10th December 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v31)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
If your granny was a prostitute I suspect you'd do everything in your power to avoid discussing her profession. The Apostle had no such concerns when it came to telling the story of Rahab. She too was a woman of faith and without beating about the bush, Paul calls her "Rahab the prostitute".
What was the story behind this? Joshua had sent out spies to find out as much as they could about the land and especially the city of Jericho (Joshua 2). Unfortunately the king of Jericho heard about Joshua's spies and sought to find the men and kill them. The spies had been lodging with Rahab but instead of handing her lodgers over to be killed, Rahab hid the spies on her roof. She went further still by telling the king that the spies had already left and that he should pursue them quickly.
Rahab saved the life of the spies and she bought them time so that they could escape back to Joshua. Rahab was not an Israelite, she had not escaped from Egypt, she hadn't followed Moses and she had not travelled with Joshua. Why would this woman act the way she did? Remarkably, she had heard about the Lord and had come to believe in God's promises. Rahab was a woman of faith.
Here is the whole story from her own mouth “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2v9-13)
When Jericho was destroyed Rahab and her family were kept safe. The spies suggested she hung a scarlet cord from her window which acted as a sign that she and her family were not to be hurt. Later she lived among the people of Israel in the promised land (Joshua 6v25). But don't be mistaken - Rahab wasn't a stranger, she was a woman of faith.
In Matthew's Gospel we are told that her husband was called Salmon and their son was called Boaz (Matthew 1v5). We meet Boaz in the book of Ruth and just as his own mother had once been a stranger, Boaz treats another stranger called Ruth with kindness. Boaz treats another stranger called Ruth with kindness. Years later this family appear in the genealogy of Christ and we surely remember that the one who trusts in Jesus will never be put to shame.
Christ didn't die to make good people better - the Gospel is life saving medicine for terminally ill sinners. Your granny may not have been a prostitute but she was a sinner. You may be seen as a fine upstanding member of your community but you are still a sinner. Who can be saved? Any and all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sinner, regardless of your past the door to salvation has not been barred against you. Cast down the scarlet cord of repentance and faith and you will be saved.
Q20 Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery? God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.