Women of the Bible - Rahab A Woman Who Believed the Truth by Kathryn Capoccia Young Adults Sunday School Class All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. © Copyright Kathy Capoccia 2000. This file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold.
I. Introduction A. Prayer Requests B. Memory verse: JOH 1:12,13 "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." II. Character Profile: Rahab, A Woman Who Believed The Truth A. WHO WAS SHE? (see JOS 2 and 6:17-25; MAT 1:5; HEB 11:31; JAM 2:25). 1. WHAT WAS HER OCCUPATION? She was a "prostitute"- ishshah, woman: zanah, one who fornicates, harlot (JOS 2:1; 6:17,22,25) *WHAT IS A PROSTITUTE? A prostitute is a person who engages in "sexual relations outside of marriage for professional reasons, either mercenary or religious"; "a harlot is a secular prostitute who offers herself for money" ("The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible", vol. 4, pg. 910). *WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT HARLOTRY? a) A PRIEST'S DAUGHTER WHO WAS A PROSTITUTE WAS TO BE BURNED (LEV 21:9); AN ORDINARY WOMAN WAS TO BE STONED TO DEATH (DEU 22:21). b) LEVITES WERE FORBIDDEN TO MARRY PROSTITUTES (LEV 21:7,9,14), AND MONEY EARNED FROM PROSTITUTION WAS FORBIDDEN AS OFFERINGS IN THE TEMPLE OR AS PAYMENT FOR VOWS (DEU 23:18). c) PROSTITUTES ARE SEEN AS: 1) ADVENTURESSES WHO LEAD MEN TO RUIN (PRO 23:27; REV 17:5) 2) THOSE WHO FREQUENT PUBLIC PLACES IN EXOTIC DRESS (1KI 22:38; PRO 7:12; ISA 3:16). 3) THOSE WITH A LOUD, UNRESTRAINED MANNER (PRO 7:11,13; ISA 3:16; JER 2:23-25, 3:3). 4) THOSE WITH A BEGUILING TONGUE (PRO 6:24). 2. WHAT WAS HER NAME? Her Name Was Rahab, "insolence", or "fierceness" or "broad" or "spacious". The "Ra" part of her name comes from Egyptian idolatry, "Ra" the sun god. *this is from "All the Women of the Bible", by Herbert Lockyer, Zondervan Publishers, pg.130. 3. WHEN DID SHE LIVE? She lived at the time of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, variously dated as @ 1400 B.C. or @ 1200 B.C.. The account of her took place @ 6 days before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, and somewhere around 2 1/2 weeks after that. 4. WHERE DID SHE LIVE? a) She lived in Canaan- the land northeast of Egypt, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, Lebanon to the north, the Euphrates River to the east, and the wilderness of Arabia to the south; to the north was the Hittite Empire and Bashan, to the east were the nations of Ammon and the Ammorites, Moab, and Edom. 1) this was the land that God had given to Abraham and his descendants forever, stretching from "the river of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River" (GEN 15:7-21; 17). 2) this was a land "flowing with milk and honey" (GEN 3:8,17; 13:27), i.e. a fruitful land. 3) this land was populated by those whose iniquities were complete before God, calling for judgment (GEN 15:16). 4) this land was populated by both normally sized humans and the descendants of Anak (the Nephilim, or "giants" i.e. 9-10 foot tall people that lived near Hebron in the southern part of Palestine). b) She lived in the city of Jericho 1) this was a walled city-state located west of the main ford on the lower Jordan River; it controlled the crossing of the river and the entrance to the land west of it. 2) this town was located in a fertile plain celebrated for its palms and balsam shrubs; it was encircled on the western side by a barren range of mountains. 3) this town was ruled by a king (JOS 2:2,3) i.e. it was a small kingdom whose ruler was a local chieftain not a ruler of large area. 4) this was a strongly fortified town well supplied with water from springs, and it was @5 mi. from the Jordan River. a] its wall probably was constructed as "casemate type walls" (a hollow wall constructed with rooms- outside, a vertical expanse of bricks with pierced ramparts) which may have been as tall as thirty feet and as thick as fifteen feet, if it was like other Late Bronze Age fortifications. *this information comes from "Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary", co. 1074, pg.280; "The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible", co. 1975, vol.5, pg. 894; "The NIV Study Bible" pg. 294; and "The Ryrie Study Bible", pg. 334. b] its wall had dwellings in it (JOS 2:15). c) She lived in a house in the city's wall- "chomah" (JOS 2:15). 1) it had a roof area (JOS 2:6,8). 2) it had a window facing the outside (JOS 2:15,17,21). 