In the Old Testament of the Bible, there is an amazing book called Joshua. It features the story of a great leader in Bible history, named Joshua, of course. He was the leader of the Israelites and somewhat of an understudy of Moses. Currently, I am reading a Francine Rivers book entitled A Lineage of Grace. Within the chapter entitled “Unashamed,” Francine Rivers explores the story of Rahab, a prostitute within the city of Jericho, Joshua and the Israelite army. It is this story God stopped me on and has had me pondering over for quite a few days.Here is a little summary of this great story.
The Israelites had disobeyed God’s commands when He told them He was going to give them the land He promised, so to punish them, God made them wonder around the desert for 40-years. Finally, He had them rest across the Jordan River from the city of Jericho, the city in which God would deliver to His people.
Jericho was a very large city that had ginormous walls built up around it to keep out any and all enemies. Built right on the outside walls, near the city gate, a prostitute named Rahab made her living. She sought out people coming into the city with information to give the king. She had them give her the information, so she could give it to the king and gain his good favor. She had lived in Jericho all of her life and was raised by a family to worship idols, only hearing “rumors” of the God of Israel.
Because of where the Israelites were resting, the entire city of Jericho knew they would try to invade the city sometime, including Rahab. Every day, she looked out her window for spies the Israelites might send to search out the city, and finally one day she saw two Israelite spies coming into the city. She called out to them and after much effort on her part, they came up to her house. She hid them in her home but only for their guarantee that her and her family would not be harmed when the city was taken, which they agreed to give her. She knew they could grant this guarantee because of the God they served.
Soon after the spies had been sent to Jericho, the Lord gave instructions to Joshua, in which he relayed back to the Israelite army, on how the walls of Jericho would fall. There are specific instructions on what the Israelite army was supposed to do while marching, but the biggest part, in my opinion, was the actual marching. The Israelite army was to march around the walls of Jericho once every day for six days. On the seventh day, they were to march around the walls seven times and on the last lap, the seven priests walking in the front with ram’s horns were to blow one long and final sound which signaled the army to shout. During this final act, the walls of Jericho were to fall and the city was going to be theirs to conquer.
In “Unashamed,” Francine Rivers expounds upon this story and interprets conversations and events that might have happened. Granted what she adds is definitely fictional, it gave so many things to think about.
Rahab had never heard of God expect through stories and “rumors” she’d heard. She had never gotten an explanation of who God was and the love He is. She was never raised in a family whose history was built on loving and serving the one true God.
Nevertheless, she showed more faith than most, when she decided to hide the spies Joshua had sent into Jericho. She showed more faith when she had told the spies to guarantee her and her family’s safety. She showed more faith when she had all of her family cooped up in her house believing they would be spared by the one true God. Lastly, she showed more faith when she prayed to a God she’d really never heard of and asked to be apart of His Kingdom, His people.
Her faith made me think about my own faith. I know this Almighty, one true God. I have heard of Him since I was a little girl. My grandpa frequently told me stories of his own history of living in Christ. I have come to know God as my Father. I have had to rely on God for strength, encouragement and love.
In Hebrews 11, Paul wrote on the subject of faith. He used many examples of various characters throughout Bible history in the Old Testament. He spoke of great leaders and their faith in the Almighty God. At the very end of chapter 11, Paul spoke of the Israelite army and of Rahab. The walls of Jericho were looked upon as a great act of faith, the belief that by walking around them a total of 13 times, they would fall. Rahab, though, was held in high esteem in the Bible for her faith in a God she did not personally know. A God she put faith in before she’d heard of His character and love.
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see…It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho seven days, and walls came crashing down. It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute did not die with all the others in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” – Hebrew 11:1, 30-31