Summary: Many of us have some preconceived ideas about who God can use but Rahab tells us that God can use anyone, even me.
God Wants To Use You!
Elmer Towns tells about a member of a motorcycle gang who was converted to Jesus Christ dramatically and the first Sunday he did the only thing he knew he should do and so he went to church. Nobody in the church knew him and he walked down to the second aisle and sat in the seat. And the people stared because he looked the part; big burly, bearded, long hair, black jacket, tattoos.
It came announcement time and the minister got up and made an appeal for nursery workers. He said, “We need someone to work in the nursery.” But no one would volunteer. He asked a second time, “We really need someone to go be with our kids.” But no one would volunteer. And the cyclist prayed, “Lord, I want to do what you want me to do and if you want me to go work in nursery just have the preacher ask a third time.” And a third time the preacher said, “Please we need someone to work in the nursery.” And the cyclist raised his hand, nodded his head and started toward the nursery. And immediately 50 mothers followed volunteering to work in the nursery.
Have you thought about the kinds of people God uses? What kind of person comes to mind when you think of a person God uses? Does a biker covered with tattoos come to mind when you think of people who God uses? Maybe not. Or is it the preacher on public access in a white suit who sits in a big gaudy studio with his weeping wife that God uses? Who does God use?
I will tell you whom God uses? God uses anyone he chooses to use! In fact, God usually chooses to use people, we wouldn’t necessarily choose. God is inclined to use the most unusual people. People we would most likely reject.
Such as Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus was an enemy of the first church. He was the equivalent of Osama Bin Laden in the first century. He terrorized and killed Christians. Dave Stone says, “Saul was not the dude you invited to your baptism.” But one day on his way to Damascus, Jesus Christ appeared to Saul and said, “Saul, I have chosen you to preach to the Gentiles.” God chose his arch-enemy, Saul of Tarsus to spread his message.
I’ll tell you another person God used that you and I would’ve ignored. A woman named Rahab! Rahab was a prostitute who lived in the city of Jericho. But God used her, a prostitute, as a part of his providential plan. In fact, the book of Hebrews in the New Testament lists Rahab as a hero of the faith. “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” (Hebrews 11:31).
Rahab’s story is captured in the second chapter of Joshua in the Old Testament. Let’s look at this story of Rahab and perhaps we will learn some valuable lessons about what kind of people God’s uses. Joshua 2 starting with verse 1.
I. RAHAB’S STORY (EXPOSITION)
Verse 1, “Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. ‘Go look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute name Rahab.”
Joshua sent only two spies into the land this time because I think he remembered what happened when Moses sent 12 spies (Numbers 13:1-14:4). He also sent just two spies so that they could remain discreet and unnoticed. He sent them to Jericho because Jericho was a heavily fortified city and it would take a quality battle plan to capture this city. Joshua did not know at this point how God was going to help him attack the city and so he need strategic information about the city for the upcoming battle just in case he had to fight through conventional means.
The spies entered the city of Jericho and stayed at the house of the prostitute Rahab. The Life Application Bible points out that the spies chose to stay at Rahab’s home because as a prostitute she lived on the edge of society, one stop short of rejection. Her house, built right into the city wall, provided both lodging and sexual favors to travelers. The spies also hid at Rahab’s house perhaps thinking they may be mistaken as some of her customers. A house of prostitution made a perfect place for the spies to check out the land.
If I were one of those spies I would have been truly uncomfortable staying at a house of prostitution. About two years ago a leader in our church and myself attended a conference in Columbus and we had reserved a hotel on the internet and were surprised by how cheap it was. When we got done with the conference that night we drove a few minutes to the hotel and we understood why it was so cheap. In the parking lot of the Motel 8 was a strip bar! I was a little embarrassed staying there and we changed hotels the next night. Usually we don’t think of God leading people into a place of ill-repute but these spies went to Rahab’s brothel.