Summary: A look at the life of Rahab in order to get my audience to be amazed at what God is able to do and to partner with Him in changing lives, beginning with themselves
(have the text read ahead)
I have obtained a copy of a recently discovered document from the 1st century. It’s from the first publisher of the Bible – this was before there was Zondervan and Tyndale and all those publishers. It’s a letter from them to the Bible’s original author…
While we appreciate that the writing of Your manuscript has involved the work of some 40 authors and taken over 1500 years to complete, as with all writers, we feel it is important to present to You some editorial suggestions for the sake of Your book’s marketability. Please understand that these are presented with Your interests in mind, as well as the necessity of this book paying for itself as we fulfill our contract with You.
At first, our review board thought it would be best to leave out some of the less-believable material – talking donkeys, floating ax heads, parting of the sea, bread from heaven, and things like that. However we are willing to leave those in. We’re just concerned that You not undermine Your work’s credibility.
However, there are still some certain elements that we deem best left out, even though they are factual. Clearly You haven’t included every thing that ever happened, so why not omit a few features that might otherwise harm Your book’s sales? – for instance, the inclusion in Joshua of the story of a prostitute named Rahab. It seems the account of the spies in her home is just as easily left out without altering the story of the conquest of Jericho. Why make such a character a key figure in your main story line? To bring her name up again in the New Testament as an illustration of good living seems to be using poor judgment too. (If you look in Hebrews 11:31, she’s one of only 2 women mentioned there – people who had faith – along with Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and others. Then James mentions her in 2:25 as a person who was “considered righteous” for what she did.)
Worst of all is her name appearing in the genealogy of Jesus along with 2 other women of questionable background. (Sure enough, right there in Matthew 1:5 is Rahab – she married a guy named Salmon and had a son named Boaz. Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed the father of Jesse, the father of David – and Jesus descended from that earthly line.) As Your publisher, we should point out that it isn’t even considered customary to include the names of women in such lists. Our suggestion is that they simply be omitted, as in most genealogies.
If we have somehow failed to catch the spirit of Your work, our apologies. We are, of course, simply interested in Your work being polished in a way that it will be most widely read and accepted. Thank You for working with us to make Your book the best we can make it.
Amazing what archaeology digs up, isn’t it? I’m glad God didn’t listen, or else we wouldn’t be reading the story we have in front of us today. Rahab’s story is another of a person who had a changed heart and therefore a changed life. I just want to consider her story this morning and what we can learn from her.
When I read the story of Rahab, I learn about…
I. The Trustworthiness of God’s Word
Ill - Christmastime. You get the tree all set up, and it’s time to unpack the ornaments and hang them on the tree. At our house, we’ve collected quite a few over the years, so they’re in various states of condition. Isn’t that normal? So, when you’re unpacking the ornaments, you start by hanging your favorites in all the prominent places. Then, you hang your less favorite ones somewhere less noticeable.
Then there are the ones you don’t even hang up, and there may be a few that it’s time to throw away. You don’t hang cracked ornaments up where everyone will see them. Neither do you hang them up on the family tree.
We have, in our family, a book of the family history. It has information under all the names, and lists all the notable things they did. Then, you get to this one family member. It gives his name, and all it says under him is: “He was a horse thief. He was hanged.”
That fact that God even includes stories like Rahab’s is evidence that the Bible is no ordinary, man-made book. If you’re writing a story about the world and how it’s under your control and headed the direction you’ve already determined, if you’re trying to start a world movement, and gain a following, you don’t give a lot of space to tell about all the mess-ups of your people and the way it sometimes looks like it’s not going how you want. You don’t tell warts and all…unless you’re God. But read your Bible…