Summary: When any of us gets caught up in worldly pursuits that have devastating effects on one's own life as well as the lives of others, God's amazing grace and providential care provides a way of salvation - if we only trust Him.
RAHAB: COURAGEOUS FAITH
The LORD our God – omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent – is at it again: this time working in and through the lives of certain women who love and trust God - to bring about good in their own lives and in the lives of others!
Have we not become fully aware of how our Maker, Father and Redeemer goes about the business of turning negatives into positives!?
God our Father moves in and through the situations of ordinary people who acknowledge Him as awesome (fear Him) and accept by faith His purpose to thwart enemies of righteousness and to thrust His plan of redemption forward!
“God At Work” signs have been posted in some strange places throughout the Bible . . . yet, when we look at His Story as it unfolds in the Old Testament . . . then when we get to the rest of His Story as revealed in the New Testament, we see what God was up to, and we wonder no more! Patience and perseverance paid off! Today’s lesson is a case in point:
Why would our Holy God, who expects His children to be holy as He is holy, pick a prostitute to be an instrument of divine intervention . . . exemplary courage in the process of getting His people ready to possess the Promised Land?
Recap: Israel had been delivered from 400 years of slavery . . . had been given the Ten Commandments . . . had journeyed for four decades through the desert until, at long last, they had reached the river that separated them from their destination.
Their God-appointed leader Moses was dead . . . Joshua was now in charge. He sent two spies to Jericho . . . Led by the Spirit of God they went to the house of a well-known harlot whose name was Rahab. Strange! Weird might be a better word - until we think it through, follow the scarlet thread, and eventually see what God was (is) up to – Joshua 2:1-14 . . .
In essence: Rehab risked her life for God’s chosen people! She had become convinced that Jehovah God was (is) “God in heaven above and on earth beneath” . . . the one true God (2:11). Now hear this gospel truth: Her occupation as a harlot did not place her beyond God’s grace. All people are sinners and must come to God for forgiveness --- regardless of their (our) past.
Rahab left her participation in the world’s “oldest profession” . . . She joined the Israelites . . . She became a child of God!
Indeed she was one of the ancestors of Jesus recorded by Matthew (1:5) . . . Rahab was the wife of Salmon, mother of Boaz, mother-in-law of Ruth, grandmother of Obed, great-grandmother of Jesse, great-great-grandmother of King David.
Only by the providence and grace of God did such a scenario (does any such scenario) ever occur! It began when Joshua, under the direction of the LORD God, sent two spies to “go view the land, especially Jericho” -- the “gateway” city into Canaan - strategically located and fortified with humongous double-wide walls.
Why the house of a harlot for lodging? A shrewd bit of planning to say the least! No one would suspect that these two strangers were any different from all others who spent the night at a house of ill repute while travelling to and fro on this very busy trade route – “business as usual”.
Certainly not Israelites - known by Canaanites as those highly religious people whose God delivered them from bondage by plagues and by parting the sea . . . exercised His mighty power against their enemies! As inconspicuous as the two spies thought their overnight stay would be - somehow, some way, someone leaked word to the king of Jericho that the two men were Israelites. Feeling threatened, the king sent a directive to Rahab: Bring them outside for questioning!
Rahab was nobody’s fool! She decided wisely and courageously to fear the awesome God of the Israelites rather than the doomed king of wicked Jericho!
She defied the king . . . hid the spies!
Why hide two Israelites and lie about their whereabouts? Again, a shrewd bit of camouflage - as in warfare! When forces of righteousness are set against forces of evil, fear and faith work hand in glove to pave the way to victory!
Rahab’s fear of the LORD about whom she had heard - whose mighty acts on behalf of His people had opened her eyes to the extent that she was able to discern the truth (the true God) – prompted her to embrace the LORD God by faith.
The very presence in her house of two honest men who came for a nobler purpose than she had been accustomed to, along with their fair treatment of her, served as a testimony of their goodness of heart - with no expectation of favors.