[Rahab] said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us….”
Joshua 2:9a (NRSV)
Wendy and I love the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) website and app. There’s hardly a movie or television show we watch that Wendy doesn’t have IMDB up on her phone looking at where we’ve seen that actor before and who that person was in that bit part.
When you think of the characters in the Great Story there are always the red carpet stars that everyone’s heard of: Adam, Noah, Moses, and David to name a few. As I’ve journeyed through God’s Message over the years I’ve gained more and more respect for some of the bit players, the role players, who get little press. We find one of these bit players in today’s chapter. Rehab is an unlikely hero whose presence is quietly woven throughout the Great Story. She is unlikely because she is a woman amidst a patriarchal society. She is a foreigner amidst the nation of Israel. And, Rahab is a prostitute; A morally fallen, socially unacceptable woman of the night amidst a rigidly puritanical people.
Rahab lived in the city of Jericho, and when Joshua sends two men to spy out the land, Rahab takes them in. She hides the spies and throws the Jericho security forces off their trail. She takes a leap of faith. “I know the Lord has given you the land,” she says, adding “The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.”
For her faith, Rahab and her family were spared. Rehab would be adopted into the people of Israel, but her role does not end there. She would eventually marry and when you read through the fine print of Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew’s biography, you’ll find Rahab there. Rahab, the foreign prostitute who has a line of descendants that reads like a who’s who of starring roles in the Great Story including Boaz, Jesse, David, Solomon, and Jesus.
This morning I am reminded that there are those who get starring roles, and those unlikely heroes who faithfully play bit parts. God honors them both.