Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thoughts on Rahab

I was helping out with the Children's Ministry this past weekend, and the lesson focused on the story of Rahab (Book of Joshua 2 & 6). Now, not a whole lot is known about her:
  • she was a prostitute (didn't mention this detail to the kids)
  • lived in the less desirable area of town
  • helped out a couple Israeli spies
  • was spared from the destruction that hit her city of Jericho
  • through the grace of God became the mother of Boaz, who was husband to Ruth and the grandfather of King David, and through David , she was an ancestor of Jesus. (See Matt 1)
Tell me God's grace and love aren't awesomely cool! God knew Rahab's sordid past, but He looked beyond it, into her heart and made her great! He established her, even set her aside from destruction, to become a foundation stone for the Kingdom of Israel and the Messianic throne!!

But as cool as all this is, I've known it for years and can sometimes take it for granted... Pitiful, huh? It hits my head, but not my heart. So this same God, Who showed abundant mercy and grace with Rahab, took me by the hand and taught me some heart knowledge. He hits me with a concept I'd never considered before: what was this story like from Rahab's perspective? So  I go down this "just imagine" path...

Just imagine: Rahab, a woman of no esteem in a society that already looks down women. She's probably looked down upon by her parents and her brothers, yet in the midst of saving a couple spies, she asks for protection, not just for herself, but also for her family. As a result, she's been promised that anyone who takes refuge in her home will be spared by the invading army. Her parents, brothers and their families can find protection from the coming destruction if they stay in her home once the invasion starts. Now this home is built into the wall and is therefore closest to the invading army.

So I wonder: when did she get the courage to invite her family to join her? "Hey, guess what? I just helped those spies escape! So now, they'll protect us if the Israeli army invades... isn't that great??" How did they respond when she first told them? I can't imagine it was with shouts of joy; probably a different type of shout was raised, huh? Was her family tempted to turn her in to the authorities as a traitor? How did they respond when the army finally arrived? Assuming they actually joined her when the army was camped outside, how difficult was it for HER, when the army spent 6 days just walking around the city? "Rahab, they look like they're just trying to decide if they're actually going to attack. I think you were just scared and made up the whole spy story so you wouldn't be alone in your house. Perhaps the Israelis are now realizing how inpenetrable our city walls are as they go on their daily walk. Nice. I'm going home. Let me know when they leave. Stupid *@#$!!"

I can't imagine that it was easy to believe Rahab, and that some of her family abandoned her after a couple days, if they even listened to her at all and if they didn't disown her as a harlot and a traitor. But whether she was alone or with others, she remained faithful, and her faith was rewarded. As the walls around Jericho fell on the seventh day, she was brought into a new kingdom... she was protected from the destruction that devoured her city!

Still, after that, how many of her new country-women looked down upon her former occupation and nationality? How many men in the new kingdom treated her like a harlot? Yet in the end, how did this affect her son, Boaz, as he looked upon Ruth, another foreign woman who joined God's kingdom?

The reality remains: our path as believers is not easy, but it's worth it! Rahab did not have an easy life, but her belief in God's power and her obediance saved her life!! And God has not changed... He promises to do the same for each of us as we dedicate our lives fully to Him.

As I was reviewing my journal, I came across a word the Lord gave me on August 13th of 2008: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and He will not forget you in your hour of need! No matter how dark our situation, God is still in control, and we can take comfort in knowing that He is working out a victorious outcome for His people, for each of us that are called by His Name!! (see Rom 8:28)