28 June 2013

Faith Like That

You will find an inspiring passage in Hebrews 11 that lists a number of individuals we are encouraged to follow. These people are known as our ‘Great Cloud of Witnesses.’ Through observing their example, we are to run our own life’s race worthy of their sacrifices.

Rahab is mentioned as being justified before God by her faith.

Matthew went so far as to honor her, a prostitute in Christ’s lineage.

So, what did Rahab have that was worth emulating? Why was a heathen harlot, who had most definitely done unspeakable acts against God, be honored as part of the ‘cloud of witnesses’ who ran the race ahead of us?

Faith…

Scripture says it. She had faith.

What did her faith look like?

Rahab bravely housed and hid spies that were from Israel. When she went up to check on them, this is what she said:

I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan… whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Joshua 2:9-11

When I read that, it hit me like a ton of bricks. She had faith!  Her faith was not in future forgiveness, not in the Messiah, nor in grace. It wasn't in anything that modern Christians love about God.

Rahab witnessed the untouchable, unstoppable, terrifying power of God, and she had to yield to it.

She declared it out loud, that God, our God, is ruler of heaven above and on earth beneath, and she was now willing to cut ties with her whole culture and people to bend her knee to the throne of God.

She had no clue as to whether she’d be given mercy. She had no hope or life other than that of a heathen prostitute. And when she saw God coming near, she knew that nothing else mattered. Life as she knew it was over. This couldn’t have been easy.  She was turning her back on everything that she knew to follow a God that she was in awe of. She only knew about God, she did not know Him, and still… she bowed.

We could all stand a dose of that type of faith.  And, we could revere God like Rahab.  After all, we call ourselves disciples of the Most High God. Life as we knew it is over.  It’s our turn to yield to God in all things.

So Rahab was blessed tremendously.

In the end, she knew the Father’s forgiveness better than most. And I’m quite sure that she had a very grateful heart.

She raised a wonderful son named Boaz, whose life was also a reflection of the saving love of our Lord.

She wouldn't have received those blessings had she not been willing to usher in her society’s enemies and be willing to watch her own world crumble.

Sometimes, God does the same thing with our lives; allowing utter destruction of everything that ties us down to this world keeping us from being one with Him. It may feel like torture, look like hell, and hurt like heartache, but in the end, is deliverance. Just like Rahab.

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