Tuesday, February 08, 2011



As we make our way through this Hall of Faith I want to offer you several real-life examples of a faith-lift. In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews this is illustrated by many key characters-Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua. Now we come to a most surprising person who is listed as a Hall of Fame person of faith. This one is very different. This one is a woman, but not any woman. This person of faith in God is a prostitute by the name of Rahab. It says: By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

Rahab was very instrumental in the destruction of Jericho and the siege of the land of Canaan. When Joshua sent spies into the land, it says: So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.

Here's how the story unfolds: It was told the king of Jericho, saying, "Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land." And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land." But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. "It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them."

To sum up, Rahab hid the spies and lied to the king's men about it. So, she hid them on her rooftop until the king's men left the city and the city gate was shut. But before they went to sleep, she asked for a commitment that she and her family would not be harmed in the battle for Jericho. They agreed and told her to make certain to place a scarlet thread in the window.

Rahab confessed her faith in the Lord and said: "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted 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, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath."

The next morning she let them down out of the city through that window. After letting them down out of her window, Rahab tied the scarlet cord in her window and no one in her home was destroyed when the children of Israel took the city of Jericho.

James used Rahab to illustrate his major point of the balance of faith and works. He says: You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. Her faith in the Lord was clear and her works that demonstrated her faith was when she risked her own life in order to hide the spies from the king's men.

Rahab was a harlot. She used to manage a place called Rahab's Rest Stop! HOWEVER. And this is the great HOWEVER of God. God used her for His great purpose. No matter what you have done in the past or are now doing in the present, God will accept your faith. Her works proved her faith conclusively.

Do you ever feel that your past or present lifestyle holds you back from being used by God? Rahab had a very colorful past, but when she was given an opportunity from God, she seized it. Note that she seized it by her faith in the God of Israel and the proof of her faith was clear through her works.

The pendulum swing is between faith on one side and works on the other. Many are into faith alone. Others are into works alone. But there must be a union of both faith and works. It's like a rowboat with two oars-one is faith and the other is works. If you insist on using only one of these oars, you'll just go in circles-you'll go nowhere.

So how does Rahab's story help you to demonstrate the balance of the two? FIRST-No matter your past or your present situation, God will honor your genuine faith.

SECOND-God will honor your genuine faith when He can see your faithful works.

THIRD-God will honor your genuine faith and faithful works by using them for His purposes.

FOURTH-God will reward your genuine faith and faithful works with personal protection for you and your family in the worst of times.

Rahab demonstrated the works of faith-the fact that faith and works are never alone. Martin Luther put it this way: "Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone." In other words, the work of faith is the only faith that works! All other expressions of faith without works are simply empty.