We cannot tidy this one up. We cannot wiggle out of this one … God included a prostitute in the lineage of Christ.
On any given day, there is something I love about God most of all. Today, I love Him because He loves people who are down and out. He loves the misfits, the outcasts, the unwanted. I especially love what He is willing to do for the damsel in distress. I fall in love with Him every time I see this Prince Charming side of Him.
The story of Rahab is not a tidy, comfortable one. I once read a well-meaning article that tried to paint a slightly different picture of Rahab, suggesting that she might have been a bar-keep or a hostess.
Let’s be clear. Her line of profession is listed several times and make no mistake, she was not Miss Innocence. That’s why God made sure to repeat the label she lived by often enough to remove all doubt for us who so desperately need to know that God doesn’t need us to be cleaned up before He is able to use us, or before He can love us. We don’t have to perfect before we step out in faith, to know in the depths of our being that He is able to save us, that He wants to save us.
I think the reason God didn’t remove the prostitute label from Rahab was because He wanted the world to know that no one is so far gone that they are without hope and that He is willing to let us have a do-over. Sweet Rahab got her do-over when trouble came to her town.
Joshua two sets the scene. The word on the street was that the people of the Living God were approaching, and fear spread like a wild fire. The people of Jericho were overcome with what they had heard about the Hebrew God. Joshua sent spies into the city. What better place to go undercover than at prostitute’s house? We can only imagine what went through her mind. Rahab could have betrayed them to the king, but instead she arranged a hiding place for them. She lied for them–to save them. She protected them. And God honored her for that. I smile when I think of her family. I mean, she must have been the outcast in her family, I doubt her folks sat back and bragged about what their baby girl was doing. Nevertheless, it was through her courage and her instinct that her family was spared.
God is not looking for perfect people. There are none. All the tidying up without God’s grace is just stinky, filthy rags. What He is looking for is boldness. He is looking for total faith in Him. God will give us our diginity and honor as we turn to Him.
Are you at a place in your life where you need someone to pull you out of miry muck? What do you need to be rescued from? Come as you are.