Her name meant insolent and fierce. She was named for survival.
Jericho, her home, was the seat of worship to Ashtaroth, where children were offered on its lust-filled altars. The depravity of this fertility cult targeted the innocent and defenseless. No wonder even the land tried to vomit it out. (Leviticus 18:25)
God’s people had been slaves, so they knew a thing or two about being victimized. It’d taken a couple generations in the wilderness, but they were finally moving into the land God had prepared for them. It wasn’t the goodness of the land that delayed them. It was the darkness they had to conquer once they got there.
Jericho was part of that darkness. Joshua sent two spies to check out the city. They went to an inn built into the city walls and to a woman named Rahab. As an innkeeper and prostitute, she had access to information from all over the region.
She’d heard about Israel’s God. This God of the Hebrews defended His people. He’d opened the sea so they could cross to safety, then swallowed the enemy who’d pursued them. Rahab could have chosen to erect walls around her heart, like the towering stone that surrounded her city.
But she didn’t.
Maybe she’d heard the Scripture in Psalm 113:7.
He raises the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy out of the dunghill, so He can place him/her with princes, with the princes of His people.
It was worth the risk. She’d make the leap. And bring her family along, too.
I’m drawn to the story of Rahab, because I know she still exists. She might be in my face with the trappings of her culture. The one that victimized her. But she needs to hear real stories of the living God who shows up when we call His name. She needs hope in the power of His love.
Hope looks puny compared to the darkness that’s taunted her for years. She may not know that even as a seed, hope is stronger than the chains wrapped about her precious worth. Somewhere, she whispers and waits for an answer.
She’s an extraordinary person. Because once she knows Truth, she’ll lead her whole family into a land of promise. Generations will be changed. Champions born.
I’ll meet her as I walk forward with Him. And when I’m not afraid to face the darkness that has kept her captive.