Only the Prostitute Shall Live

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It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. — Hebrews 11:31 NLT

I love the story of Rahab. She was a woman who, by all the standards set by God, should have had no part in the inheritance of the Israelites. Yet, she not only had an inheritance among the children of Israel, but she’s also listed in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:5).

We first meet Rahab in Joshua 2. The Israelites were on the verge of entering the Promised Land and, learning from the mistakes of the previous attempt that had been made 40 years earlier, sent two men instead of twelve to spy out the land.

We don’t know all of what the men saw or where they went, but we know they went into Rahab’s boarding house probably hoping to spend the night. But I guess they weren’t as sneaky as they thought they were because someone realized who they were and what they had been doing. The informant also knew the spies had gone to Rahab’s place. This information was reported to the king of Jericho (Joshua 2:2).

Then the king’s men showed up. I’m sure there must have been some amount of intimidation and fear on Rahab’s part but she had already made a decision to stand with the God of the Israelites.

Related: What Do You Know About God?

Fast-forward to Joshua 6. It was time to invade the land. And after seven days of silently marching around Jericho, the Israelites were told to give a mighty shout of praise which would cause the walls to come tumbling down (Joshua 6:1-16).

But first, Joshua, their esteemed leaders said these words,

Jericho and everything in it must be completely destroyed as an offering to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies.

Joshua 6:17 NLT, emphasis added

How cool is that? Only the prostitute, and those she had managed to bring under her roof, would be spared from the utter destruction that was coming.

A lot of us have things in our pasts that make us feel ashamed. We would want to erase them or go back in time with our present knowledge so that we didn’t do them at all. But God is capable of redeeming those messy, painful parts of our history. He’s able to use them to bring glory to His name.

There are three things Rahab’s story tell us about God:

1. God sees us where we are. For a lot of people, a woman with a past like Rahab’s wouldn’t have even been considered for any form of elevation. She would not have been deemed worthy of being saved. Yet God not only saw Rahab, He met her where she was.

2. God will use us if our hearts are in the right place. People look at us and they see the obvious: how we look, act, or dress. They know things we did in the past or maybe even things we do right now and they judge us because of them. And yes, how we feel on the inside does reflect in our actions.

But actions don’t always reflect our inner turmoil. They don’t always reflect areas in our lives where we want to do one thing but instead do the opposite.

The beautiful thing is that God knows our hearts. He knows our intentions and our deepest desires. God knows when our hearts are in the right place.

Only the Prostitute Shall Live
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3. He redeems what is broken and make them new. Our Redeemer lives! Rahab’s story tells us that God is able to use the things we hate about ourselves and wish we could change and make something beautiful out of it.

God hasn’t changed, friend, He still meets people where they are, elevating them to be in a relationship with Him. He still has the power to use your brokenness to demonstrate His power. Are you willing to let Him have control of your life?


Father, I submit my brokenness to You. Take the things that I’m ashamed of, the areas of my greatest weakness, and use them for your glory. I want to be a sign of faith like Rahab. In Jesus’s name, I pray, Amen.

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