3) it was apparently elevated above the ground (JOS 2:15). *her house was apparently at or near the top of the wall because it had a roof that was open to the sky, a window that faced outward, and was far enough above ground that anyone leaving through the window would have had to have been let down by a rope (JOS 2:15). 5. WHO WERE HER PEOPLE? a) She came from the Canaanites 1) Canaanite and Amorite appear to be synonymous terms of Palestinian dwellers in this area: a] they had a NW Semitic language, a written language, literature, and an artisan pottery capability. b] their society was stratified into three groups: i] the freemen (farmers, artisans, traders, priests, musicians, and warriors). ii] the semi-freemen (clients). iii] the slaves (those who were war captives, foreign slaves or native Canaanites who perhaps were indentured or sold as children). c] their society was basically agricultural and feudal, with much of the land belonging to the king, whose subjects owed allegiance and services in return for the lands. 2) They were idolatrous people whose chief gods were El, Baal, Dagon, and Ashtaroth; religious practices included ritual prostitution and infant sacrifice. *this information comes from "The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible", vol.1, pgs.701-708. b) Her family group consisted of: 1) her father and mother (JOS 2:13, 6:23) 2) her brothers (JOS 2:13, 6:23). 3) her sisters (JOS 2:13). 4) those who belonged to her (JOS 2:13, 6:23). B. WHAT DID SHE DO? 1. She Heard (JOS 2:10,11) "faith comes by hearing..." (ROM 10:17). WHAT DID SHE HEAR? a) how the LORD dried up the Red Sea for the Israelites (JOS 2:10). EXO 14:21,22 "Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left." EXO 14:26-30 "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.' Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen--the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore." 1) God's mighty power over nature was displayed. 2) God's power over the Egyptian army and death was displayed. 3) God's ownership of the Israelites and His intervention for them was displayed. *WHEN DID THIS EVENT OCCUR? More than 40 years before this. b) how God destroyed Sihon and OG, two kings of the Amorites NUM 21:23,24 "But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. He mustered his entire army and marched out into the desert against Israel. When he reached Jahaz, he fought with Israel. Israel, however, put him to the sword and took over his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, but only as far as the Ammonites, because their border was fortified." NUM 21:33-35 "Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei. The LORD said to Moses, 'Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.' So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land." 1) Sihon, king of the Amorites: Heshbon was his capital city; his land was bordered on the south by the Arnon and on the north by the Jabbok; his lands became part of the Trans-Jordan territory claimed by Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. a] the defeat of Sihon was used by Moses as a rallying point for the battle with Og (DEU 3:1-11). b] the defeat of Sihon became a reference point for the Israelites in recounting God's defense of them and a part of the demoralizing of Canaan's populace (NUM 21:27-30; DEU 1:5, 29:7, 31:4; JOS 2:10, 9:10; JUD 11:12-28; NEH 9:22; PSA 135:11. 136:19). 2) Og, king of Bashan: his territory included northern Gilead from the Jabbok to Yarmuk to Mt. Hermon, including 60 fortified towns. He was an Amorite (DEU 3:8) and is regarded as part of the Rephaim (DEU 3:11), or giants- his bedstead was 13 by 6 1/2 ft. (DEU 3:11). His territory was given to the half tribe of Manassah. *WHEN DID THESE EVENTS TAKE PLACE? They occurred more than 40 yrs. before this, after the Israelites left Egypt and before they came to Canaan the first time (before the 40 yr. wandering). 2. She Believed "I know..." (JOS 2:9) a) that God would prevail against the Canaanites (JOS 2:8-13). 1) that God had given Canaan to the Israelites (JOS 2:9). 2) that a great fear of the Israelites had fallen on the land (JOS 2:9). 3) that the inhabitants of the land were "melting in fear" (JOS 2:9). 