Helping the Enemy Joshua 2; 6:17-25; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25
“I didn’t have a choice”, she said, in answer to my question. “You see, at that time in my life I was in a situation that gave me access to information. I was an innkeeper. Many travelers came to my door, from all kinds of places and all kinds of businesses. I listened to their talk and I knew what was going on. We knew about the Israelite tribe that was camped just across the Jordan. Everyone knew about the great army of people who seemed to be wandering around in the wilderness forever, but there were rumors. They seemed to be preparing to move again.”
She stood tall and looked straight at me. “And thank you for not asking if I was a prostitute. Some innkeepers did provide for the travelers. Let’s just say, God provided for me.”
While I noticed that she had not answered the unasked question, she made it clear that she considered it irrelevant to her story as she went on. “Our people had heard stories about their God, and about their great leader, Moses. Their God was so great that they didn’t even have to work for food! Then we heard that Moses was gone and they had a new leader. All the rumors made everyone nervous; our king even sent spies to check on them.” She paused and added, “Like I said, I had ways of knowing these things.”
“And because of the things that I had heard and observed, I began to realize something. Our kings and our gods had no power. The leaders used devotion to our gods as a way to take advantage of us. I could not see anything good in our worship and I certainly never saw any evidence that the stone images and the worship of the moon and stars was helping us in any way. The world around us, the cycles of seasons and of life seemed orderly to me, under control, but our religion was chaos. I longed for a god to have faith in, a god I could trust.”
She looked up toward heaven and continued, “There was nothing orderly, or reasonable, or good about our religion. It just did not make sense to me, and everything I heard about the Israelite God made me want to know more about him. So when the spies came to my inn, I knew that their God had sent them! I was sure they were in danger. But I knew in my heart that Canaan was in more danger. I was desperate. I knew that we would be destroyed—me—my family—everyone! I had to convince them that I was not an enemy. Then God gave me a chance.”
“With my business, I sometimes had to help someone come and go without notice. Since my home was on the wall of Jericho, access to the outside was convenient to some clients. You might say I was ‘on the fence’. However, I was not on the fence as far as the Israelite spies were concerned. I knew immediately that God had provided for my safety through them. I told them how our people were shaking with fear and that they didn’t even have to explore the city to know that they could easily take it.”
She grew animated, as if she was reliving the event. “I offered to hide them on the roof and to help them escape, but first I had to have their help. I told them that I knew the LORD is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. I made them swear to me by the LORD that they would deal kindly with my father’s house, as I would to them, and that they would save my whole family.”
“They said to me, ‘Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the LORD gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.’ All I could do was trust them, and their God, so I showed them the scarlet rope they could use to get over the wall. And we agreed that it would be a sign to their men when they came to take the city.”
“Praise God. He was faithful to me! He accepted me, and he saved me. When the walls collapsed and the Israelite army ransacked the city, they took us to safety. I and my whole family became a part of their tribe and to this day my story lives with theirs.”
Again, she looked intently at me as she remarked, “I may be a part of your story too…that is, if you follow the Messiah. You see one of my descendants through my grandson—King David—is JESUS!
For a study guide for Rahab’s story, go to The Women Speak page.