Father in my weakest moments, You see me.
In my darkest places, You rescue me.
My life is renewed by Your grace alone!
Focus of the Month: Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Hope
Trying to open a jar of salsa, I realized how weak my grip has become after 50 years of life. I have to admit I need help opening a jar of just about anything these days. There are plenty of ways to build physical strength, and we can come up with a million excuses for why we don’t partake in any of them. Yet, if we don’t do something to build our strength, our bodies will continue to decline.
How about our spiritual strength? Can it grow if we just let it be? How do we build a stronger “faith muscle”? This muscle holds the key to unlocking every fear, every joy, every chain…every-thing. Let’s glance at the life of one woman who’s faith saved her entire family. In fact, God placed her in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the One True way to eternal salvation. That’s right, our faith or lack of can bring life or death.
Let me introduce you to Rahab, a Canaanite woman, who lived in the city of Jericho. Due to the corrupt, pagan culture of the city, the people of Jericho were under God’s condemnation. Idol worship was widespread in the city and Rahab had fallen to a life of prostitution. This city was directly in the path of the Israelites – who would soon cross the Jordan River and receive the land God had promised.
Joshua, the Israelite leader, sent two spies into Jericho to check out the threat level of the city. When the spies came upon the home of Rahab, she gave them lodging and acknowledged that she knew who they were and why they had come. She had heard the great things God had done for His people against the Egyptians and confirmed that the city was fearful of what would happen to them.
And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.”Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” (Joshua 2:2-5)
The penalty for hiding these men had to be great. The punishment for Rahab would have surely been death…so why would she do this? She was not raised knowing the God of the Israelites. She did not have leaders like Moses or Joshua to teach her. She was living in a wicked, evil city…yet she knew something was about to happen. Even though she wasn’t raised in an ideal situation that lended itself knowledge of the one True God – in her heart, by faith alone, she confessed this.
‘for the Lord your God, He is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.’ (Joshua 2:11b)
Because of her faith, the spies agreed to save Rahab and her family. They gave her explicit directions to follow. She was told to take a scarlet cord and hang it outside from her window – to distinguish it. All her family must be inside in order to be spared. If anyone went out during the attack they would die. Rahab did exactly as she was told and when the city was destroyed her family was spared from destruction. (Please read Joshua 2 and 3 for the climactic complete story!)
Rahab, a prostitute, became a believer in the One True God and received deliverance from that life by God’s unwavering grace. She believed, first by faith, and then acted in faith by assisting the spies.
By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. (Hebrews 11:31)
The world tells us there are many ways to God and to salvation. We are told that we can earn our way to Heaven, by being a “good” person. Surely we will enter the gates if we do enough good deeds. If we bend to what culture says, even when it contradicts scripture, there will be no consequence. This is a lie some choose to believe. But, sisters, scripture is clear concerning our salvation through Jesus Christ:
‘And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:12)
Rahab’s story encourages us to strengthen our faith. To know the difference between our One True God and the imposters. Let’s take our faith seriously, because it is life or death. Rahab was an unlikely heroine of faith…yet she received grace because of God’s great love and her complete belief in who He is.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Joshua 2:2-5; Joshua 2:11; Hebrews 11:31; Acts 4:12