Summary: Rahab was looking for love and created a lot of past that she needed to get past. This is the first in a 2 part message.
February 17, 2002 Hebrews 11:31; Josh 2
“Looking for love in all the wrong places”
I like the story about a Seminary student who wanted to have a scriptural basis for everything he did. He felt he was on solid ground if he could quote Bible book, chapter & verse to okay his actions. He did all right with that until he began to fall in love with a beautiful co-ed. He wanted very much to kiss her, but he just couldn’t find a scripture to okay it. So, true to his conscience, he would simply walk her to the dormitory each night, look at her longingly, & then say "Good night."
This went on for several weeks, & all the time he was searching the Bible, trying to find some scripture to okay kissing her good night. But he couldn’t find one, until finally he came across that passage in Romans that says, "Greet each other with a holy kiss." He thought, "At last, I have scriptural authority for kissing her good night." But to be sure, he went to his hermeneutics professor to check it out. After talking with the professor, he realized that the passage dealt more with a church setting than with a dating situation. So once again he simply didn’t have a passage of scripture to okay kissing his girl good night.
That evening he walked her to the dormitory & once again started to bid her "good night." But as he did, she grabbed him, pulled him toward her, & planted a 10-second kiss right on his lips. At the end of the kiss, the Seminary student gasped for air, & stammered, "Bible verse, Bible verse." The girl grabbed him a 2nd time, & just before kissing him again, said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
I think that it would be safe to say that everyone here is looking for love. Oh, you may have found the person who is your true love, but on a day to day basis, you are looking for that person to give you their love. You crave it. You need it just as much as you need food. And sometimes when you don’t get it, you substitute chocolate in its place. The children here, though they might not yet be willing to admit their desire for love from a girl or a guy, would willingly admit their need for a hug and a kiss from mom and dad. Part of the reason that you are here today is because you are looking for love from people who have experienced the love of God.
All of those are good places to find love. But there are a lot of places where people search for love and only find frustration, pain, and regret. We’re going to talk about a woman like that this morning. See if you can identify with her situation.
She was the talk of the town, but nobody talked to her. Every square inch of her seductive body was lovely, but she was unloved. I guess that’s the price you pay when you’re the town prostitute. Her name was Rahab. She was a street-walking hooker living in Jericho nearly 4000 yrs. ago. Women despised and cursed her. Men leered at, joked about and visited her.
Of all the people you’d least expect God to use in a significant way it was this woman, Rahab. After all she carried with her a rather unseemly past. By all standards of decency she was a tainted woman. Yet her life proves a truth that needs to be shouted for all to hear, especially in our modern times: Your past does not determine your future, your choices do.
Some of you here know what it’s like not to be able to get past your past either because of what you’ve done or because of what’s been done to you. You daily live with the constant ache of regret. Thoughts of your previous mistakes and sins still haunt you and you repeat the mantra, "If only …" "If only I’d done this. If only I hadn’t done that. Life would be as I have always dreamed."
Because you can’t get past your past you suffer from depression and fear. You may have a constant sense of failure. You lack joy or an awareness of purpose. Emotionally you often feel numb. Spiritually, you’re cold. Worst of all is this nagging sensation that your life is on hold and you’re waiting to really live. - Adapted from Susan Wilkinson’s book Getting Past Your Past (Multnomah Pub.), 44 and a sermon by Joel Smith of Wellspring Community Church.
Some of those descriptions are true of you. Get ready to see how you can get past your past. Some of those descriptions may be true of people that you know. Pay attention so that you can help them get past their past. Rahab did it. She found that your past does not determine your future, but your choices do. There are others of you out there who are saying, “This message is not for me. I’ve got no past to get past.” Yes, you do. You were born a sinner. We all were. And if you don’t get past that past, then there is no hope for your future. But you say, “I’m no hooker, pastor Chris. I’m a good person. You won’t find any street-walking clothes on me!” The Bible says that those self-righteous clothes that you are wearing right now are like filthy rags in the sight of God (Is. 64:6). The Bible also says that someone who breaks God’s law in just one point is guilty of all of His commandments (James 2:10) Your unforgiveness makes you just as ugly and repugnant toward God as homosexuality or prostitution. Your pride and gossip puts you in the same category as Satan. We’ve all got a past that we have to get past in order to enjoy the future that God has prepared for us. Godly decision-making is the key. Let’s look at the decisions that Rahab made which revolutionized her life.