We started this devotional by reflecting on why Jesus would choose women with questionable backgrounds to be listed in his genealogy. Since he was perfect, shouldn’t his lineage include women who were at least close to perfect? No, Jesus is and has always been ahead of the game. He chose women like Tamar and Rahab to show that he could use any one of us who puts our trust in him. The second woman who was in line with Jesus according to Matthew 1 is Rahab.
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In Line with Jesus- Rahab
Rahab was the second woman named in the New Testament (Matthew 1:5). Just like her forerunner, Tamar, she wasn’t exactly from the right side of town, so to speak. Rahab was also a Canaanite woman. Canaanites were idolatrous people who were cursed by Noah because of their wickedness (Genesis 9:20-27). She was from Jericho, a land that the Lord was giving to the children of Israel. And if that were not bad enough, Joshua 2:1 tells us that she was a prostitute. Most people would probably agree that her profession should have probably disqualified her from being a part of a royal line. And while that may be true in the natural, her faith in the spiritual is what saved her.
Rahab was a very brave woman. Though she was probably seen as a disgrace, she used her dishonorable position as a prostitute to stay updated on what was going on. She kept her ears open and likely overheard all the latest news. Rahab knew about how God dried up the Red Sea for his people and destroyed the two kings of the Amorites. She also knew the fear of God that had taken over her people.
Our hearts melted when we heard these things, and no man had any breath in him because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.Joshua 2:11, Modern English Version
When two spies sent by Joshua came to the house of Rahab for the night, she seized her opportunity. It was now or never and Rahab knew what she had to do. The king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab to send out the Israelite spies. Instead of complying, she took a big risk and hid them in the stalks of flax she had spread out on the roof. When the king’s men came looking for the spies, she told them she did not know where they were from, but they had left when it was time to shut the gate at dark.
Before the Israelites went to sleep, Rahab went on to her roof to speak with them. She explained why she had helped them, and admitted that everyone was full of terror because they knew the Lord had given the land over to the Israelites. She, then, asked for mercy and protection for her father’s house. Since she lived on the wall, she lowered them out the window by rope. They agreed that she would tie a red cord to that window as a sign to the Israelite army.
Because of Rahab’s great faith, quick thinking, and bravery, she was able to save her immediate family, extended family, and everyone who belonged to her. I could imagine she went from being treated poorly and looked down upon to being considered a brave hero. What pride her parents must have felt to know she was the reason they were all spared.
As if that weren’t sweet enough, she went from a life of insecurity as a prostitute to becoming the wife of an Israelite, Salmon. She birthed Boaz and clearly raised him right because he turned out to be a wealthy and honorable man.
We are not told what led Rahab to becoming a prostitute and it really doesn’t matter. She was redeemed and given back her dignity. Her faith in the Lord enabled her to join Jesus’ family line. And I believe that the love her son, Boaz, had for her is what led him to have a compassionate heart towards Ruth. Ruth was a fellow faithful foreigner, who would also become part of the genealogy of Christ.
Sometimes, the idea that we are washed clean from past sins is a bit much to take in. Do you ever think you have crossed that line and there’s no turning back? Do you tell yourself that God could not possibly give you yet another chance after returning to your sin again and again? That is truly the farthest thing from the truth. I won’t say our sins don’t grieve God, but his love for us is soooo much stronger. Take a few minutes today to think about those places you feel stuck, the sin that you are most ashamed of. Repent and ask God to take the desire, guilt, and negative thoughts away. Ask him to help you see with his eyes and to fill you with his love and peace. I promise you, he is faithful.
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