Monday, October 4, 2010

Why Rahab was spared

And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.
Joshua 2:11

When the Israelites prepared to conquer Jericho as the first strategic city to be taken in the conquest of Canaan, two spies entered the city and their lives were spared by a professional prostitute. It does not seem to fit all the neat standards of righteousness to have a women with that reputation part of the story. But it is nonetheless the messy way in which God's sovereignty intersects with human history. And God gets the glory.

Why were Rahab and her household spared in the destruction of Jericho? Because they were influenced by the spiritual reputation that preceded Israel. Rahab believed that the God of Israel was the Maker of heaven and earth and believed in HIs work in Israel. She was a God-fearer. And God seems to have sovereignly brought the two spies to the one person best suited for saving their lives: a prostitute in the midst of a journey toward God.

This story kind of makes me stop and wonder. Instead of being so personally judgmental, perhaps I should stop and look for ways in which unbelievers are responding to God in some fashion. The men knew enough by her actions and by this expression of her faith to promise to spare her life in the upcoming campaign against the city. And that grace led to her becoming a proselyte to Judaism, as well as a future contributor to the bloodline of people who would lead to the earthly parentage of Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world (Matthew 1:5). The New Testament goes on to commend her as a woman of faith (Hebrews 11:31) and a woman who is an example of good works (James 2:25). Truly God's reputation can change the reputation of sinners!

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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