How Do I Put Action To My Faith? | Lessons From Rahab

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Have you ever felt as if your past mistakes, glaring flaws, and life circumstances have led you to a dark place limiting you from receiving something from God?  Perhaps these have paralyzed you with inaction and wondered, “am I good enough to receive all that God has for me?”

If there was someone in the Bible that felt that way and wanted a better outcome for her life and family was Rahab – a woman with a colourful past. She is listed in Hebrews 11, as a woman of faith–-“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” (Hebrews 11:31). The Apostle James also uses her as an example along with the patriarch of faith, Abraham, as to be “shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road.  Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. (James 2:25-26)

We read about Rahab in Joshua 2, where Joshua had led the Israelites just outside the Promised Land, Canaan. In order for the Israelites to take over Canaan, he secretly sends out two spies to scout the land on the other side of the Jordan river, around Jericho. These spies found lodging in Rahab’s home, who happened to be a prostitute. We are unsure why they ended up there but we can speculate that it was the best place to go unnoticed. The King of Jericho got wind about these spies coming at night, and immediately sent orders to capture them in Rahab’s House. 

We can imagine the audacity of this woman who decides to hide the spies from the soldiers. Rahab, and her people, knew that the Israelites were about to conquer the land, and death was imminent for all. She had heard of the Lord of the Israelites and expressed it to them:  “I know the Lord has given you this land,” …. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt …  For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below (Joshua 2: 9-11). After Rahab successfully helps the spies by rerouting the soldiers, she goes on by pleading:  “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.” (Joshua 2:13-14).

It is an action-packed story that ends in Rahab being able to save herself and her family during the Israelite’s take over of the land.  The amazing part of this God-story is that Rahab, someone who seems to be a “bad girl” for being a prostitute, non-jew, in an idol-worship country, heard about the Mighty God and wholeheartedly believed in Him.  Rahab believed in The Lord (YAHWEH) and her action corresponded with her faith. 

Rahab was a woman of flaw that became a woman of faith, and we can learn how to put action to our faith from her: 

1. Believe in the mightiness of God and receive Him, and His people. 
Rahab heard about God, and his miracles, so she believed and put her full trust in Him. Her action to welcome the spies was evidence of her faith and reverent fear in the God of Israel. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The more we read God’s word, we will draw near to God and believe in Him. 

2. Do good deeds based on your faith in God. 
Rahab put action to her faith by risking her life and family to welcome and hide the spies. She chose to be kind and protect God’s people. By doing so, she knew she could suffer great consequences as she was going against the canaanites, her people. Our corresponding actions and conduct would flow out of our relationship with God.

3. Boldly ask and trust God for His promises. 
Canaan was a dark place where its religious practices incorporated sexual immorality into their worship. We are not sure if Rahab by cultural expectation was led to be a prostitute. It is clear to us though, she was a diligent, and intelligent woman, but also desperate to save her family from this dark place and doom. She probably hoped for a great future for her own kind, and decides to trust and ask the spies, based on her limited revelation of a God who is powerful and merciful:  “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live” (Joshua 2:13-14)   Rahab indirectly asks God for mercy here with her request, knowing that she probably does not deserve it.  Like her, we can ask in faith for things hoped for, trusting that God is merciful and loving to hear our requests (Hebrews 11:1-2)

4. Act upon what God asks you to do.  
After Rahab helps the spies, these men give her instructions that would ensure their salvation: When Israelites come to conquer the land, she must leave a scarlet rope hanging from the window, and this would be a sign for the soldiers not to touch any of her family inside the house. She agrees and does exactly as told. Rahab showed great faith by obeying, even when she had no guarantees that she would be protected. In the same manner, we can demonstrate our great faith by obeying God’s instructions, fully trusting that He has the best for us. Also, when we pray and ask God for his promise, we must follow with practical actions. For example, if you are praying and believing for a future spouse, don’t just wait at home for someone to knock on your doors – find ways to connect with others. Faith and action work together! 

5. Let go of your past, and receive by faith the promise of God. 
Rahab and her family were saved by faith! God’s love for her, and us today, transcends our past, circumstances, and even culture, and He includes everyone. Rahab became part of the community of God, and scripture tells us that she was King David’s great-great-grandmother! I can imagine that Rahab made a choice to not let her past define who she was, but step into all that God had for her. Rahab believed in God as it says in Hebrews 11:6 –  And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

You might feel broken, left behind, and not good enough but just as our mighty Lord included Rahab into His great purpose, you are also included in the salvation plan not by good works but for good works.  For “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:8-10). 

Today you can step out in faith and receive all that He has for you by believing in Him and act upon what He calls you to do, receiving a great reward by faith.