Leadership can come from unlikely places and by overlooked people. I have read the story of Rahab many times, and it wasn’t until recent that I saw the amazing and valuable leadership qualities she possessed. Rahab was a leader in her household and displayed qualities that put her among a list of great people of faith in Hebrews 11.
Many leaders are overlooked due to stigmas that come with occupation when people are defined by what they do rather than who they are. People will surprise you if you look and listen. When people are pre-judged, you limit their potential, and you rob each other of value. Because of the leadership of Rahab, her entire household was saved, and her efforts helped and aided the nation of Israel in a positive manner.
Here are six leadership lessons from the story of Rahab:
1. Leaders Take Risk. Joshua 2:1-4
When the spies came into Jericho, they came to Rahab’s house. She could have easily turned them over. People told the king where the spies went. The king of Jericho even sent a message to Rahab directing her to turn them over. She took a risk and hid the spies and lied about where they had gone. This could have easily gone bad, but it didn’t, and because she took the risk to protect the spies, her family was ultimately saved. With great risk comes great reward.
2. Leaders Are Able To Recognize Circumstances. Joshua 2:9-11
Rahab did what makes most leaders great. She was able to recognize circumstances around her. Great leaders can understand times, seasons, and circumstances. They know when to act and when not to act. Rahab knew this was a time to act. She understood that the Lord had given the land to the Israelites and negotiated with the spies to save her family. She was able to see through the fear of the situation and act wisely.
3. Leaders Understand the Principles of Reciprocity and Integrity. Joshua 2:12, 14
Rahab required that the spies swear an oath to her because she had dealt with the spies kindly. The principle of reciprocity is responding to a positive action with another positive action. The men accepted and pledged their lives for her life. The requirement was that each would stand by their word; Rahab would not tell the business of the spies. She was a woman of her word and knew that the spies would be men of their word. This is a principle of integrity.
4. Leaders are Focused on Others. Joshua 2:12-13
Rahab negotiated with the spies to save all in her household. She could have easily just asked for herself. She didn’t. She asked for the spies to save her father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them. This tells me that Rahab was not selfish and valued her family asking for them all to be saved. That is leadership.
5. Leaders Accept Responsibility. Joshua 2:17-21a
For this oath, this agreement to be fulfilled required each party to fulfill their obligation and accept responsibility. Rahab had to accept responsibility and complete all that was required; her family had to be in her house, and there had to be the scarlet cord in the window. If this were done, then her family would be saved because the men would fulfill and accept their responsibility.
6. Leaders Are People of Action. Joshua 2:21b
Rahab tied the scarlet cord in the window and gathered her family in her house. She took action and fulfilled her responsibility. We know she did it because in Joshua 6:25 it states that Joshua spared Rahab and her father’s household and all that she had. What would happen if she did nothing? We would have a different history. She did it, and because of her action, she is listed in Hebrews 11 among other great leaders of faith and is listed in the lineage of Christ. Pretty good for a woman who would have been overlooked as a leader because of her profession.
Begin to see the potential in others; they will surprise you and know that professions can change.