Saturday, December 5, 2015
A Faith Like Rahab
And in the same way, was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:25-26
I love that one of the people James uses as an example for us is Rahab. Her story is told in Joshua chapter 2 and chapter 6.
Everyone in Jericho had heard the tales and “knew” about God's hand on the Israelites. That's why the spies coming into Jericho was such a big deal. They were afraid.
You've got to think that there was a price on the spies heads. It would seem logical that there would have been a reward for their capture. And then, there is this woman who makes her living selling herself. If anyone would have turned these guys in for some cash, you would think it would be Rahab right? And yet, she doesn't. You know the story - she hides the guys and then lets them escape through her window. In return, she is assured of safety for her and her family when the Israelites return. She knew the God of the Israelites was powerful, but she went one step further took action by protecting the spies and asking for mercy.
And don't fail to notice that scarlet rope by which she & her family will be saved. It's scarlet for a reason...
So – we have this woman of questionable background that acted on her beliefs. Her family was saved. She was saved. She was allowed to shelter outside the camp.
But wait – she is mentioned again in Matthew 1:1-6!
The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers, Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Aram, Aram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered King David.
Did you catch that? Rahab is the mother of Boaz! Boaz the kinsman redeemer of Ruth? What kind of mother raises a son like Boaz? Not a woman who is still living a life of prostitution. Her action of hiding the spies seems to have changed more that just where she lived. Perhaps it changed HOW she lived.
And then we see her one more time in Hebrews 11, “the Hall of faith”.
By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed. (v11)
And as I look at the rest of Hebrews 11, I see it is full of action! Here are a few:
By faith, Noah built an ark
By faith, Abraham obeyed, went out, offered up Issac
By faith Moses was hidden, left Egypt,
By faith, the people crossed the Red Sea,
By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down
And then the writer of Hebrews goes on to say that there are many, many more. Maybe even today?
You see, if we believe there is a God, James tells us we do well. But then he says that even the demons believe and shudder (James 2:19). Just like the people in Jericho.
But there is a deeper belief – one that moves us into action, like those people reviewed in Hebrews 11,
That is why I love the community of believers I am a part of. We are a new community – barely 2 years old. And yet there is an energy that is hard to deny. Our focus is on rebuilding communities to make them livable again as outlined in Isaiah 58. It has been fascinating to watch things just take off – ministering in Mexico City. Rebuilding homes in Pine Ridge, SD. Over 100 people receiving gifts this Christmas in Pine Ridge. A Christmas bazaar to fund a mission trip to Uganda where girls will be given hygiene kits. Hundreds of girls! I could go on and on. But it is more than just community service projects. You see, we believe that by helping others to heal, we are also healed. By showing mercy and compassion, we better understand the mercy and compassion Christ has shown us. We are not perfect people with perfect pasts. We are the Rahabs of the world that know Jesus is Lord and act in obedience to HIS command to love our neighbor.
Imagination is a wonderful, God-given gift, isn’t it? I imagine that someday, we might see an actual hall of faith that stretches on and on with the names of the faithful and their acts of faith. Some we know as outlined in Hebrews 11. But even the writer of Hebrews tells us there are many more. Some we might know from biblical history - names like Paul, Peter and Stephen. But there also might be names like Hudson Taylor and Corrie ten Boom. And maybe, just maybe…
By faith,………… sponsored a child in Pine Ridge
By faith, …………… provided a hygiene kit
By faith, ………….. served at the Overflow Shelter
By faith, …...
By the way, if you would like to know more about the community I am involved in, you can check it out at http://www.projectre3.org/.