Rahab didn’t have to be a prophet to figure out who was going to win whatever battle was on the horizon. She picked the winning side before the battle even began and before Joshua’s spies (2:1) arrived on her doorstep. When they came, obviously divinely directed to her house rather than to the house of someone less astute, she negotiated with them for the lives of her family (2:8-13) and she protected them when the King of Jericho sent soldiers to arrest them (2:4-6).
Was Rahab simply smart enough to hedge her bets or was she a woman of faith? She makes four statements that suggest at least the beginning of spiritual enlightenment.
Joshua 2:9, 10 — “I know that the Lord has given this land to you…We have heard how the Lord…”
Rahab took what she knew about Yahweh, the God of these nomads across the river, seriously.
Joshua 2:11 — “…our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
Though everyone was afraid of the Israelites, not everyone connected the dots and came up with God. Rahab did.
Joshua 2:12 — “…please swear to me by the Lord…”
Rahab understood that these spies believed and because they believed any promise made based on that belief would be kept. The strength of their faith was a testimony to her.
Rahab’s actions demonstrate the strength of the faith that was growing within her. She did as the spies instructed her, gathered her family in her home, attached the red cord to her window (2:21) so that they could identify her place during the attack.
The meeting with Rahab was not something that happened by chance. It was a divine appointment. The spies became the catalyst that not only saved this woman and her family physically, but spiritually as well. The two men would have had no way of knowing the eternal impact their task would have when they set out that day to spy on the city.
Neither do we. When we begin our day we have no way of knowing who God will bring across our path or how God has prepared them for our contribution to their spiritual journey. I doubt that before they left their camp the spies had prayed that God would give them someone to witness to. But when they found an open door—literally—they went through it without hesitation and “closed the deal” even though this conversation with a Canaanite woman hadn’t been on the original agenda for the day. You have to admire their dedication. They are behind enemy lines with that enemy hunting for them and they still took critical time to talk to Rahab even with their own lives on the line.
Rahab was ready—and so were the spies.
When we begin our day, are we equally ready for the divine appointments? Is the agenda flexible enough to allow us to drop even the urgent to deal with someone who is seeking? For some of us that is difficult. But Rahab’s encounter with the spies reminds us that the project should never come before the people—especially when the people are seeking God.