Today we’re kicking off a new series on the blog. It’s for all you single ladies out there, but if you’re not in that category, don’t let that put you off. You’re about to meet some of the most intriguing, courageous women in the Bible. They happen to be single, but that fact doesn’t stop them from taking huge leaps of faith.
I want to introduce you to one of my favourite women in the Bible. Her name is Rahab, and her first appearance is in the Book of Joshua. She’s introduced not just as Rahab but as Rahab the harlot. Yes, she’s a prostitute, and I love that the Bible makes no attempt to pretty up her occupation. What if we didn’t know that about her? She might seem a little too perfect, this courageous, think-fast-on-her-feet Jericho woman.
Just in case you don’t know the story, Rahab’s the one who hides the two men Joshua sends to Jericho to scope out the city. They arrive at Rahab’s house to lodge, but word travels fast and reaches the king. Rahab hides the spies on her roof, sends the king’s men off on a wild goose chase after them and then heads back up to the roof. She tells these two strangers why she’s risking her life to hide them. Because of her faith in their God. The Bible doesn’t tell us how she knows Joshua’s God was real, but she does. She says, “The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). She negotiates with the men, asking them to spare her as well as her parents and siblings. The men agree to protect her but only if she brings her entire family to her home and hangs a scarlet cord in the window. (Spoiler alert: A few chapters later, we find that Rahab and her family were spared.)
I don’t know about you, but I imagine Rahab to be a beautiful woman and that everyone near her was well aware of her occupation. Clearly, her family did not live with her. Perhaps they would have nothing to do with this daughter and sister who was a harlot, although she loved them enough to bargain for their safety as well as hers. I wonder if she had many friends or if the local citizens were more likely to cross the street when they saw her coming.
Whatever others may have thought about her, it doesn’t matter. We’re given one final mention of her, one more glimpse at the way God sees his precious Rahab, in Hebrews 11, the chapter that lists people in the Bible who were known for their great faith. A kind of faith Hall of Fame. Here she’s referred to once again as not simply Rahab but as Rahab the harlot. Just in case we forgot who and what she was when she took her leap of faith.
Being single may look different in 2020. Faith might look like showing up at your not-so-great-job, navigating those bumpy relationships with family, or reaching out to a friend who’s hurting. You’re probably not hiding spies on your roof or misdirecting the king’s men, but don’t forget that you’re a beautiful, beloved daughter of the King of Kings. And if you ever feel flawed, disregarded or alone, remember Rahab the harlot.