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Was it o.k. for Rahab to lie?

Scripture: Joshua 2:4-6, Acts 17:30
Was it o.k. for Rahab to lie? Did God excuse her sin? She apparently repented of her sin and was saved. God looks on the heart and winked at her ignorance.
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Caller:  I had a question about Rahab and Joshua, in Joshua 4 and 5, when the guards question her about the two spies that are hidden in her house and she lies to them and tells them they have already left.  What I was wondering is Did God excuse her sin because she was doing good or did she repent of her sin?

Pastor Doug:  I would assume she ultimately repented.  She became one of the great great great great grandmas of Jesus.  Rahab married Salmon and the two of them had a boy named Boaz who was the father of Obed who was the father of Jesse who was the father of David. 

We have reason to believe that God winked at her ignorance.  Keep in mind, not only was she having a problem with honesty, she was Rahab the harlot, so she had some other issues in her life.  But God looks on the heart.  And the Bible says in Acts 17:30 In the times of this ignorance, God winks at.  The Bible says that if we sin willfully after we’ve received a knowledge of the truth, we’re more accountable than if we don’t know. 

But in Joshua 2, when Rahab says Pursue them quickly for they have gone—keep something else in mind.  Not that I’m condoning lying, by any stretch of the imagination, but if you read not only the story of Rahab, King David pretended he was crazy and he foamed at the mouth on the gates of Abimelech.  That’s deceptive.  He wasn’t crazy. 

These are things that were done during times of war.  When Joshua himself went in battle against the city of Ai, they pretended that they were being defeated and they retreated.  They weren’t being defeated—it was a trap.  It’s an old army tactic.  They drew them out of the city and so it was deception.  My point is that it seems like in battles that God winked at some of the deception and dishonesty that took place during these wars.  Because you have to think about it, what would happen in a war if in order to be honest the general marched out and said Here, let me tell you what my plans are. 

One of the first things they tell you in war is the element of surprise and diversionary tactics, which means deception.  See what I’m saying?  So, that’s one of the casualties of truth in our world is war.  The first casualty of truth.  God doesn’t not condone lying, but I believe that’s where you apply that scripture, God winks at the ignorance of the age. 

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