Grace, Grace, God’s Grace,
Grace that is Greater Than All Our Sin…
Though she had three strikes against her:
woman, prostitute, and Canaanite…
She is elevated three times in the New Testament!
Tessa Ashfar, author of historical biblical novels,
wrote her first novel on Rahab, asking,
“What kind of God would choose a woman like Rahab
and elevate her to a place of honor?”
Only our God, a God of grace, who turns ashes into beauty.
I’ve enjoyed listening to Ashfar’s novels on audio.
Here she is speaking on three of her novels — the first being “Pearl in the Sand,” which is based on the book of Joshua and Rahab’s story. She also has a novel on Ruth, whom we will study next week.
This is profoundly relevant to each of us, for we each need to be rescued from our sin and shame and reminded that we are not orphans, but beloved children of God.
A month ago I broke my hand, falling in pickleball. The x-ray revealed broken bones. As I drove myself to the orthopedist, wondering what he would tell me, realizing how incapacitated I would be with my dominant in a cast, fear wrapped its icy cloak around me. I live alone and I had traveling, writing, and Christmas ahead. How was I going to manage it? And would this doctor, whom I did not know, really be able to help me or should I be going to a bigger city? Those old feelings of unworthiness took hold of me. Who am I to expect mercy when I so sinful?
And then the word came. You are not an orphan, Dee. You are my beloved child. I am leading you. Trust me.
Now the warmth of His Spirit enveloped me. When I saw the doctor, this was our conversation:
Me: “I delayed a week in getting an x-ray because I have such a high pain tolerance that sometimes I don’t realize how badly I’ve been hurt. I’m like a leper that way.”
Dr. Davis: “But lepers feel no pain. I have a hero who worked with lepers. He led me into medicine — his name is Henry Brandt.”
Me: “The Henry Brandt who co-authored Fearfully and Wonderfully Made with Philip Yancey?”
Dr. Davis: Broad grin. “That’s the one.”
Me: “Dr. Davis, are you a believer in Jesus Christ?”
Dr. Davis: (Big smile) “Yes, I am!”
I stretched out my unbroken hand for him to shake — and he clasped it firmly. Then he went and got a picture of Dr. Brandt and him together. It was the kind of moment only true believers can experience: that blest Tie that binds.
You are not an orphan, Dee, you are my beloved child. See how I love you?
We each need this message. He saw Leah, Tamar, and Rahab. He washed away their scarlet sins and made them white as snow. He loved them. And He loves you and me.
You are not an orphan. You are His beloved child. He loves you.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. What is one way you have sensed the goodness or love of God lately?
I’m sure Rahab never aspired to be a prostitute. Women without a man in that world were reduced to begging or selling their bodies if they wanted to survive. Abused and degraded, how she must have longed for escape. How weary she must have been of life!
It was Sara Groves who made me aware that It Came Upon a Midnight Clear is a lament.
Here was Rahab, beneath life’s crushing load. But she heard about God who cared for His people, who “dried up the Red Sea” for them, and she feared that God. This was the beginning of wisdom for her, and would lead to her faith, and to being set free. She would go on to marry an Israelite named Salmon, and give birth to Boaz, the hero of the book of Ruth.
3. Imagine what it would be like to be a prostitute in Jericho. Get into her shoes and feel the weight of her load.
4. Read Joshua 2 and share anything that stands out to you. Share why.
Tuesday: The Lie
5. Read Joshua 2:1-7
A. Why do you godly men chose to hide at a prostitute’s house?
B. What lie did Rahab tell?
6. Christians disagree on whether it is ever right to tell a lie. I listened to four sermons on Rahab and found men on both sides. I remember being flabbergasted when my son-in-law, whom I love, said he wouldn’t have hidden the Jews during the holocaust because it involved lying. Do you think it is ever right to lie? Why or why not? Support your answer scripturally if possible.
7. Read Joshua 2:8-13
A. What did Rahab know about their God and how did she say she felt about him?
B. Did fear have any part in bringing you to Christ? Explain.
Wednesday: The Sign and The Rescue
Just as the Israelites but the red blood of a lamb over the doorposts of their homes as a sign of faith to preserve themselves and their families from God’s wrath, so Rahab hung a scarlet cord from her window, as a sign of faith to preserve herself and her family from God’s wrath.
8. Read Joshua 2:14-24
A. What promise did the spies make in verse 14?
B. What extra care for the spies do you see in Rahab?
C. What would happen to any family who went outside the house? What symbolism do you see?
D. To whom did the spies credit their success? (24)
9. Read Hebrews 11:31
A. For what two acts was Rahab commended in this verse?
B. Can you share an experience of God leading you to welcome someone into your home that was
risky for you? Why did you do it and what was the result?
10. Read James 2:25 and share what you learn.
11. Read Matthew 1:5. Using your imagination, what obstacles might have Salmon had to overcome to marry Rahab? How do you think he did it?
Thursday-Friday: Sermon by Eric Alexander
12. Scottish preacher Eric Alexander has a short and pity sermon on Rahab. Listen and share your notes and comments.
13. What do you think you will remember about Rahab and how will you apply it to your life this Advent?