4) that the people of Jericho's hearts were melted and they were without courage (JOS 2:11). b) that the LORD (YHWH, "I AM that I AM", the proper name of God) your God is God in heaven and on earth (JOS 2:11). she knew whom she believed c) that she and her family would die unless they found refuge in God (JOS 2:13). JOS 2:13 "that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death." 3. She Acted upon Her Belief "faith by itself, if it not accompanied by action, is dead" (JAM 2:17). a) She Repented "...God's kindness leads you toward repentance" (ROM 2:4). *WHAT IS REPENTANCE? Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary says its, "to feel such sorrow for sin as leads to amendment of one's ways"- its a turning away from sin and toward righteousness, i.e. a 180 degree turn. 1) she was drying flax (JOS 2:6). a] she must have planted and harvested the flax herself i] flax was grown for its fiber for the making of linen cloth. ii] flax was an important crop; each spring seeds are planted; the field must be kept free of weeds in order for the plants to grow- a hot and hard job by hand. iii] the stalks grow 2-4 ft. high; when the flax "bols" are ripe the plants are pulled up whole, soaked in water for 3-4 wks. (this causes the fibers to separate for combing), and then laid out to dry. iv] stalks of flax and other grains were often dried on rooftops and other flat areas in Bible times. *this information comes from "The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible", vol. 2, pg. 546, and "The Victor Handbook of Bible Knowledge", by V. Gilbert Beers, Victor Books, co. 1981, pg. 129. b] she would not have been able to farm flax and still be a prostitute because the farming was both time consuming and potentially disfiguring (SON 1:6). b) She Committed Herself. "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (LUK 9:62). 1) she identified with God's people a] she protected the spies by hiding them under the flax on her roof (JOS 2:4,6). b] she risked her life and lied to the pursuers (JOS 2:4-6). i] about the identity of the spies- she said she did not know that they were Israelites (JOS 2:4). ii] about where they were- she said they left at dusk (JOS 2:5). c] she helped them escape (JOS 2:15,16). i] she let them down from her window by a rope (JOS 2:15). ii] she advised them on a route of escape (JOS 2:16). *Rahab understood that to take sides with God's people was to take sides with God- she was willing to forsake her own heritage for her faith in God. 2) She made a covenant agreement with them. a] Rahab asked for a covenant with them. -because she had shown kindness she asked for kindness in return (JOS 2:12). -she asked for a sign of the agreement (JOS 2:12). b] the spies made a covenant with her: -the spies guaranteed faithfulness and kindness upon pain of death (JOS 2:14). -the spies made a provisional covenant with her and all who were hers that they would spare her if she: i] did not tell what they were doing (JOS 2:14). ii] tied a scarlet cord (the sign of the covenant) in her window (JOS 2:17). 3) She submitted to the terms of the covenant- she tied the ribbon in the window (JOS 2:21). *this was a sign to others that a believer resided within and expressed her complete faith that God would prevail. Some have said that the scarlet on the window was a symbol like the blood on the doorframes of Egypt- that the one inside would be passed over in the hour of death and judgment because of faith. 4. She Was Saved (JOS 6:17-25). "...the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (JOH 6:37). a) Physically (JOS 6:23) 1) she was delivered from destruction 2) she found a place among the people a] at first she was outside the camp (JOS 6:23). b] she lived among the people (JOS 6:25). c] she married Salmon, a prince of Judah, and became the mother of Boaz, the great-grandmother of David, and a part of the line from which Jesus would arise (MAT 1:5). b) Spiritually We do not have an account of the salvation experience of Rahab but that she was a believer is evident: 1) she had a faith before the spies came to Jericho based upon the word she had heard about God (HEB 11:31; JAM 2:25). 2) her faith came to fruition when she committed herself to God and His people (JAM 2:25). 3) she was regarded as a believer by the Israelites because she was allowed to live among the people as one of them rather than as a slave (as the deceptive Gibeonites had to JOS 9:23-27). 4) she was allowed to marry an Israelite, Salmon, a thing forbidden for unbelievers to do (EXO 34:16). C. WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HER? 1. God accepts anyone who comes to Him in faith. 