What’s Your Name?
Joshua 2:1~And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there.
For Rahab, harlot or prostitute was less a description and more like a last name she carried with her everywhere she went. It’s what she was known as in the city and how she was referred to by Joshua in his account in the Bible. It’s how we all in the Christian world refer to her even today. Rahab the Harlot.
So what’s your name?
_____ the extrovert?
_____ the “just a mom”?
_____ the exhausted/worn out/used up?
_____ the liar?
_____ the cheater?
_____ the workaholic?
_____ the addict?
_____ the “past his prime”?
_____ the not enough/too much?
_____ the unlovable?
_____ the loser?
_____ the victim?
We all have these names we carry with us. Sometimes they are names thrust upon us by the people in our lives. Sometimes it’s a name we’ve earned for better or for worse. Sometimes it’s a name we decide to pick up and carry because of the circumstances we have faced tells us that’s who we are.
In this account in Joshua, Rahab the harlot is no doubt well aware of her name. She’s carried the ridicule, the judgment, the shame of that name for many years.
It wasn’t unusual in this era for an inn and a brothel to be located in the same building. Many scholars have said Rahab was more than likely in the business of both. So weary travelers could find a place to rest and could also order room service of a more intimate variety. It’s easy to assume that many people of stature, influence, world traveler types came through her door. Her home and business were also situated atop the city walls. From this position, Rahab would be privy to all the latest news and happenings around the area.
Surely she’d heard of how the children of Israel had been led through the wilderness by their God with the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
She’d probably heard about the entire Egyptian army that was wiped out when a man named Moses stretched out his hand over the Red Sea and how all that night the God of these people drove back the waters with a strong east wind, turning the sea bed into dry land so his people could escape.
She’d heard how the God of the Hebrew children had provided clothes and sandals that didn’t wear out for 40 YEARS! Caused water to come forth out of a ROCK to quench their thirst! And gave His people bread from HEAVEN every morning!
These stories she’d heard had caused her faith to build and her courage to rise up.
Joshua 2:8-13 Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”
Rahab’s not just changing her name, she’s changing her entire family tree!!**
For some of you, as far back as your can track your heritage, all you can see is brokenness, despair, the branches of your family tree are defined by addiction, abuse, dysfunction, chaos.
So here we have Rahab the harlot who risks EVERYTHING to help the children of Israel take over her city. She lies to officials to protect the spies. This is treason! A crime punishable by death.** She was also a Canaanite, the most hated enemies of Israel. So Rahab is a lying, Canaanite HARLOT!
Joshua 6:15 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.
How were they going to know where Rahab and her family were? When the time came for the city to be taken, Rahab took a scarlet cord and hung it from her window. Not unlike the blood that was spread across the doorframes of the homes of the children of Israel. Because of the blood, death passed over the Hebrew children. Rahab made a declaration with that scarlet cord concerning who her God would be. In the process, she not only saved herself, she saved her entire family.
Rahab went on to marry Salmon who was of the tribe of Judah. The first chapter of Matthew gives the genealogy of Jesus. In Jewish tradition, genealogy typically lists the men. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew goes back 42 generations and includes 5 women, one of which is our Rahab.
Matthew 1:4-5 …Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by RAHAB, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse…
Circumstance called her a Canaanite. Her own choices deemed her a liar and a harlot. God called her family.
And this is the GOSPEL.
Hebrews 11:31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient…
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 8 calls us children of God, heirs of Christ. Family. With a new name.