8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 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 Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. -Joshua 2:8-11
Two spies from Israel had infiltrated Jericho. Discovered, they were now on the run from certain death. They fled to the house of Rahab, a local prostitute, who both hid them and lied to the arriving guards in order to protect their lives. In their conversation, she shared, “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
Modern readers often view Rahab as the “bad girl.” Yet she both saved lives and acknowledged the true God. Despite her past, she left a legacy mentioned alongside Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and even Moses in the “hall of faith” of Hebrews 11.
This whole story has caused me to rethink faith. Her declaration was the same as mine, that the Lord is God. Her actions helped those in need, just as I desire to do. Yet she was known more for her past sins and even lied to save lives. This messy scenario reveals there are times that don’t fit the theology textbooks but take a closer look at how God sometimes chooses to work in the reality of sinful humanity.
For example, is lying a sin? The Bible says yes. It’s also one of the Ten Commandments: “Do not lie.” But Rahab was considered noble for this act. Why? Not for lying, but for saving lives. Not for her past sins, but for expressing faith despite her sins.
We can all learn from her today. Are we declaring our faith in God despite the flaws of our past? Are we working to save lives and help those in need? This is what God desires. Not a perfect past, but a transformed today.
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Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of all 31,173 verses of the Bible at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.