Rahab: The Scarlet Cord of Faith

By Melissa McLaughlin

We Need a Hero

Sometimes we need a hero. To be encouraged by someone who lives with fierce faith in God. To hear again a testimony that inspires.

During my recent Bible reading, one such unlikely heroine caught my attention. Her name is Rahab.

Her spirit bright with faith, Rahab threw herself completely on the mercy of God through a scarlet cord of faith. Although Rahab was a Gentile of low repute, stunningly, God appointed her to help His people.

Where does this unexpected heroine arrive on the scene in the Bible? How does Rahab’s story of faith match my own?

Rahab in the Bible

The book of Joshua begins as God directs Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Joshua sent two spies into Jericho, a major city in the region, to view the land and gain information about their adversaries.

The spies found lodging at the home of Rahab, the harlot. The king of Jericho discovered the spies’ presence and sent a search party to capture them. Fearlessly, Rahab protected and hid the spies on her roof.

Rahab’s Cord of Faith

Rahab’s faith in the God of Israel echoed as she spoke with the spies.

I know that the LORD has given you the land (Joshua 2:9).”

“For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea (Joshua 2:10).”

“For the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath (Joshua 2:11).”

Rahab’s belief reverberated through her words. She declared that what God promised was already done. He has given the land to the Israelites. In addition, though Rahab did not personally witness the parting of the Red Sea, she heard and believed wholeheartedly in Israel’s powerful God. She recognized the Lord as the true God, Ruler of heaven and earth.

Rahab: The Scarlet Cord of Faith

Rahab understood God was her only hope. Consequently, she abandoned everything and cast her lot in with God and His people. Facing imminent peril, she sent the king’s men in one direction and then lowered the spies from her window to escape, using a rope made of scarlet cord.

Rahab requested that the Israelite army spare her and her family when Jericho was overtaken. The spies agreed and instructed Rabab to tie in her window, the scarlet cord she used to free them, ensuring her home was marked for protection.

And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window (Joshua 2:21).

Scarlet Blood and the Scarlet Cord of Faith

Much like the lamb’s blood on Israelite doorframes which caused the angel of death to pass over, so the scarlet cord hung in Rahab’s window and she was saved. We read later in Joshua 6:22-25 how Joshua and the Israelites rescued Rahab and her family and allowed them to dwell among the Israelites.

A Savior Who Saves by Grace

The story of Rahab foreshadows a Savior who saves by grace through faith. For Rahab was a humble harlot in a pagan city who simply believed God and then acted in total faith. Through her faith in God, Rahab and her family were redeemed.

Although Rahab’s story is found in the Old Testament book of Joshua, remarkably, Rahab’s name is recorded three times in the New Testament. In Matthew 1:5, Rahab is mentioned as the mother of Boaz. This makes her the great-great-grandmother of King David, placing her in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Clearly her faith and conversion enabled her to become a legitimate bride.

Rahab is also listed in Hebrews 11, among the “hall of faith.”

Lastly, in James 2:25-26, Rahab’s choices are lauded as a demonstration of true faith. Her courageous deeds revealed the depths of her faith. Despite her background, God used Rahab in mighty ways.

Our Scarlet Cord of Faith

When I reread this well-known biblical narrative, my heart was moved. I saw myself in Rahab. God has always saved by faith through grace. Rahab is just one example. Her story reminds us we are all desperate sinners saved by grace.

By faith in God, Rahab was no longer viewed as an unclean prostitute, but as one worthy to marry and become part of Jesus’ family line. Likewise, as believers we are grafted into Christ’s family and partake in His inheritance. Out of God’s gracious heart, through faith in Jesus, we are transformed and become the bride of Christ.

Regardless of our past, God invites us into His family through the blood of Christ, our scarlet cord of faith which redeems us from certain judgment. As we live out our faith, God uses us to point others to faith in Christ. Like Rahab, I do not deserve a place in heaven. But God extended a scarlet cord to rescue me through the blood of Christ. Hallelujah! I am saved!

Do you have a favorite Bible hero or heroine? Sometimes we need a hero. Or maybe it’s enough to pause to remember a hero we already know. Lord, give us bold faith like Rahab!

Other posts you may enjoy:

Two Times Jesus was Amazed! What would it take? Amazing Faith By Melissa McLaughlin

The God of Second Chances By Melissa McLaughlin

God Bless You With His Name By Melissa McLaughlin

24 thoughts on “Rahab: The Scarlet Cord of Faith”

  1. Amen. Thank You Jesus for saving us through Your Holy and Mighty Blood which never loses it’s power. Hallelujah!

  2. Today, Daniel is my favorite. I like cats but very large cats would be a different story. Daniel was such a faithful man all through his life.

    • Daniel is another great hero of the faith. I can’t imagine remaining separated from the culture in order to be truly devoted to the Lord. And then facing the lion’s den because of my faithfulness. Lord, deepen our faith!

  3. I love these stories from Biblical heroes. They give me hope that God can use any of us to accomplish his purposes. Thank you this beautifully written piece of encouragement Melissa.

    • Thank you for the encouraging words, Yvonne. Though I have read this Bible story many times, during this reading of Rahab, my heart was deeply touched as I saw myself a desperate sinner in need of a Savior. Blessings to you and your family!

  4. Absolutely excellent! Amen to this. As you say, “Out of God’s gracious heart, through faith in Jesus, we are transformed.” I’m so thankful God gave me a chance for redemption.

    • Well said, Nancy! God uses the most unexpected people in the most unexpected ways… as we humble ourselves and allow Him to work. Rahab is an extraordinary example. May we live with such abandon and faith in the Lord. God bless you!

  5. Such a beautiful description of Rahab and her faith, Melissa. Beautifully done. I’ve always loved her story, her courage and faith in the one true God–how she believed even though she never saw God’s miracles for His people for herself. It’s why she’s mentioned in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews. Thanks so much for this reminder!

    • Thank you, Karen, for your kind words. I love the story of Rahab, too. Her faith is truly remarkable and God’s response, as a result of her faith, is deeply moving. God saw her deep faith and brought her into His kingdom family. What a message of salvation and redemption through our LORD! This is a gift we can all embrace through Christ our Savior and LORD. May we always recognize our great need and our great Savior!

  6. I’m so grateful for Rahab’s story when the spies came and she needed to keep her family safe. Her lineage became the family of Jesus for she was an honest woman. The family tree was rebuilt and the became the lineage of David

    • I’m so grateful for Rahab’s story, as well. Rahab was an honest woman who believed in the one true God, and sought His mercy for herself and her family. What a demonstration of God’s amazing grace for all who believe. And to think, God uses someone like Rahab to build His kingdom. How beautiful is the heart of God!

  7. Such a beautiful description of Rahab and her faith, Melissa. Beautifully done. I’ve always loved her story, her courage and faith in the one true God–how she believed even though she never saw God’s miracles for His people for herself. It’s why she’s mentioned in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews.

    • I agree, Melinda. Rahab’s story of salvation and redemption displays God’s heart toward all who believe. May we remember our desperate condition and our God who loves to save! God bless you, Melinda!


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