Have you ever been in a time of limbo? Living in one reality, but hoping and working towards a different one? I am in that place right now as we try to move to a new house. I have to live in the house we are currently in, deal with our existing school, neighbours and community, all the while not knowing when we’ll move but trying to plan and hope for it. This is the way I picture Rahab just before this week’s verse. That nervous feeling in the pit of her stomach, as she waits to see if all will work out well. Pacing up and down, questioning everything that happened – would they really remember her? When was it all going to happen? But then we have this verse, and that limbo period is over:
“So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel” Joshua 6:23
The first thing that jumped out to me this week as I pondered this verse was the feeling of relief that Rahab must have had. Oh to know that the plans had worked out! Oh to know that she and those she loved were safe! Oh to know that the God she had heard about and put just a little bit of faith in had come through for her and was real!
Have you ever felt that? When you’ve been going through that limbo period or that trial, and then suddenly you are on the other side and you can look back and see God’s hand in it all! Maybe it was moving house, maybe it was changing jobs, maybe it was something else. But you have that sigh of relief moment, and praise God for bringing you safely through. I must say I am very much looking forward to that moment when I finally move house after two years of stress!!! My faith wanes sometimes and I struggle to know if God is going to make it all happen, but my tiny bit of faith is enough, just like Rahab’s, and it will see me through to the other side.
Belonged to her
Now we haven’t talked that much about Rahab’s profession. We started off in week one looking at how God saw her, but in Jericho she was one of the lowest of the low, a prostitute. Stepping into her shoes, you can see the disdain of those around her – happy to use her when needed but not to associate with her in real life. When you end up in that situation then it is unlikely that your family would want much to do with you. There is no mention of a husband or male to protect her, and it says that it was Rahab’s house (Joshua 2:1) that the spies went to, not her father’s house, so we can presume she is no longer living with her parents. This is unusual for an unmarried woman, and so we can also assume that her relationship with them might be a bit strained. She belonged to no-one and no-one would willingly claim they belonged to her either. And yet by this verse, all her family are now seeking refuge in her house and they “belong” to her – a bit of a turn of the tables!! She must have been very good at persuading them that God would be faithful to save them in they believed her. She has now become the spiritual head of the household and lead them all to safety.
Belonging to Israel
Now when you read the final part of this verse, you might be mistaken in thinking that Rahab and her family are shunned a bit from Israel. Yes, there were saved from destruction in Jericho, but here they aren’t allowed into their actual camp. It seems Israel doesn’t want to associate with them either. But this is the wrong way to look at it. If they were unwanted, they would have been told to go away, to run to the hills and never look back! But here they are actually allowed to stay near the Israelite’s camp. They cannot come into camp due to not yet adhering to God’s holy law, but they are outside and would be working towards it.
The men would need to be circumcised and the women would probably have to complete some washing rituals before being allowed to enter the camp. One thing we know for sure from our verse in week one is that Rahab was definitely allowed into camp at some point, as she was able to find an Israelite husband and become part of their people. She finally belonged somewhere and was included.
What did you feel when you meditated on this verse? Did you feel the relief of God coming through on his promise? Did you feel the acceptance and joy of finally belonging somewhere despite your past? Did you feel the empowerment of being able to lead your family and those who had previously disowned you to safety? Whatever you felt, there is amazing strength and faith demonstrated by Rahab which is rewarded with life, freedom and belonging. Next week we will be looking at this final verse about Rahab, I hope you will join us:
“In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:25-26
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