Summary: Was God condoning Rahab’s lie because it saved the spies? Or was he working with her choices and granting mercy as she began her life as a believer in him? Rahab’s story is better than a Cinderella story, but we might not realize that until we are humble enough to admit that we need to be saved from our sin just as much as Rahab needed to be saved.
Transcript in progress:
Hello, I’m Laura. Today I want to share some thoughts on Rahab and what God says about lying.
We first hear of Rahab in the second chapter of Joshua – which is why we’re talking about her now – and she is described as a prostitute. I know that sometimes there is a discussion about exactly how that word should be translated there in the Old Testament, but since in both the book of Hebrews (specifically chapter 11 verse 31) and the letter from James, chapter 2 verse 25, refer to her as a harlot I’m going to go with that original, common translation of prostitute. It seems to be important to the story.
Now, first of all, the story of Rahab outdoes any Cinderella story that you’ve ever heard, because in the friendly children’s fairy tales, Cinderella is a victim of what’s been going on around her. And she’s otherwise known as very nice, sweet natured girl who is being taken advantage of.
I think one of the reasons the classic Cinderella tale resonates with so many people is because that’s how we like to see ourselves. We like to see ourselves as innocent victims, rather than like Rahab: as someone who really needs to be saved from sin.
Now obviously she’s not the only person in the Bible that needs to be saved, but she gives us a particular picture of this. So let’s just review a little bit of that.
She is a gentile woman – a prostitute – in a city that is so bad that when God says to destroy it, he says to destroy everything. Don’t keep anything.
But Rahab, because she fears the power and judgement of God as she has seen it displayed – because even though the children of Israel had to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years because they had such short memories and couldn’t have faith in God – the people of Jericho had been watching for 40 years in fear, waiting for the judgement to come.
So all Rahab did was recognize who God was and ask for mercy.
And this is where the story gets a little bit tricky, because in her attempt at her first steps of faith in asking for mercy from God she lies. But I want to talk about how I think that should be properly viewed in the story on the basis of what the whole Bible says about lying.
But first, let’s round out the summary of Rahab and point out that not only was she and her whole family – she saved her whole family by initiating that step of faith – they were brought in to live with the people of Israel, but she got married by one of the spies, Salmon, and became the mother of Boaz