My second favorite woman in the whole Bible has to be Rahab (my first is Abigail.) Her independent spirit makes her very interesting and appealing. Did you know her name literally means (according to Bible Gateway) “insolent,” “fierceness,” “broad,” or “spaciousness.”
The word ‘insolent’ caught my eye.
Lets think about who Rahab was before she found God: a prostitute. A woman living in such ancient, gruesome times must have mastered her street smarts pretty quick to survive. Rahab lived inside the wall of Jericho, the windows looking outward onto the land. When Israel sent spies into the city to discover their weaknesses, they ended up seeking refuge in a whore’s house. Considering many strange men spent time in these houses, it was a logical place to lay low.
It is probably safe to assume that she had the resolve to get what she wanted out of life. She had reliance, and an insolent attitude. Rahab knew her own mind, this is shown clearly when she bargained with the spies to save her and her father’s house. The spies agreed to her request, under the condition she continued to remain faithful to their bargain. She helped them escape out of the window, let down by a red cord. When the Children of Israel came and blew the trumpets, her red cord was still hanging out the window. It waved, showing the whole nation that she remained steadfast in her faith. Her bold and canny personality must have made quite an impression because one of the spies, Salmon, later married her.
In her line of work, she was probably tough, worked her womanly wiles with grace and allure, perfected lying, and she probably had a fierce streak as her name indicates.
- Womanly wiles (good at lying and flattery to get what she wanted.)
These are all character traits we try to weed out of our children, particularly girls, because we see them as negative. Obviously, they are if unaddressed, but some of them can be powerful if used correctly. Insolence towards sin is effective. Independence is healthy if it’s not leading you from God. Boldness is an effective characteristic many heroes possessed in the Bible. Another good example is anger. This character trait is warned against in the Bible. But “righteous anger” (anger against iniquity/sin) is condoned. Channeling anger and using it appropriately, is a matter of training and discipline. When we use our divinely given emotions and personalities for God to use, they can be powerful forces. If left alone, insolence, boldness, anger, leadership, or anything can be disastrous. There is no doubt that the Rahab, before she found God, was odious and wicked. But after she found God, Rahab’s attitude changed…but her personality traits didn’t. She used her skill set for righteousness instead of personal, illicit gain.
So how could Rahab use her negative traits for the Lord?
- Instead of lying to make a dollar, she lied to save lives.
- Instead boldness to attract men, she was bold for God’s people.
- Instead of insolence, she became insolent towards sin.
- Instead of acting placid, she knew her mind.
- Instead of bargaining for a new customer, she used bartering skills to negotiate her family’s life.
- Instead of “going with the flow” like the towns people, she confidently knew who God was.
Through her fear of God, Rahab expressed genuine faith in His ability to save her life. And he blessed her for it. In Matthew 1:5 she is listed in the lineage of Jesus!
So, what does Rahab example for women today?
Perhaps one big thing that stands out to me is we strip ourselves of seemingly “negative” character traits. What if we learned and taught others how to use those “negative displays of emotion” into positive, powerful forces for God? Can we use anger? Can we use fierceness against Satan? Can we make bold choices for Jesus? Can we be insolent towards sin?
Many times, we expect girls to grow up into placid, demure, modest, soft spoken saints. And while those are admirable traits, God didn’t give us just those personality behaviors to witness for him. We are not called to be placid for Jesus—we are called to fight a good fight, and fighters are warriors. And warriors are bold, fierce, independent, and insolent.
Many times, I’ve been told I’m “too strong willed.” Apparently, a lot of my girlfriends got the same response as kids, too. For some reason people thought that if we were strong willed we somehow weren’t Christian-y enough. Let’s stop that mindset! Instead, try to channel that energy into a strong will for Jesus. Women need the ability to fight the battles of impurity, lust, temptation, unsaved friends, drugs, and alcohol with strong will. They need to fight the battles of abortion, rape culture, and bad politics with strong will and independent thinking! When exampled correctly, strong will, boldness, fierceness, and insolence can be a powerful asset to a Christian’s arsenal.
A placid woman with a broken will isn’t helpful to anybody. If Rahab had been a broken, weak, unintelligent soul, she would have died obscurely along with her fellow pagans. But a bold woman, blended with grace and insolence, can change the tide of evil unlike any other force on earth. We need to know our power, as Rahab did. When she used her feminine powers for personal profit it reaped no eternal gain. But when she used those same wiles for righteousness, it changed Biblical history.
A note to young girls who feel ashamed for the personality God gave you… stop it. If God made you out spoken, thank him for it. If God made you quiet, thank him for it! If God made you bossy and fierce, thank him for it. If God made you powerful through grace and soft speaking, thank him for it. God makes no mistakes. He created you with all the qualities you’ll need for the purposes in life he created you for. It’s your responsibility to change from seeking self-gratification, and navigate your lifestyle in a way that boldly stands for Jesus like Rahab.