Rahab knew what she was doing.
Two men arrived at her house. Not family, friends or neighbors. Two men perceived as spies by her neighborhood. Enemies.
But instead of preparing to launch some sort of offensive assault she….welcomed them? What was she thinking?
She recognized the sacred opportunity before her to show hospitality to the stranger. Middle eastern culture emphasized the practice of hospitality. However, Jewish law took it a step further. Culturally subversive. Intimidating. It demanded humility and seeing others through a different lens. It required trust in a God who was known to see them, hear them, and provide for needs. Even when that appeared differently than expected.
“You must treat foreigners with the same loving care—
remember, you were once foreigners in Egypt.
Reverently respect God, your God, serve him, hold tight to him,
back up your promises with the authority of his name. Deut. 10:19-20
But what about Rahab? She was not Jewish. Her eyes and ears were not privy to the generational retelling of the stories of God’s movement in their lives. Yet, even the walls of Jericho could not keep the truth of the God who knows his people intimately from seeping in. She caught whiffs of it and the residue remained in her being. Her transformation happened behind the scenes. And shaped her to be ready for divine purposes.
“Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God?” James 2:24
Culturally speaking, the colliding of the three narratives were scandalous. Two men on a mission from God took refuge in the home of a prostitute? Her lie to the king?
But labels and scrutiny don’t hinder God’s work.
“She lowered them down out a window with a rope because her house was on the city wall to the outside. She told them, “Run for the hills so your pursuers won’t find you. Hide out for three days and give your pursuers time to return. Then get on your way.” Joshua 2:15-16
In return, her family received the promise of protection from the force of impending destruction. Three lives liberated. A whole lineage transformed. The God that Rahab had heard about showed his presence. She walked into this moment casting away any human judgement of her actions or narrative. Because the bigger story God is writing unfolds in spite of them.
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