Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dig Deeper - Rahab, the harlot - Part 1

(It occured to me that in talking about girls and God, we should take at least one day a week to "Dig Deeper" into the Word of God. So each Tuesday, we'll dig into our Bibles and see what we can learn and we'll start with looking at some women in the Bible and, because I've been studying Joshua this week, we'll launch this new thing with Rahab - a woman who launched a whole new life.)

I can't wait to meet Rahab. She has a truly amazing story to tell. She went from being a prostitute, to having the honor of being listed in the geneology of Jesus Christ Himself. Talk about a turnaround! Like many of you, I have a past myself. Nothing as dramatic as Rahab, but I had dug a pretty slimy pit for myself before God pulled me out.

We have to go to Joshua 2 to meet Rahab. Read the whole chapter and see what you find.

Here is a woman who is a prostitute, and even thousands of years later, we all know what that means. When the two spies come she has already heard stories of their God - stories that made the whole city of Jericho melt with fear.

The Power of a Testimony

Hearing what God had done for Israel gave Rahab the courage to trust God. She didn't have to hide the spies - she could have turned them over to the king to be killed. Instead she hide them, trusting that God was going to protect her family. She knew God was able because of what she had heard and when the spies left her they gave her instructions on how they would rescue her when Jericho fell.

We all have a testimony - it's a powerful witness of God at work in His people. Not only can God's faithfulness to us help encourage our own faith during a hard time, but hearing of God's faithfulness and power can encourage others to trust God during their own. Rahab reminds me to tell the stories of God. She heard and believed, and we never know when someone might believe because they heard us speak of God's wonderful deeds, mighty power and infinite lovingkindness towards us. In v11 Rahab says, "When we heard of it [the stories], our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below." Imagine that. It's like saying, "We heard what your God did for you and even though it really scared us, I believe that He's not only God, but He's here with you." I love the idea that God could show Himself to somebody through me. What an awesome privilege - and a forgotten responsibility.

The Power of Perspective

The other thought I'd like to mention today - and we'll talk more of Rahab next week, but in reading Joshua 2 I wondered what the story of Rahab would be were it written in "The History of Jericho". Indeed, she would have probably been considered a traitor - what she did was treasonness to her own country, she lied to her king - all things that could have cost her her life. Jericho was destroyed of course, and Rahab was saved but like her we often face very different descriptions of our actions.

I don't know how many of you have unsaved family and friends around you that are opinionated about your walk with God. I do. When I first decided to follow God my family wanted to disown me they were so upset about it. Imagine. They truly thought I was making a terrible decision that would cost me dearly. I'm so glad God had a different perspective:-) Just as Jericho and God would never agree on Rahab, there will be times in our lives when God prompts us to do that which seems foolish and reckless, and the unbelieving world around us just can't understand. And I think that's just the way God likes it. After all - without faith, it is impossible to please God.

So. What did God point out to you in Joshua 2?