By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Hebrews 11:31(NIV)
Sometimes we call Hebrews Chapter 11 the Hebrews Hall of Faith because it lists a number of Israel’s heroes who were known for their great acts of faith. One surprise in that list is a prostitute who was commended for her faith. As you might expect, this is highly unusual. Why is her name there? Because she was partly responsible for the first victory of God’s people when they entered the Promised Land.
When Joshua sent spies to search out the land God had given them, they landed at the home of Rahab. There they found protection as she hid them on her roof and turned away those looking for them. In return for her favor, she and her family were spared when God’s people conquered her city, Jericho.
Certainly this is an amazing story. Just think: God used a sinner and a foreigner from the “enemy side” to help the Israelites make their first big advance into the Promised Land. It shows that God is not dependent on the greatness or strength of any person to accomplish His will. Even those who appear to be far from God have a place in His plan.
Even more incredible is the fact that Rahab is listed in Mathew’s Gospel as one of the ancestors in the family line of David, and as a result, she is in the family line of Christ! It’s all part of the wonderful story of God’s redemption. He who was not a sinner was born from among sinful people to provide for them what they could not provide for themselves: the payment for their sin.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)