word!” The fact is all had flaws and most had dark chapters in their backgrounds.
One name in the list that stands out as a surprising entry is Rahab. Rahab is a harlot from Jericho at the time that the Hebrews entered the Promised Land. Joshua 2 is the Old Testament account of her chance meeting of two spies that were sent ahead by their leader, Joshua. I have often wondered how these two men explained to their families how they went into a strange town and found the hospitality of a harlot their preferred abode. The fact is that this meeting is God’s way of protecting everyone concerned.
God protected the men by sending them to one who believed in God. Rahab tells the spies that all have heard how the Lord had worked with the Hebrews during the Exodus and how He had helped them conquer previous enemies. Her conclusion was, “For the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” Rahab could have been a person of fear and given these men to the leaders of the city. Instead, Rahab was a person of faith who believed what she heard about God.
God protected the men through the actions of the harlot. Rahab hid the men on her roof and distracted those seeking them. Because of Rahab’s actions, she secured the safety of the Hebrews and surrendered the safety of her town. This action reveals an intentional choice to align herself with “the God in heaven above and earth beneath.”
God protected Rahab through the response of the two Hebrews. They promised to rescue her when the city was attacked. Later, because of their report to Joshua, Rahab and all her family was rescued before the city was destroyed.
Now it may seem strange that God would protect a sinful person. The fact is anyone God protects or rescues is a sinner. Even the worst of lifestyles can qualify for grace. No one need be left out of God’s care. But intentional choices must be made to facilitate the safety and positive future God offers.
To become a person celebrated as faithful, we must believe what we hear about the God who helps. A choice must be made as to whom we serve. Secondly, our actions need to be consistent with what we say we believe. Our actions reveal our commitment. Thirdly, we must rely on God’s promises. In the right time, and in the right way, God will protect us in our times of need.
I’m glad a prostitute is in the roll call of the faithful. That lets me know there could be room for me. No one needs to be left out!
Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www. psdbc.org.