Masterpiece of Mercy

By Johnny Hunt
Bible Book: Joshua  2
Subject: Womanhood, Godly; Mercy; Grace

This passage tells the story of a woman who had a past yet became a prominent figure in Hebrew history. Generations would look upon Rahab as one of the most fortunate women ever to find refuge in the mercy of God. This passage contains the story of unbelievable hope. Rahab’s story illustrates the wonder and beauty of God’s grace with fairy-tale drama.

You can’t read this story without celebrating the fact and reality that it’s not a past that has to paralyze us but a present and future that can propel us.

In many ways Rahab’s story is our story. Each of us has a label. The reality is the embarrassment your label reflects is not an obstacle to God’s grace. Grace doesn’t require people with embarrassing labels to shed those labels as a prerequisite. Grace is what empowers us to do so. Grace doesn’t demand.

Grace assists. Grace is slow to judge and quick to deliver.

Eph 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

Rahab means “broad”, which could very well speak of the road she had traveled.

Matt 7:13, “"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”

Rahab is mentioned in three different books of our Bible. (Joshua, Hebrews, James) Every time, without exception, she is referred to as a harlot. This is not to humiliate her or to demean her memory, but to cast in bold relief the grace of God that saved her. Regardless of the kind of life a person has lived, there is forgiveness for sin and eternal life available in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:20b, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

The Bible is not only quick to mention Rahab’s past, but to magnify her present state. The two times that Rahab is mentioned in the N.T., Hebrews and James, she is in the context of Sarah and Abraham. By the way, only two women are mentioned in the “Hall of Fame of Faith” in Hebrews 11:

Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and Rahab, the harlot.

Think of the contrast. Sarah was a godly woman, the wife of the founder of the Hebrew race and God used her dedicated body to bring Isaac into the world. Rahab was an ungodly Gentile who worshiped pagan gods and sold her body for money. Seemingly, from a human perspective, they have nothing in common. But from a divine perspective, they shared the most important thing in life. They both had experienced saving faith in the true and living God.

Also, the Apostle James, in 2:21-26, used Rahab to illustrate the fact that true saving faith always proves itself by good works.


I am of the personal conviction that Rahab had become a believer before the visit of the spies. The presence of “flax” on the roof of her dwelling leads me to believe that she had moved into a moral occupation. Flax was a plant used to make linen. The flax produced fibers so that they might be spun into thread for weaving. You can also use it to weave a coarse fiber or make twine (cord/rope).

Prov 31:10, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”

Prov 31:13, “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.”

ILL. Iris Blue: From tramp to testimony for our Lord.


John Newton had a similarly remarkable conversion. Losing his mother when he was 7 years old, he went to sea at the age of 11. “I went to Africa,” he said, “that I might be free to sin to my heart’s content.” And that he did! During the next few years, Newton’s soul was seared by the most revolting of all human experiences. He fell into the pitless clutches of the press-gang. Later, as a deserter from the navy, he was flogged until the blood streamed down his back. He became involved in the unspeakable atrocities of the African slave trade. And then, going from bad to worse, he actually became a slave himself. He was sold to a woman slave who, glorying in her power over him, made him depend for his food upon the crusts she tossed under her table. In the epitaph that he composed for himself, Newton said that he was “the slave of slaves.” And then it happended! In 1748, on board a ship about to founder in the grips of a storm, the Lord came from on high and delivered him out of deep waters. When the ship went plunging down into the trough of the seas, few on board expected her to come up again. As Newton hurried to the pumps, he said to the Captain, “If this will not do, the Lord have mercy upon us!” His own words startled him. “Mercy!” He said to himself in astonishment. “Mercy! Mercy!” On the 10th of March, 1748, Newton sought mercy, and found it!”

God changed Rahab!


Romans 10:9-10, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” How did Rahab hear about the God of Israel? Possibly from the men who frequented her establishment.

Rom 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Rahab’s knowledge of the true God was limited, but she acted on what she knew, and the Lord saved her. Rahab’s confession included:


“I know that the Lord has given you the land.”

Note the certainty of her confession.

2 Tim 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

I Jn 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”


“that the terror of you has fallen on us”

Deut 11:25, "No man shall be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you.”


“your God” – she believed He was a personal God who would work on behalf of those who trusted Him.


Scarlet Cord Seen in:

A. HER SURETY. 12-14

The spies pledged their word and their lives Jesus gave His word and His life for us.

Heb 7:22, “by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.”


The door of Rahab’s house became a door to safety from the judgment soon to fall on Jericho.


NOAH - Door of the Ark

EGYPT - Blood on the Doorpost

JESUS - John 10:9, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”


Often in biblical covenants, God appointed some physical or material token to remind the people of what had been promised.


Abraham - sealed by the rite of circumcision

Moses- cloud and pillar of fire

Noah - rainbow

Jesus - broken bread and cup of wine

Rahab- scarlet cord

The scarlet cord out the window of her house, which was built on the wall, would identify her house as the “house of safety.” Just as Egypt’s blood on the doorpost marked a house that the angel of death was to pass over, so Rahab’s scarlet cord.


Rahab was a Gentile, an Amorite, and a harlot Gentile - Eph 2:11-17, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh-- who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands--that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.”

Amorite – they were a tribe devoted to destruction yet, God is no respecter of persons Rahab was not given a second class salvation. Her position was equal to that of any citizen of Israel. She would have to be considered among the Who’s Who of Bible genealogy.She married a Jew named Salmon of the tribe of Judah. Their son, Boaz, married Ruth the Moabite. Their son was Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David. She was brought into a noble line of the tribe of Judah and became an ancestor of the Lord.


Amazing Grace