Archive for February, 2015
“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham…Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab” (Matthew 1:1,5).
Matthew’s genealogy of our Lord includes the names of three women that racially and morally we would not have expected. While our religious sensibilities might respond that it was for such as these that Christ died, we may not be as quick to realize that it was from such as these that Christ was birthed. The salvation that God has accomplished isn’t from a lineage of flawless saints but a long history of flawed sinners. When your past is coupled with your faith it leads to a glorious genealogy of God’s sovereign triumph over human sin and weakness.
“So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you'” (Joshua 2:14).
Rahab had never encountered such men; men concerned not with their own pleasures, but a single-minded devotion to the mission of God’s purposes. That they did, indeed, act kindly and faithfully (6:22) reflected not only their understanding of covenant language (Gen.24:27,49; 32:10) and responsibility but it birthed within Rahab renewed hope that her life could be something other than what it was. In a world filled with despair and hopelessness, we must never underestimate our influence when we live faithfully as salt and light.
“She said, ‘According to your words, so be it.’ So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window” (Joshua 2:21).
When new to the faith there is a hunger for instruction and a desire to be obedient. Rahab followed diligently the explicit directives of God’s spies (2:17-20). Her faithful obedience resulted in the deliverance of her entire household and brought about a life that they would have never before imagined for themselves (Joshua 6:25). Obedience to the day brings the blessing of a never expected future.
“In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way” (James 2:25)?
Genuine faith intuitively and actively seeks to manifest itself in a believers life. Interestingly, in her effort to protect the two Hebrew spies from the pursuing king of Jericho, Rahab’s first works of faith were based upon lies and deception (Joshua 2:4-5). While scripture never condones lying, what’s commendable is the faith that gave birth to action. It’s a classic example of the ethic that the end never justifies the means, and that faith must be guided; instructed; discipled. Faith is always a work in progress.
“When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord you God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11).
As evidenced in her declaration, God’s sparing of the Israelites, through the parting of the Red Sea and his delivering to them the land of Promise, had a profound effect upon Rahab the harlot. How could she have heard of these things but for the “pillow talk” of sinful men who had acquired her services? It’s another reminder that the Gospel and God’s story of salvation has an inherent power even when told by sinners.
“Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there” (Joshua 2:1).
While some have sought cover-up Rahab’s unsavory past by arguing that she was an innkeeper instead of a harlot, such efforts are misguided for it reduces God’s merciful salvation into something based upon human goodness. No matter what your past, it stands as a declaration of the particular grace God bestowed upon you.
“I do all things for the sake of the Gospel, so that I may be a fellow partaker of it. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:23,26).
Today is a unique and exclusive day; unencumbered by yesterday and unaffected by tomorrow. All things, not some things, are dedicated to the task of seeking the Father’s glory and exemplifying the call he has placed upon our lives. Let all available time, energy, and resources come to bear on this one thing.
“So Delilah said to Samson, ‘Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you’” (Judges 16:6).
For any who call themselves Christian, it is legitimate question of self-examination, “Where does your strength lie?” While centuries of Christian art have depicted Samson as a Herculean figure, if such were true there would have been no mystery as to the source of his strength. It would have been visible to the eye. Physical strength and outward beauty is but for a season and soon fades. Even so, His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“But the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?’ So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on” (Judges 13:18-19).
It’s little wonder that the One called wonderful performed such wonders. That God is wonderful refers to the inscrutability of his nature; that he is beyond full comprehension. And, yet, this One who is so unknowable makes himself known to us in ways that are personal and intimate; even becoming flesh and dwelling among us.
“The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Though you detain me, I will not eat your food but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.’ For Manoah did not kow that he was the angel of the Lord” (Judges 13:16).
Manoah’s desire to prepare a young goat for the angel of the Lord (v.15) was an offering of gratitude and appreciation. It could be argued that a spirit of thanksgiving is the quality that best captures the genuineness of our faith in God and his provision. To give thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18) is faith at its finest, while grumbling and complaining indicates that one’s ability to express gratitude is dependent upon upon favorable circumstances.