purity girl of the Bible is Rahab (Hebrews 11:31). Rahab's story
is told in the book of Joshua, chapters 1-6.
Scene one: The curtains open
as the Lord gives instructions to Israel's new leader, Joshua.
Joshua has watched as Israel's first national leader, Moses, as
he caused Egyptian plagues, parted the Red Sea, brought water
out of a rock and provided bread by causing it to rain out of
the sky. Still, Moses had experienced complaining, rebellion and
even outright mutiny from the Israelites.
Now that Moses has died, Joshua
has been chosen as the new leader. Joshua knows that he serves
the God of Moses, a God able to do the impossible. But he suddenly
realizes how much faith it took Moses to tell Pharaoh, "Let my
people go or else I'm turning all the water into blood!" and then
to dip his staff in the water, knowing that if nothing happened
it meant ridicule, loss of credibility and probably even death.
Joshua is about to find out if he
has that kind of faith because, in chapter one, God is giving
him his marching orders: war against Jericho. Joshua is probably
wondering, "If they resisted Moses the miracle-worker, how am
I going to convince the Israelites to follow me into war?
How can I assure them that we unarmed civilians are going to defeat
a thickly-walled city? Do I even believe that we can?"
God's reply is simple, "Be strong
and of good courage." Since Joshua is so very afraid, God repeats
this instruction several times. Finally, Joshua works up the courage
to send two spies into Jericho to check out the city's defenses.
Scene two: Phase one of Joshua's
plan is not going smoothly. Somehow, the king of Jericho finds
out that Israeli spies have entered the city. The city gates are
double barred as a full-scale manhunt is ordered. The spies dodge
into a place where two strangers might be welcomed with no questions
asked: they enter the home of Rahab the prostitute.
Quietly they wait as their hearts
beat with fear. They listen to the searchers' voices shouting
in the streets.
"Follow me." The woman beckons to
the two frightened men. Should they trust her? They have no choice.
She leads them to the roof. Feeling exposed, the men crouch low,
so as not to be seen from the ground. They see and smell the stalks
of fragrant flax that lie drying in the hot sun. Deftly, Rahab
moves some of the stalks, making two deep indents. "Lie here!"
She covers the spies with the displaced stalks, careful to even
out the suspicious looking mounds. Dried leaves tickle their noses,
but the men know their lives depend on total stillness and silence.
Rahab knows her life depends on it as well.
The searchers' voices grow louder
until they are right below. Thud, thud, thud. A heavy fist
or perhaps the butt of a spear rattles the wooden door.
"Prostitute! Send out the men you
have in there! They may be Israeli spies!"
Rahab smoothes her skirt, mentally
ordering her knees not
to tremble. She invites
the searchers into her home. "Yes, two men were here," she says,
"but they left at dusk, just as the gates were being shut. If
they are spies, you should pursue them immediately, because you
can still catch them."
Scene three: As the searchers
rush toward the city gates, Rahab returns to the roof and quickly
uncovers the two men. They notice a long, crimson rope loosely
coiled around one of her strong, browned arms. Rahab fastens it
securely to a sturdy metal railing, lowering the rope down the
outside of the city wall, where freedom awaits.
As the first spy grasps the rope
in eager hands, Rahab stops him from rapelling down the wall.
Before they go, she has both a message and a request. "Everyone
here is scared to death, because we know you are coming to fight
against us. We've heard of the miracles that your God has done,
and we know He is the true God. Our gods don't have the power
to defend us. So, please, when you win the battle, remember that
I have saved your lives and show mercy on me and my family." The
men reply that whomever Rahab has with her in the house will be
spared during the battle. As a sign, she must tie the rope of
their salvation in her window to show that she is on Israel's
side and has heroically saved the spies.
Scene four: The men return
to Joshua with Rahab's message of encouragement, Joshua finds
the faith to proceed with God's plan, Rahab faithfully ties the
cord in the window and a most unusual battle begins. Without a
shot being fired, the walls of Jericho crumble to the ground,
and the Israelites easily conquer the exposed and terrified inhabitants.
Everyone from Jericho is killed, with the exception of Rahab and
her entire family.
Transformed from harlot to heroine
by her new-found faith in God, Rahab later marries a Jew named
Salmon and has a little son whom they name Boaz. Today, her name
can be found in the lineage of Jesus Christ, where she is listed
as King David's great-great-grandma. Her name is also mentioned
in the "hall of faith" (Hebrews 11).
What can we learn from this previously
infamous purity girl?
A purity girl's future doesn't
have to be determined by her past.
Being a purity girl requires
courage to go against a godless culture.
A life of purity begins with
one right choice and continues with each godly
Being a purity girl is not a small
thing in the eyes of God. Did you notice in James 2, verses 23
and 25 that Rahab's works stemmed from a faith that was comparable
to Abraham's? God doesn't just use pastors and missionaries and
godly men to do amazing things. Joshua, the national leader, was
emboldened by Rahab's act of faith and words of
encouragement. In God's plan, a prostitute became a good example
to God's chosen leader. What amazing plan do you think God has
for your life?