I’m teaching on Rahab in Joshua 2 to our middle schoolers this Sunday. I’ve been dwelling on it all week and I am anticipating sharing the awesome truths hidden in this story of redemption. (I’m not as excited about sharing what a prostitute is to our new 7th graders).

This is what I keep coming back to:

“Rahab was a woman of shady reputation who heard about a God with a great reputation. She trusted in his character for her salvation and he gave her a new destination.”

Rahab’s shady reputation – She was a prostitute and apparently a very well known one at that. The spies knew enough about her to know that they could easily stay there without getting noticed. The city leaders knew her enough to come to her looking for the strangers. Her shady past is not easily shaken. Even today in the church we speak of Rahab as though “the prostitute” was her last name.

God’s great reputation – Word of God’s mighty deeds has traveled ahead of the Israelites. “We have heard” and “When we heard” is repeated several times during the passage. Rahab confesses that the whole city has heard of what God has done and is caught up in fear.

She trusts in His character for her salvation – It’s interesting that Rahab risks her life (by lying to the city officials) in order to save her life (from the coming invasion). Given the two alternatives, Rahab decides that to be on God’s side is the logical one. Rahab also had a sense of God’s grace. As a pagan-woman-prostitute, Rahab had no right to be saved, but she trusted that God would show mercy to her and her family. I love the fact that the symbol of protection is a scarlet cord. It points back to the passover and forward to the scarlet blood of Jesus that covers and protects us from judgment.

God gives her an new destination – Rahab doesn’t just escape death and continue to be a prostitute. God rewrites her story. She goes from being a prostitute, a symbol of unfaithfulness, to being an example of faithfulness. I don’t think returns to her former life because she becomes the wife of Salmon, the grandfather of King David and enters into the lineage of our Savior. She is even listed among the great people of faith in Hebrews 11:31.

What an amazing story of redemption, grace and God turning our lives around. Middle school is a time where rumors and managing our reputation are such a normal part of life. I want our students to know that God has the power and desire to rewrite their story into something great if they would trust in his reputation and character.