I’ve met countless people who have moved overseas to escape from a bad past. I've counselled international students who have worked in questionable occupations but would return home with no-one the wiser. I've known people who changed their name or appearance to hide from bad memories.
Not so Rahab. It seems that Rahab could never escape her problematic past.
Rahab had been a well-known prostitute in Jericho who risked her life to hide 2 Israelite spies because she believed in the God of Israel, "The LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath" (Joshua 2:11). She had put her faith into action and as a result she and her household were spared when Israel routed the city. She was integrated into Israel, gained respectability and married a Jewish man, Salmon.
Her past should have been forever forgotten? Right? It was a different time. Different beliefs. Different culture. Different nation. Different people. But Rahab thereafter had the moniker: “Rahab the harlot”. She’s called that in both the Old and New Testaments in case you missed the point.
Can you imagine her children unkindly being taunted because their mother was ‘Rahab the harlot’? Many people have been killed for insulting someone’s mother but this derogatory title obstinately stayed, for thousands of years.
Yet God didn’t see her that way. He saw her as a woman of faith and courage who had transcended her reputation and actually named her, without the appellation, as a forebear of none other than David the king and the Messiah, Jesus: “Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king (Matt. 1:5-6 Amp).
Whatever sobriquet or label you’ve had in your life, God doesn’t care! If you willingly identify with Jesus and His people, you’ve been reborn. You’ve been made new. Your past has been swept away. All God wants is your faith in Him which is actually how Rahab is remembered. In Hebrews she made it into the honour roll of the faithful (Heb. 11: 31) and James writes about her faith in action (Jas. 2:25).
If God can redeem someone who was an active contributor to a godless, sex-obsessed pagan culture and put them in the lineage of the God- man, what can God do for you when you ask Him to forgive you and redeem you from a life lived away from Him?