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Faith in Action: Rahab’s Story

July 27, 2019

When we first arrived in Estes Park in 2015 and saw our first Pikas, we were amazed at how quickly these furry little friends can move. They are constantly on the move as the forage in preparation for their winter nap. It took a while for me to figure out how to wait patiently and watch for our little friends. This Pika greeted us on our first trip up Trail Ridge Road on June 6th.

The Pika are incredibly active and it is a lot of fun to watch them. There are, however, other times when watching an incredible amount of activity brings anything but fun.

I think back to the many crisis scenes I dealt with as the On-Call Chaplain in the Air Force. At times it felt like I was orchestrating a symphony of chaos. Sending Chaplains to the Hospital. Sending Chaplains to the squadron who had suffered the loss of one (or many more) of their own. Caring for the Emergency Response crews. Even at times caring for the one who had caused the crisis.

So, let’s transition from this story to the story of one of the Women who was named in Jesus’s Genealogy. This weekend we are looking at Rahab. In the story of Joshua, we read how by military intrigue the much smaller force of Joshua overcame the much larger force who lived in the land. They were coming to take the land which God had promised to the people of the Exodus.

In Chapter Two, Joshua sends two spies into Jericho to essentially case the joint. So what was the perfect cover for these two operatives to get into Jericho without being noticed? The two spies head to a Jericho Brothel for the night. Was it perfect? On one level it wasn’t. Sorry, but when you send two men into town and they choose to stay in Brothel… well let’s just say that as a Chaplain and Officer I couldn’t think of a worse place to send these two knowing what I know about life!

They end up in a Brothel. But this isn’t your run of the mill brothel. It was a brothel owned by a woman named Rahab. And Rahab would soon show both her chutzpah and her faith. The two spies bed down for the night so to speak but the King of Jericho soon heard that spies from this invasion force were in town at Rahab’s place! The King figures that he has the spies right where he wants them and so he sends word to Rahab to give them up. Rahab however pulls a little bit of subterfuge and sends the King’s men on a wild goose chase.

She then goes to the spies on the rooftop under the flax and says the following: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Seaa before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you. The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.” (Joshua 2:9-11)

Okay, so here we have a prostitute who has come to believe in the power of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob over the gods of her people. To make it even more interesting, she believes enough to put her life and her livelihood at risk!

As a Brothel owner, Rahab may be a plucky businesswoman, but she and her profession are not exactly at the top of the Social Strata. We don’t know what situation or circumstance made her choose this way of life, but we do know that she became a relatively successful businesswomen as a result. Regardless, what we see unfolding is a woman who has heard about this God whom Joshua serves and she recognizes that this God is unlike any other god she has ever heard of before. Her belief was so strong that she said: The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.

So Rahab puts all of her eggs in the basket of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She deceived the King of Jericho and saved the spies. She does ask for the protection of Joshua’s army and God. Knowing how these sort of military operations go down, she asked that she and her household be spared. Like I said, Rahab was gutsy and shrewd. As a result of that, when the promised invasion came, she and her household were spared.

As I have spent time this week with Rahab and listening to her story, I have learned a lot. She was a lot more than she appeared to be on the surface. She was willing to risk it all for the God whom she had come to believe in. She put it all on the line for her faith.

Isn’t that what we are called to do as Christ Followers? Aren’t we called to, in the words of the old hymn, give it all for Jesus? Dear reader, I firmly believe after spending so much time with Rahab in heartfelt conversation that she is another one of those surprises in Jesus’s Genealogy for a reason. She acted boldly and put her money where her mouth was. She said thati she believed and she acted in faith. Aren’t we all called to do that in ways large and small each and every day?

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