It isn’t always easy to believe that God has a plan and hope for us. Lots of thoughts can come up, discouraging us from living the hopeful life God has called us to.
Maybe you have said or done things that you know are wrong. When you are often reminded of your ugly past, you feel like you could never be accepted by God.
Maybe you see the great difference between your own life and the life the Bible speaks of. You are ashamed of what you have done in the past, and you are ashamed that you are not more godly. You wish to live a life of purity and goodness but are so far from it.
Don’t give up! No matter how dark things may look, you have a hopeful future – just like Rahab of Jericho.
It looked as if there was no hope…
Rahab was a Canaanite woman, a citizen of a nation who worshipped idols. She had no part in the promises of Israel. And she was a prostitute, something that God hated. (Deuteronomy 23:17.)
God had promised the land Rahab lived in to the nation of Israel. (Genesis 17:8.) When Rahab and her people heard that the people of Israel were coming to conquer Jericho, an important city in Canaan, they feared for their lives. They knew that the same God who delivered His people from Egypt would give Israel the victory in Jericho.
“We were afraid as soon as we heard about it; we have all lost our courage because of you. The Lord your God is God in heaven above and here on earth.” Joshua 2:9-11 (GNT).
Even before Rahab met the Israelites and their mighty army, she believed in the God of Israel. She had heard of His power and how He had saved and protected Israel, and this put a faith in her heart that He was truly the Lord.
But outwardly, things didn’t look hopeful for Rahab. What reason did she have to hope or believe that she could be spared? Why would this God, whom she had not known before, have any reason to save her, or her family, above others in Jericho?
But even though the situation looked totally hopeless, Rahab did not lose hope. When two Israelite spies came to her home, Rahab hid them from the king of Jericho. She then boldly asked the spies to promise that she and her family would be saved when Israel attacked the city. The men told Rahab that if she hung the same red cord from her window by which they would escape, she and everyone in her house would be spared. In complete faith, Rahab tied the cord to her window and said: “Let it be as you say.” (Read the whole story in Joshua 2.)
Even though things looked dark and impossible, Rahab kept hope and faith that she and her family could be saved.
In Hebrews 11, the apostle writes about the power of faith. He starts the chapter by writing: “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. It was by their faith that people of ancient times won God's approval.” Hebrews 11:1-2 (GNT). Then he names many examples of people who made decisions of faith, and Rahab is included in this list: “It was faith that kept the prostitute Rahab from being killed with those who disobeyed God, for she gave the Israelite spies a friendly welcome.” Hebrews 11:31 (GNT).
It did not matter to God what Rahab had done in the past. It did not matter what family she was born into, or where she lived. What mattered and what was important was that she believed in God, and believed that He could save her.
Because she was not Jewish, Rahab could not be sure to get the promises of Israel. But because she believed, without doubting, that God could do for her what He had done for Israel, she hid the spies and asked to be spared when Israel would conquer Jericho. It was this act of faith that showed that she was righteous. (James 2:25.)
God’s Word tells us that “… the payment for sin is death”. Romans 6:23 (GW). We have all sinned, but if we believe, God also has a plan to save us from the destruction of sin and make us part of His promises!
“For God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all people. That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world, as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ will appear. He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good.” Titus 2:11-14 (GNT).
“Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3 (GNT).
This means that, just like Rahab, our faith will lead us to do something – to give up ungodly living and the worldly passions that we are tempted to! That is why Paul writes about the “obedience of faith”. (Romans 1:5.) Faith leads to actions.
Rahab became part of God’s promises
As a result of Rahab’s faith, she and her family were spared and became part of the nation of Israel and of the promises of Israel. (Joshua 6:22-25.) Rahab herself became one of Jesus’ ancestors. (Matthew 1:5.)
Rahab is an example to us today, teaching us that no matter how things have gone in the past – or how dark things may look in the present – faith in God and obedience to His word will save us from the destruction of sin and give us a hopeful future in the kingdom of God.
Let us make use of the possibilities we have in Christ Jesus, and live in this same spirit of faith, so that we too can get the eternal blessings that God has promised all those who have placed their hope in Him!