“The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” Joshua 2:11 (Full context: Joshua 2, 6)
Joshua sent two spies into Jericho to check out the land they were to take—that the Lord had promised to the people of Israel. The king of Jericho knew they were coming, but Rahab—the city prostitute—was kind enough to hide the spies in her home and not give them up to the evil king. Rahab chose to defy her own king in order to help the Israelites. Why?
In verses 9-11, Rahab recounts the wonderful works she has heard about the God of Israel, and she knows that He is worthy of obedience and worship, concluding that “the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
The spies are blown away by her kindness and promise to protect her family when they take the land. And they did just that because Rahab hid the spies on behalf of the Lord. (See Joshua 6 for the fulfillment of the story!)
Rahab’s faith to obey the one true God rather than the king of Jericho could have gotten her killed by her own people. She risked it anyway, and God stayed faithful to His promise to protect her. He then went above that promise in setting Rahab as an example of great faith throughout the entire Bible. She makes it into Matthew’s genealogy (Matthew 1:5) showing that she is in Jesus’ direct earthly family line—and she’s one of three women to make it into that list, which was crazy taboo in that time. She also is in the great Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11, showing that her faith rivaled that of Noah, Abraham, and Moses, to name a few. Even James urges us to follow after Rahab’s example in letting faith lead to works (James 2:25).
Rahab’s faith is great, not just because she knew who God was and is, but also because she risked her life and reputation because she believed that what God has said is true.