Summary: Joshua #2
“THE COURAGE OF FAITH”
Susan Wilkinson, in her book “Getting Past Your Past”, writes these words:
“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.
I know it sounds calloused to use that term in speaking of another human being, but that’s the only accurate way to describe this young woman.
Her name was Rahab.
She was a street-walking hooker living in the town of Jericho nearly four millennia ago. Women despised and shunned 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.”
This morning, we’re going to carefully examine the life of the most unlikely hero of the faith. Her name is Rahab.
But before we look into her life, I would like to explore the question: “What is faith?” What do we mean when we say “faith”?
I see 3 ingredients of faith:
This is based on examination of the evidence. Having investigated the evidence, you make the decision to agree with the facts. Suppose someone says to you that this chair is safe. You could look at this chair and from all appearances it looks like a safe chair, that it could hold you up if you sat in it. You could even find out the manufacturer of the chair, find out where we bought the chair from and decide if it is safe. So, having done that, you decide to believe the facts that, yes, this chair is safe.
This is based on having confidence in the object of your belief. When you trust, you say, “I believe in the facts that this chair can hold me up. Therefore, I trust it.” When you trust you place your personal confidence in something because the evidence proves the object of the faith is valid.
This takes personal involvement. This is actually sitting on the chair and letting it hold you up.
You see, faith isn’t anti-intellectual, it isn’t guesswork, it isn’t wishful thinking. Faith is rooted and grounded in fact.
You become a Christian when you have faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in Jesus that He died on the cross for your sins making it possible for you to have a right relationship with God. It’s not enough to just believe, because the Bible tells us that the demons believe and tremble. It’s placing your trust in Christ, taking action, boarding that plane, sitting down on that chair.
But after having become a Christian, you will also continue to exercise faith throughout your life.
For example, maybe right now, this morning, there is some area of your life that you need to give to God. You know intellectually that Jesus is trustworthy, right? But maybe you haven’t yielded this area of your life to Him. So you realize that, yes, Jesus can actually be trusted with that area of your life, so, out of obedience to God, you act on your trust by yielding it to Jesus Christ, letting go, and relaxing.
“But, oh, it’s so hard!” you say. “I just don’t have enough courage!” Well, you’re right in that it is hard, but you are wrong if you say that you don’t have enough courage. I would say that you don’t have enough faith. You see, if you have true faith, you have courage, because the mark of true faith is courage. Faith is the source of courage. We don’t have great faith by having great courage; we have great courage when we have great faith. And God always honors faith that is demonstrated by courage.
One such example is Rahab. She stands out in Scripture as an object of God’s redeeming grace. She is mentioned in Hebrews 11 (the faithful’s Hall of Faith). She’s mentioned along with such greats as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. Along with these greats, we find the most unlikely person…Rahab.
She had no great spiritual pedigree.
She did no great feats of strength prowess.
She wasn’t a brilliant scholar or theologian.
Here is a woman with absolutely nothing going for her!
Why was she unlikely?
1. She was a Gentile, and a Canaanite at that. The Canaanites were the enemy. In fact, she was an Amorite, a race that God had long ago marked for destruction. She wasn’t Jewish, not of God’s chosen people.