So God has given both His promise and His oath.
These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.
Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence
as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
Hebrews 6:18 (NLT)
Series Focus: “Piece by Piece”
I was finally on a good run. I had a schedule for working out—consistently! It took me so long to get to this place of wanting to not only be physically stronger but also get healthier. I heard this line from a workout video, “You can do anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.” Think about that for a minute. Is this true for you? For me, it definitely is. So, to say I was determined to keep that streak going, was an understatement.
Then, the pain came. My right shoulder was telling me something was wrong, but I was too focused on my goals to listen. A year later, with rotator cuff surgery behind me, I can say I am back in the place of convincing my mind it is time to get back on track. But our physical health isn’t all we should be focused on.
How about our spiritual health? Can it be strengthened by just letting it be? As I think about how important our thoughts are regarding our faith, I remember what Paul taught us in 2 Corinthians. He tells us we must take every thought captive to obey Christ. Let’s glance at the life of a woman who had her thoughts focused on God and her faith saved her entire family.
Rahab, a Canaanite woman who lived in the city of Jericho, did not know how her life would change because of her mindset of faith. As a result of 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. In Joshua 2:2-5, we read an account of what happened:
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.” (ESV)
Rahab’s story of faith began. She had heard and believed the stories of what God had done. She may have dwelled upon His power, glory, or faithfulness, but scripture doesn’t reveal that for sure. What we absolutely know is that she believed in the God of Israel when she hid the spies from the king of Jericho. Rahab did not know what her fate would be, but by faith she opted to trust the God she had only heard of. After she made a way for the spies to escape, she asked a favor of them in Joshua 2:12-14:
Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” (ESV)
I love how Rahab protected the men first and asked for her favor second. She trusted in God first! So often, we tell God we will do “this” if He will do what we want first. We place contingencies on our obedience, forgetting that God doesn’t operate that way. His blessings are abundant, but He asks for our trust to be in Him, no matter the result. It would have been easy for her to bargain with the spies, but she stayed focused and acted in faith.
There was no way for Rahab to know how God would use her life for the future of Israel. Joshua didn’t have to send those spies to check out the enemy, God had already told him that Jericho would fall. But, the spies had to go in order that Rahab be found. What a beautiful picture of God’s sovereignty at work.
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 ESV)
Piece by piece, Rahab’s story was woven together by her faithful God:
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. (Matthew 1:5-6a)
The lineage of Jesus Christ, God’s only son, comes from the line of David. Rahab’s knowledge of God may have been limited to only the stories she heard, but by setting her mind on Him and placing her trust in His word, she and her whole family were saved. Her life is a reflection of what faith can do.
Hold Fast to Hope,
Scriptures references: Hebrews 6:18; Joshua 2:1-21; Matthew 1:1-16; Hebrews 11:31