2. Salvation is a work of God, not generated by man in any way (ROM 9:16; EPH 2:8,9; JOH 3:5-8; 2TI 1:9; TIT 3:5) 3. Salvation comes through faith involving three elements: a) Repentance ACT 20:21 "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus." 1) John the Baptist preached repentance (MAT 3:2; MAR 1:15). 2) Jesus preached repentance (MAT 4:17; LUK 13:3). 3) the disciples preached repentance (MAR 6:12). 4) Peter preached repentance (ACT 2:38). *Repentance: the Greek word "metanoia" means to change one's mind- in the N.T. it always means to change one's mind about sin, to turn away from sin. a] this necessitates an awareness of sin and it's penalty- death. *HOW DOES ONE BECOME AWARE OF SIN? By hearing (or reading) the words of God (ROM 10:17). i] sin is falling short of God's standard ("chata"- to miss). ii] sin is willingly rebelling against God's standard ("pesha"- transgression, rebellion; "avon"- iniquity). ROM 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." b] this necessitates an acknowledgement of one's own sinfulness. *HOW DOES ONE BECOME AWARE OF ONE'S OWN SINFULNESS? By the working of the Holy Spirit in one's heart (JOH 16:8). ROM 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". ROM 3:10-12 "As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.'" b) Belief JOH 8:24 "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." ROM 10:9,10 "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." 1) belief is "an acceptance of something as true, or a firm persuasion of the truths of a religion"- Webster's Dictionary. JOH 1:7 "He [John the Baptist] came as a witness to testify concerning that light [Jesus], so that through him all men might believe." JOH 1:12,13 "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." 2) the object of belief- Jesus a] that Jesus is the only Savior of the world (JOH 14;6; ACT 4:12). i] that He lived a sinless life. ii] that He died as the substitute sacrifice for man's sins. iii] that He bodily rose from the grave on the third day. iv] that He is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. b] that Jesus is God (JOH 8:58, 20:28; COL 1:15). c] that Jesus is Lord (ACT 2:36, 16:31; ROM 10:9). i] that Jesus is the God who rules þ He created everything (COL 1:16). þ everything is under Him (1CO 15:25,27) ii] that God the Father made Jesus the One through whom judgment will come (2TI 4:1,8). PSA 2:12 "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." c) Submission PSA 51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." 1) Humility- You must come to God aware that you are a sinner in debt to God for your sins and that you can do nothing in yourself to make up for them. LUK 18:13,14 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." 2) Commitment- You must be willing to give yourself completely to God in exchange for His forgiveness. LUK 9:62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." LUK 14:26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple." LUK 14:27 "And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." 3) Obedience- You must be willing to follow Him in whatever He commands you to do. JOH 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command." *PERHAPS YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS BUT HAVE NEVER ACTED ON YOUR BELIEF - YOU'VE NEVER CONFESSED YOUR SINS TO GOD AND SOUGHT HIS FORGIVENESS FOR THEM -YOU'VE NEVER SUBMITTED YOUR LIFE TO HIM AS LORD -YOU'VE NEVER COMMITTED YOURSELF TO FOLLOWING AND OBEYING JESUS NO MATTER WHAT GOD SAYS, "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near (ISA 55:6)," AND "I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation" (2CO 6:2). IF YOU FEEL THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKING IN YOUR HEART TODAY, RESPOND TO HIM. IT IS HE WHO GIVES YOU THE GRACE TO WANT TO REPENT: IT IS HE WHO TEACHES YOU THE TRUTH ABOUT SIN, AND SALVATION THROUGH JESUS: IT IS HE WHO MAKES YOU ABLE TO COME TO HIM HUMBLY TO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS FOR YOUR SINS: IT IS HE WHO MAKES YOU WILLING TO SUBMIT TO HIM IN EVERYTHING. GOD HAS DONE IT ALL FOR YOU THROUGH HIS GRACE- AND YOU CAN BE FREE OF YOUR SIN DEBT, YOU CAN BE MADE HOLY AND PURE BEFORE GOD IF YOU TRULY WANT TO BE. WON'T YOU ASK HIM NOW? LET'S PRAY.
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Kathy Capoccia's Sunday School Lessons for Young Adults" by:
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