Rahab: A Lesson in Identity
Temptress. Harlot. Loose woman.
I can feel the weight of these words even as I put them to paper. The shame and dishonor that radiates from their meanings and actions.
I often wonder how Rahab felt during the daytime hours as she went to market or simply sat in the sunshine for fresh air. Did she look down, pretending to focus on the dust clinging to her sandals, or did she keep a watchful eye in hopes of making eye contact with a passerby due to her deep yearning to be seen and valued?
I assume by the scriptures describing Rahab, the town folks shunned her and shamed her. Rahab was known as a prostitute in the town of Jericho.
Mercifully, we learn that Rahab was more than her past, and through God’s grace and her great faith, she was redeemed.
“By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.” Hebrews 11:31 HCSB
Rahab’s redemption story in Joshua 2:1-21 is a perfect depiction of how God invites everyday people, less than perfect people with sinful pasts, to come alongside Him and partner in bringing His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
I don’t believe Rahab was a prostitute living within the wall of Jericho by accident. Let me preface by saying that I don’t think it was God’s will for Rahab to enter into prostitution and the bondage that comes with being a temptress. I believe God gives us beauty for ashes, worth for shame, and the purpose of heaven for earthly desires – which is precisely what He did with Rahab.
God chose Rahab to bring His promise to the Israelites into fruition. God appointed Rahab, a woman with a sinful past, to carry out His plans which ultimately led to her transformation. Her faith encouraged and her life changed – she found a new identity in Christ.
“Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two men as spies from the Acacia Grove, saying, ‘Go and scout the land, especially Jericho.’ So they left, and they came to the house of a woman, a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there.’” Joshua 2:1 HCSB
Rahab, a Canaanite woman, had spiritual discernment in knowing that her city would be given over to the Israelites. Due to her bravery, she jumped into action and hid the Israelite spies. Rahab then concocted a story to protect the Israelite spies, lying to the king of Jericho and sending him and his men away on a wild goose chase. Rahab was faithful in her word and deeds. She committed her life to the Lord’s plans, and she was fearless in her pursuit of purpose. In exchange for her kindness, Rahab asked for kindness to be shown to her family (protection and safety).
Her courageous faith not only saved her from imminent death, but her identity as a woman of the night was rewritten to that of godly wife and mother and the greatest grandmother of Jesus.
Does her story of redemption encourage you?
Does the story of Rahab inspire you as you question the purpose of your past?
I believe the significance of our past leads to our purpose. Our past also reminds us of our need for a Savior. However dark our past may be, we can have the utmost assurance that the Creator of the world loves us so much that He wrapped Himself in the flesh to break the bondage of sin and death so we could fully step into our identities. He came to restore and to redeem. Our past and present are memorial stones of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
As we are restored and redeemed, we are healed, and through our healing, we can help others heal. You see, God created us with a desire for connection. As His Church, we are to encourage and build one another up through the correction, edification, and accountability of His Word. One practical way we walk this out is through the honest and humble sharing of our testimony. Our stories connect us. When we share what God has done in our lives, our testimony is witness to what God has done for us and through us.
Through sharing our stories, we bring freedom to those looking for freedom. The weight is lifted. The chains are removed so we, just like Rahab, are no longer bound to our past, but our identity is new in Christ – redeemed and restored.
Rahab’s testimony is a story of beautiful grace bestowed upon her by our Most High God.
We believe by faith that Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for our past. We see the transformation of our lives as we walk with Him.
It is no coincidence that the things you’ve walked through in your past are a part of your influence here on earth. Your past experiences have given you wisdom and credibility to women who may be experiencing similar circumstances. The miracles God worked out in your brokenness will be encouraging and life-changing for another.
God redeems our heart posture for the one in front of us. As we begin to grasp how we have been saved from our own mess, the Holy Spirit begins to harvest the fruit of love and mercy within us. Because we have needed so much of the same from God and others, we begin to freely give of it through our own lives.
Joshua 2:18-21 describes the importance of the scarlet cord. The cord was a symbol of protection for Rahab and her family. Scarlet, a shade of red, is often mentioned in correlation with the sin of adultery. Yet, Jesus traded sin for His perfect, scarlet blood on the cross.
He redeemed shame for wholeness, worthlessness for purpose, and death for life.
And if He did it for Rahab, I have to believe that He will do it for each of us.
Most significant in the story of Rahab, I am encouraged that God uses us, women with a heart for God, regardless of our past, to join Him in kingdom building. I am thankful, grateful, and blessed for my new identity in Christ, and my prayer for you is that you, too, will celebrate your identity in Christ, giving God the glory and praise for His love and grace.
You, my dear friend, were appointed for such a time as this. I pray you will use your time to glorify God and generously serve those around you.
Keep on Shining!
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