This week, we’re going to look at Biblical future mother, Rahab. She’s important because she is one of only 4 women mentioned in the lineage of Christ and was also the great, great grandmother of King David. The story happens presumably before she was a mother, and it’s a doozy. You see, Rahab helps the Israelite nation overthrow her very own city!
Her story is told in Joshua 2 and 6. The book of Joshua starts right after the death of Moses, 40 years after he freed the Israelites from captivity in Egypt. God promised to bring Israel to the promised land. Joshua, who was Moses’ aide, gets this honor as God directs him to lead the people to a place called Jericho, which is already occupied. Joshua sends 2 spies ahead to check out the city, who end up staying with Rahab.
According to traditional interpretations of the bible, Rahab was a prostitute but my New International Version Bible has a “*” next to prostitute and says, “or innkeeper” at the bottom. However, Rahab is mentioned in both Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 and is directly called a prostitute. When the spies got there, they came upon her house and stayed with her. We don’t know why these two chose her home. What we do know is that Rahab shares how she and all her countrymen are terrified of the Israelites because they’ve heard of God parting the seas and then drowning the Egyptians and other terrifying tales of battles. She agrees to hide them and cover for them. Because of this, she and all her family are saved from the destruction of Jericho, in which everyone else was killed. Let’s look at the lessons that we can take as mothers from Rahab’s amazing example:
1. Have amazing faith.
So let’s think on this. The whole city knew what happened to the nations that came against the Israelites, the whole city was in terror but only this Rahab took this leap of faith, saying,
“And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” -Joshua 2:11
No one else in all of Jericho figured out that if God could do these things, maybe He WAS the one true God – only Rahab (and possibly her family) understood this in her heart. That’s amazing faith, and it saved her family from death. The walls of Jericho fell and whoever was left standing was killed – except for Rahab and her family. Imagine what they must have thought and felt when the dust cleared. God had saved them and maybe, just maybe, they saw the miracle in that. You too can have amazing faith that God is true, that God loves you and that God is protecting your children until they are able to choose Him for themselves. Your daily faith can clearly show them that lesson. My faith as a Christian has brought amazing, beautiful changes in my family and I continue to believe it can only get better.
2. When God speaks to your heart, listen.
Boy, did she listen: betraying her country, risking getting caught for treason, hiding spies. Ok, yes, she lied and that is a sin, but she was a new believer so she was bound to stumble. It can’t have been easy for Rahab to do what her heart told her was right but she did. As mothers, we need to listen intently for the God’s direction – not just for raising our families, but doing the right thing, giving up sinful ways, taking risks to protect our faith and not faltering in the face of culture, leaders, neighbors or conformity. Take heart that when you listen to God’s direction, He will bless you. God asked me to do something things in the last half year that I ABSOLUTELY did not want to do. I can call to mind, very clearly, 2 major occasions where the temptation to take the easy way and not listen was overwhelming. I know, though, that had I avoided those that I would be in a nasty, painful place, with the walls falling down around me today. Instead, I taste freedom and feel the sun on my face, in the way only renewing your life by following God’s direction can.
3. Give the best help you can.
Not only did she protect the spies by lying to the king’s representative, she instructed them where to hide until they could safely return to Joshua. How much are you doing for your loved ones or for others? Are you leaving it with, “Well, I’m done with the big thing, time to rest”? Or are you going that extra distance to make sure someone is not just protected in the moment but on the right path when they leave? Are you guiding your children with both words and actions and future direction? I have struggled with doing “just enough” in the last few months, but I was convicted it wasn’t enough. I took those steps to do more: lead more, pray more, heal myself more – even when it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I’m “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Phil. 3:1) and it’s been well worth it.
4. Replace fear with doing what’s right.
Rahab took the fear she felt and acted on action by protecting the spies, thereby saving her family and reaping the God’s favor. When scary stuff happens, do you freeze? This is a big struggle for me. Do you hyperventilate and get stuck in anxiety? Both are normal responses, but we need not give into them when there is a right action that we can take, even if it’s difficult. As I’ve discussed, this winter was very difficult. I did make some mistakes but I also did what I knew were right actions: working to fix what was broken in me, working to heal my marriage, prayer and scripture daily, asking advice from Christian friends, spending time with my family and no one else when that was required, making important sacrificial changes. It wasn’t easy. There were both bolt-and-run and freeze-panic reactions running through my brain, but instead, I did what I knew to be right. Even if I made mistakes in some places, those right actions saw me through to the very-good place my family is in today, the way Rahab’s right actions lead her family to the right place.
God Rewards Obedience – Abundantly!
And what was Rahab’s reward for doing all this?
- She rescued her family from certain death (and herself!)
- She met and married an Israelite man, despite her checkered past.
- She had a son who’s great grandson became a mighty king, and who’s last descendant was the King of Kings.
- She is one of the heroes of the Bible.
I’m betting Rahab had a very different vision of her future the first time she took money from a man for sex. I love, too, that we don’t hear much more about Rahab, like if she was wealthy or married a high priest or got a nice, brand new home. Her rewards were nothing tangible but they were huge!
One great thing about Rahab: like Eve, she didn’t look back either. She didn’t worry about her sins or worry that her “means justify the ends” lie could be a problem. She did the best thing she could: She listened to the mighty voice of the true God, believed, took action and did the right thing. As moms, we need to continue to do this for the benefit of all those we love, but most especially for our children. We can demonstrate, even as sinners, that God is powerful enough to save our families, if only we have the faith and courage to show them.
What big faith actions can you show your family today?