Again our hearts are to be refreshed as we see the rich reward that God delights to give to faith; for children are the heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward. (Psalm 127:3). But children were not the only reward that God gave to Rahab.
You all know the story. You know she was a Canaanite Gentile: one of those appointed to utter destruction. You know she was a harlot. But have you ever pondered her faith, and the reward she won for it? You remember her name is inscribed on that Honor Roll of Faith in Hebrews 11.
In Joshua 2:9, she says: “I know that the Lord hath dried up the water of the Red Sea for you…” She speaks the true language of faith: “I know,” not, “I think, or “I expect,” but “I know.” There is real faith. Faith cometh by hearing: they all had heard in Jericho, but only Rahab believed, -had faith, -so only Rahab knew. Note how individual the matter is: She says: “We have heard;” but, “I know.” She knew that the Lord, Jehovah, had given Israel the land: she knew that certain judgment and destruction awaited Jericho, and so she pleads, not for her own life only, but “that ye will show kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: that ye will save my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”
And what was the result? Did the Lord tell her that she asked too much? Did He say, No Rahab, you may be saved: but your house cannot be saved on your faith. Indeed He said no such thing: His promise was to “all thy father’s household,” (2:18). It reminds us of the wonderful promise to the jailor at Philippi: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). Let none suppose there must not be individual faith for salvation. Surely there must. But God’s Own way is that the individual may put in his claim, by faith, for all the household: and that is just what Rahab did. She did not interpret that word household in the narrow way some of our friends try and interpret it today, going to endless trouble to prove, what cannot be proved, that there were no little children in the households of the New Testament. (Acts 16:15, 16:31-34, I Corinthians 1:16; 16:15.) They hope thus to prove that today we may not copy Rahab, and bring our little ones with us into the external place of blessing which we enjoy. But all such labor is directly opposed to the current of Scripture and the free grave of God.
No, when the spies went to bring Rahab outside the doomed city, from that house that was sheltered by the scarlet line in the window, they found there “her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her families, and left them without the camp of Israel.” (Joshua 6:23, Margin.) They did not say: Rahab, you have taken this work ‘household’ to mean too many. On the contrary the Lord delights to record the breadth of Rahab’s faith; and he honors it to the full. I doubt not He might have said to her, as to another woman of Canaan: “O Woman, Great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” (Matthew 15:28.) No, it is not a God-honoring faith that refuses to bring our household into God’s place of blessing along with ourselves.: it is on the contrary, I sadly fear, ignorance or unbelief of God’s heart of matchless grace: narrow, God-dishonoring unbelief.
But the salvation of “all her families” was only the beginning of her reward. You know Rahab: but do you know her husband and her son? She was only a harlot in Jericho; but who was she in Israel? She married Salmon (Matthew 1:5), who was the son of Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah, (I Chronicles 2:11): the Leader of the tribe that had marched first through the wilderness. (Numbers 10:14). And so she was brought directly into the royal line of Israel, into one of the most honored families of all, and became an ancestor of the promised Messiah, and is one of the four women mentioned in the genealogy of our Lord.
Nor was this all. Nahshon’s sister, Elisheba, (our Elizabeth), was wife of Aaron the chief priest. What a place for a poor Canaanite harlot to be brought! Daughter-in-law to the royal prince of Israel, niece by marriage to the chief priest, mentioned by name in the genealogy of the Messiah, where even the names of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel are passed over, and in addition to all, God gave her a son, Boaz, meaning ‘Strength’, who had for his wife Ruth the Moabites, also mentioned by name in the royal line; and Boaz and Ruth were the great-grandparents of David the King. Such was the reward of Rahab’s faith.