If you pay close attention, you’ll notice we write the name of our organization differently than a normal name. For us, RAHAB is an acronym. In our name, RAHAB stands for Reaching Above Hopelessness and Brokenness. But Rahab is also the name of a woman who had an eternal impact on the Kingdom of God.
You can find the beginning of her story in the Book of Joshua, Chapter 2. Joshua has just become the leader of the Israelites. With Joshua as leader, God has big plans to bring victory and power to His Kingdom. One of those plans includes capturing the city of Jericho. To accomplish this, God instructed Joshua’s army to march around the city of Jericho 7 times. After, they yelled loudly, the walls fell, and the city was captured.
But before the walls fell, before Joshua’s armies even began to march, he had help on the inside. Joshua sent spies into the city to gather intel.
The spies had stumbled into the house of Rahab. The book tells us early that Rahab was regarded as a prostitute. In fact, if you hear her name in a sermon today you might still hear them refer to her as “Rahab the prostitute.” The Bible isn’t clear on why they entered her home. Some reasons may be Rahab already had a bad reputation, was likely written off by society, and lived on the far exterior of the city. She was invisible in many ways. The spies probably assumed this would make her home the perfect hideout.
Despite all this, the king discovered them and sent soldiers to Rahab’s house and demanded she turn over the spies. Instead, she lies to the king and hides the men away in her attic while she sends the guards in another direction.
Once the guards have left and dusk sets in, she approaches the spies. Rahab explains that she knows the God who sent them, and that God has given them this land. She tells the spies about the fear in Jericho, that her people know the power of God and that He’s coming. “…for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below,” she declares.
She makes a deal with the spies–for their protection she demands that when the army takes Jericho, they spare her family. Rahab trusts that her faithfulness to the God who is coming will be repaid with faithfulness from Him and His army. The spies tell her to hang a scarlet cord on her window, and, when the army comes, her family will be spared.
That was the beginning of Rahab’s story–the end can be found in Matthew 1:5 where she is listed in the bloodline of Jesus. From this genealogy, we also know she was the grandmother of Boaz, the family redeemer in the Book of Ruth.
Rahab had a past. Rahab had been cast aside by society, left to live on the outskirts of her town. She was given a label that she hasn’t even escaped thousands of years later.
Exactly as she was, Rahab made one radical decision of faith and love that altered the course of history. In God’s faithfulness, Rahab the prostituted woman had a direct hand in bringing the Son of God to earth to bring Salvation.
When we talk about Rahab, with her label, her past, and her broken city, she is easy to recognize. We serve her every day. We are her every day.
God has blessed RAHAB the organization with the honor of interacting with Rahab every single day. In outreach, at our Drop-In homes, in our youth programs–Rahab is here. And in our staff, our lives, and our volunteers–Rahab is here. She is every one of us amid a broken world, with a past and a label that feels like it will follow us forever. But even if it does, God has big plans that no label will ever stop.
RAHAB gets to share Rahab’s story, what Jesus did, and that one decision of bold faith can change a life, or history, forever. God can use and will use anyone exactly as they are to do miraculous things. We know this because He used Rahab first.
We often call her our namesake, and while she is, Rahab is also a reminder to serve well.
Jesus tells us that whatever we do (or don’t do) for the least of these, it will be as if we did it to Him (Matthew 25:37-40). Imagine how different this story would be if the King of Jericho had treated Rahab like she was a blood-related family member of the Son of God. Little did the King of Jericho know, she was. Even on her worst day, even when she was totally lost, God knew her and had great plans for her. Rahab was a woman who changed the world with her faith. And now, today, RAHAB Ministries serves women and youth who can do exactly the same thing.
By Rebecca Kahle