While you would expect the Son of God’s family tree to be filled with perfect people, the lineage of Jesus is speckled with scandal. Even Jesus’ birth was scandalous…proving that God is not concerned with the opinions of man. Nor is He unwilling to use imperfect people. As I introduce you to one of the women in Jesus’ lineage, you will find grace for your own story. There’s nothing in your past that can disqualify you, and none of your flaws or messes can change God’s mind about your destiny.
An outcast. An outsider. An outlaw.
Rahab’s story is a unique one and yet it echoes one of the most prevalent themes of scripture: the outcast and sinner finding redemption and a home.
By all means, Rahab had no right to belong with the people of Israel. For one, she was a Canaanite—an enemy of Israel. Not only was she a Canaanite, she was a prostitute—a profession strictly forbidden to Israelites. Some scholars speculate that she was actually an innkeeper or brothel owner because the Hebrew word is unclear, however most agree that her profession was, in fact, prostitution.
Although Rahab was considered an enemy of Israel, she put her life on the line by hiding two Israelite men from the authorities. In sheltering them, she defied her people and chose to ally herself with Israel. She gives the reason for this in Joshua 2:11 where she shares that she’s heard of all that God has done for Israel. Her last sentence is a powerful declaration of faith: "he is God in the heavens above and the earth beneath." While the Canaanite peoples had their own gods (including Moloch, who required child sacrifices), Rahab realized that there was one true God and He was with Israel. And she wanted to be too.
A RADICAL RISK
Rahab hid the Israelite spies and then gave them specific instructions to stay safe. They agreed to save her and her family. As a sign of their agreement, Rahab would hang a scarlet cord from her window. Not only did she save the Israelite men, she saved her family, and herself.
Isaiah 1: 18 says, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow." Rahab's life is a beautiful picture of this verse. The radical power of God’s forgiveness applies to any of your mistakes as well. There’s no asterisk to this verse. There’s no condition to His sacrifice. There’s no sin, no mistake, no event from the past that is excluded from His ability to wash you white as snow.
Do you dare to take it a step further? Do you dare to extend your faith for redemption beyond forgiveness? Rahab is included in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith. A prostitute, an outsider, a foreigner, listed amongst the Greats for all of eternity. She isn't remembered for her sins or her past, rather her decision to align herself with God's people.
You are no longer defined by your past or your mistakes. You will be remembered for the righteous choices you made and the life of faith you’ve lived. You will be remembered as a woman that dwelled in the Promised Land. Anything that tells you otherwise is a lie that needs to be pointed back to the cross.