Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Lessons from Rahab

One of the most amazing characters in the Bible who encourages me when I am down is Rahab.
Yeah, the same ol' Rahab you know, the Canaanite prostitute.

 In the book of Hebrews 11, there is a listing of the Who-is-Who with regards to Faith. There is Abel, Enoch, Noah, the Patriarch Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, …. And then somewhere tucked in verse 31 is Rahab!

What makes this list profound is that most of the people listed in it are men and of the ‘chosen people’ of Israel. Rahab was a foreigner, an idolater whose country was destroyed as a result of their wickedness, a woman and worse still, a prostitute! She was the poster girl for the opposite of faith. Yet, she is listed among mighty men who are models of faith. What can we learn from her?

Rahab to me reminds me that it is not because of my good works that God loves me or even helps me, after all God makes the rain to fall on both the good and unjust (Matthew 5:45). Rahab reminds me not to fix my gaze on my self or my deeds as a way of earning God’s love. 

Rahab reminds me that even when I am undeserving of God’s mercy, even after I feel convicted that I have made a mistake, I should not run away from God like Adam and Eve did after eating the Forbidden Fruit. But that I should run to God, appealing to His Father-like and Mother-like Love, knowing that a broken and contrite heart He will not despise, and a bruised reed He will not break. This confidence in God’s love is what Faith is all about and what He honours.

God is a personal and relational Father, and He loves us unconditionally. He knows we are frail and prone to wander away from the path of righteousness. He doesn’t want us to only come when we have ‘got it together’. After all when Adam and Eve thought they could 'fix' their problem of nakedness, they used inadequate and uncomfortable fig leaves which didn't do much.

Only God could give them the appropriate remedy to their nakedness: warm animal skins which covered them and protected them from the harshness of the environment when they left the Garden of Eden. He wants us to come to Him just as we are, knowing that He is the only one who can truly fix our brokenness. Like Rahab, we know its not because we are worthy or because we have earned it, but because of his great love and mercy.

This doesn’t mean we have the right to continue to sin, there is no mention that Rahab continued in prostitution because she didn’t. Instead she married a Mr Salmon and they had a son Boaz, who was later to become the great grandfather of King David and the ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

You never know what amazing plans God has for you to do in your generation and even beyond. Stick with Him, let Him do His amazing job in you, don't try to do it all by yourself without Him, you won't do a very good job.

So regardless of where we are and what we have done or some dumb thing we will do in future, it helps to remember, when condemnation harasses us, that we can confidently approach the Throne of Mercy. God is our Father and He loves us like a Mother! Isn’t that comforting and liberating to know? That in essence is the Gospel, the Good News that God is for us and His love is unconditional! How truly amazing and liberating!

Image1 courtesy:http://www.prevailmagazine.org/images/rahab.jpg
Image2 courtesy:https://gladlylistening.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/the-good-news_0009_group-1.jpg

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