A Harlot in the Hall of Faith

by Tad Lindley

There are many Halls of Fame in our country. Since I grew up nearby, I went to the Canton Pro Football Hall of Fame many times in my young life. There is a Hockey Hall of Fame, a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, even a National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. These are museums that recognize those who have been excellent in their particular field. People who have run faster, hit farther, worked harder, and gone further. Their testimony stands head and shoulders above the multitudes who never made the Hall of Fame. Even the Bible has a Hall of Fame, the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

When God picks people

God does not see people the way that we do. In fact when the prophet Samuel went to Jesse’s place to anoint one of Jesse’s sons the next king of Israel God told him these famous words: “Look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth. For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” It wasn’t Jesse’s strongest son that God had chosen, in fact it wasn’t the second strongest, not even the third, fourth, fifth, or sixth strongest, it was the one in last place, David.

Wanted: Great-grandmother for David

None of us got to pick our parents, or our grandparents. The only family we get to pick (unless we have an arranged marriage) is our in-laws. The Lord, however, was able to pick his parents. In fact he was able to pick his grandparents, great grandparents, and so on all the way back to Abraham and through Noah, all the way back to Adam, who he made. Jesus chose Mary to be the one to give birth to him, and he chose Joseph to be his step-dad. As God he was able to arrange who married who and so on. Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of King David (yes, they were very distant cousins). When it came time to set up a wife for David’s great-grandfather, Salmon, God could have set him up with the finest woman in Israel, but he didn’t, he got him a prostitute.

God picked a prostitute?

You can read the genealogy in Matthew that Salmon married a woman named Rahab. There is only one woman in the Bible named Rahab, and it does not cover up the fact that she had been a prostitute. If you doubt me, please read Joshua 2. It describes in detail how out of all the people in the city of Jericho, God chose this woman, her parents, and her siblings to be saved from the coming destruction. I am not excusing her sinful past, but there was something about this woman who had become trapped in a world of sex trafficking that caught God’s attention. As despicable as her circumstances were, she had faith.

A prostitute in the hall of faith?

Hebrews 11 is commonly referred to as the Hall of Faith. It names a bunch of Old Testament believers and commends them for their faith. Moses is in there, so is Abraham. King David is there, as is Samson. There are only two women listed by name in the Hall of Faith. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, and Rahab: By faith, the harlot, Rahab, perished not with them that believed not… (Hebrews 11:31) But it’s bigger than this. In the book of James, the Bible tells us that without actions to accompany it (works), faith is dead. James doesn’t go as long as Hebrews, so there are only two people mentioned in James’ Hall of Works. The first is Abraham, the second is Rahab. All of the people in the Bible, and Rahab rose to the position of sharing a paragraph with Abraham!

How about the Rahab’s around us?

Rahab’s reputation in her old life was so bad, that it follows her into the New Testament, but her faith in a God that was so big, delivered her from that. If you tend to write people off as losers or as worthless, think again. God has a purpose and a calling for every human being on this planet. The Rahab’s in your life don’t need ridicule. They need someone who can see beyond the current state of affairs and speak a word of hope into their darkness.

What if you’re the Rahab?

Let me get blunt for a moment. If you are reading this and you are hooking so that they can keep enough heroin in your bloodstream to keep from going berserk, or you are trading your body for a bottle or a warm place to sleep at night, it does not mean that it has to end that way. There was a woman way back in Jericho who walked that same path, but Jesus brought her from the shame and stain of her own making into his marvelous light. If this paragraph is speaking to you, there is every bit as much hope for you as there was for Rahab. She was Old Testament, but in the New Testament, through repentance, water baptism in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sins, and the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38), you too can become a new creation in Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).

Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.

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