Joshua: Rahab-Woman Of Faith

In Chapter 2, we see God's concern for a prostitute in a heathen country. Jesus was concerned for the souls of the prostitutes of His day. We see the same concern in God's heart here. Rahab was a well known prostitute in Jericho. Burt she was sick and tired of her profession, just like many prostitutes today. Mary Magdalene was sick and tired of her profession. Very few people recognize that. They just despised the prostitutes. Many prostitutes in our cities are not there because they love to be there. Many of them have been deceived and or forced into such a life. And many of them are sick and tired of being exploited by men. They near to hear the gospel. I praise God for godly men through the ages who have had a burden for saving prostitutes. They shared the burden of God's heart for these unfortunate women.

As and example, let us look at St Vitalis of Gaza who was a 7th century Egyptian hermit.

When Vitalis was about 60 years old, after many years in the desert, he gave up being a hermit and went to Alexandria. There he became a day laborer. He would work all day at back-breaking tasks to earn a wage and then proceed to the local brothel to spend it.

Every night, this former hermit found himself with a different prostitute. You can imagine what the local Christians thought! Vitalis was ridiculed and harassed. People even approached the Patriarch to try to have him excommunicated, but the Patriarch refused to act on hearsay. Vitalis’ life became rather miserable until one day he was attacked in the street and killed. When he was found, he was clutching a paper with 1 Corinthians 4:5 written on it: “Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts.”

But the Christians of Alexandria had already judged. “Good riddance,” they thought, until his funeral. Dozens (if not hundreds) of former prostitutes attended his funeral, and each testified that she owed her soul to Vitalis.

As it turns out, Vitalis’ life wasn’t quite as debauched as people thought. Each night, after Vitalis had paid for a woman’s services, he would tell her he had bought her one night without sin. She was free to sleep. He, meanwhile, would hold vigil over her and pray for her. Naturally, some were curious. They asked Vitalis what he was about and he told them: God loved them and wanted them to be saved. He told them of God’s mercy, of his death on the cross, of the way he delighted in them. And when they were ready to accept this, he found them a way out. He worked to arrange marriages, provide dowries, even find monasteries willing to accept them. The only thing he asked was that they keep quiet about what he had done. If his good deeds had been known, after all, he would have been barred entry to the women he wanted to serve. So he submitted to ignominy, willingly offering his reputation for the sake of their souls.

I think of Father Francis Regis...

who every summer, worked in town, preaching, hearing confessions, and serving the poor. Like St. Vitalis of Gaza, he had a particular ministry to prostitutes, pounding on brothel doors and demanding that new “recruits” be given into his custody. Sometimes, he would see a woman being dragged off by an attacker and would throw himself upon the man, pulling the woman from the grasp of her assailant and allowing himself to be beaten instead.

This work to rescue victims of human trafficking didn’t earn him many friends. Instead, Fr. Regis received frequent death threats, many of which resulted in actual attacks. Each time, his life was saved, whether by Providence or by outright miracle. He established a refuge for rescued women, obtained training in lace-making for them so that they could support themselves, founded a group of charitable women, and miraculously multiplied grain to feed the poor. But mostly, he preached and heard confessions for hours on end, loving nothing more than to reconcile a sinner to God.

Now Rahab was not a child of Abraham. But she had a longing in her heart for God.

And God looks all over the world for those who are hungering after Him-irrespective of their nationality and irrespective of whether they are prostitutes or religious leaders. God saw such a longing in Rahab's heart and was determined to make a way for her salvation. Her name appears on the first page of the New Testament as the great grandmother of David and as the ancestor of both Joseph and Mary the mother of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:5). She is listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11:31. And James quotes her actions as an example of faith being accompanied by works (James 2:25)
Did Rahab ever imagine that she would become an example for generations to come? Or that millions of people would talk about her faith for 3000 years? There is no partiality with God. Some of you may be like Rahab - having lived in sin and made a mess of your lives. You may be in some remote corner of the world, with nobody to care for you. But God sees the longing in your heart, and He has wonderful ways by which to make you His servant and a blessing to millions.