Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Unexpected Rescuer

"But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: 'Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent'" ~Joshua 6:15-17, nkjv
Did ya know that God loves all individuals everywhere (can a person say that too much?), and will use any person who is willing to obey Him? Sure you did—it's true.
It's interesting to notice the timing and order regarding God's judgment. He seems so patient with sinners giving em ample time to turn and then it's so deliberate in what He does preparation for a better future.
Can you think of anyone or any type of person that God will simply refuse to use as an instrument? What about Rahab who was known for turning tricks with strange Johns? Well; that's what they do and the only reason I mention this is because you can't get so low in a hole that God's rescuing grace can reach down lower. And the Bible sure doesn't hide the flaws and blunders ..big and small.. of its heros. That's one thing I really love about this Book, but H-E-Y, wouldn't Rahab, with that kind of extremely low life she led be totally out of the question? Is there any filthy sin of the flesh that just can't be forgiven by God? Ok, rejecting Christ your whole life until you kick the bucket and reach room temperature is not forgivable (blaspheme of the Holy Spirit).  
No; living sinners have hope in Jesus Christ, but they need to turn asap! Man, who would want to be stuck with the consequences that don't automatically go away from a life of debauchery? Well, God is so gracious and He chose to use Rehab for His own reasons and glory. Her career of choice—prostitution—happened to be based in downtown Jericho back in the day. She lived in the city wall and was experienced in dark living, but God wanted her in the light.. for good!
Perhaps you remember the ole story of those two Hebrew messengers that Joshua sent out on assignment, checking out the Land before they were all to conquer it.
A little help from a local wouldn't have been a bad thing at all. There was a lot of area to scope out—big fortified walls with window are probably not easy sneak out of at night (remember the scarlet cord that reminds us of the blood of Jesus ..that Rahab left hanging out as a sign to these guys). It was the two dude's job to discover the best approach or strategy if you will, for the children of Israel to move on in.
But why was Rahab selected for this special role in giving aid and protection to the two spies? Man, I have no idea. I don't think that anyone can find any logical reason why. We know that God is not willing that any should perish, but perhaps she was the only one there willing turn from her wrong doings and to believe.
Maybe God wanted to show everyone—even us Gentiles—that there is hope in the Lord if we will just put our faith in Him. He is a passionate missionary kind of God you know. BTW; Have you put your trust in the Lord yet?
Listen, being a rescuer really doesn't have anything to do with tiles or rank. It has to do with genuine concern for others. And why wouldn't God choose Rahab—we've all been guilty of sinning before and it's not harder for God to forgive one person's sin over against another's is it? Is it harder for Him to use one over another if their hearts are right?
So how did this once seductive lady of the night lend a helping hand in the situation? Well, it wasn't via sinning sensually ..a skill which she had more than likely developed and was very accustomed to employing for her benefit. She might have been so sick of this ugly pollution of her soul by this time—so sick of being the boss and the provider of her own life. From the narrative, Rahab does seemed more than ready for a new type of love and a new type of Leader.   
Here's why she was selected.. it was through her spot-on clever decisiveness, through her quick wisdom in recognizing a real valuable deal before her (from God), and it was also due to her gutsy, shrewd take action style of simply getting things done. How practical to hide those blokes with the stalks of flax (v. 6). Some of us believers can over spiritualize things and miss the plain pragmatism. The men that the King of Jericho sent to retrieve the two messengers just couldn't find em on the roof there with Rahab (v. 7) so they took off after shadows at the fords of the Jordan.       
How many people do you know who snap to in doing things right, who are quick to obey—fast in adapting or in rightly applying the truth of the Word of God? She did and that's how we all need to be!  
Rahab not only saved her own life in this, but she aided in accomplishing the purposes of God in Jericho and went down in History for all time. Who did she rescue and how? Well she started by negotiating for her loved one's rescue (vv. 12-13) and Joshua's guys kept their word to her. We should also plead for people ..on our knees. 
The Bible says, "Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, 'Go into the harlot's house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.' And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel" (Josh. 6:22-23).
Joshua knew that the city would soon be engulfed and destroyed by flames (v. 24), but he wanted to honor the commitment of his messengers and he wanted this precious family of Rahab to remain safe. Rahab was rescued by faith in the Lord and then in one very clear sense, she also became a rescuer herselfyup, it was her faith in the ultimate Rescuer that saw her family get saved through the onslaught of Israel as well. It was of the Lord! We can give Him all the credit! Yup, Josh was indeed led of the Spirit that day, for if you check out the rest of the story, Rahab literally became an ancestor of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (See Matt. 1:5). What a way to be honored by God for all time! Do you have saving faith..a mustard seed kind of faith.. praying faith.. the gift of faith ..or evangelistic rescuing faith? You can! Just ask for God to work with the faith He gives you!
How sweeeeeet! How cool; God even cared about her family air looms—her personal and temporal stuff. Bonus! It meant something to her so it meant something to Him! Chivalry lives with Him. Verse 25 says, "And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father's household, and all that she had."
Did you know that you also matter to God that much?

There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. ~Jesus, Luke 15:7

Wise rescuers know that God sees the inner human heart. And while many people would never trust a woman for anything major, especially a woman with a history and spotted reputation like Rahab's.. the Lord just knew that this was the important task she was destined for. God is so kind and pure and He can make us kind and pure in heart as well. 
Because Rahab faithfully served the Lord with integrity.. she and her family lived out their days very securely. Where? It was in the direct will of God and these valuable people of her family were all adopted into the Hebrew society.
God has a special plan for you too and it will indeed involve full-on worship of Him alone and also the rescuing of others who still need to hear the Gospel Messsage. Like Rahab and God's two messenger-spies in the Old Testament, you can become a rescuer with a passion for souls ..yup, people that are about to perish forever. As you seek Jesus Christ and His Kingdom first above all else, He will, in His good time, reveal the details of His good world-changing plan for you and use you.
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