We all carry labels. Labels that we sometimes give ourselves or given to us by family, friends, or our profession. But what does God have to say about all the things we are and we do? While some of us have learned the art of getting out of our messy places and shake off our labels, some continue in them.
In today’s society, people with low-level jobs, education, or a minimal range of skills are often overlooked. On the contrary, God looks beyond all this and sees our hearts and the potential of what one can become in the light of His Word.
Billy Graham once said, “Those who stand by the cross are those who change the course of history”.
This is the story of a woman who was labeled a prostitute, yet found her unique place in the plan of God. Yes! You read it right. She was a prostitute and yet she found herself a place in the Bible and most importantly in the genealogy of Christ.
Living in a house built into the walls of the city of Jericho, Rahab was an outcast because of her profession. Though her profession raised eyebrows, it was her unwavering faith in God that changed her life.
As the Israelites approached their promised land, Joshua, the leader sent two spies to explore the city of Jericho. However, the people of Jericho identified them as Israelites. They had heard about these people, their previous conquests, and were terrified of them. They considered them to be a threat to the city and the king wanted to have them arrested. But these spies were welcomed by Rahab and she hid them in the roof. She then redirected the king’s soldiers to a different route and sent the spies away safely on another route. This very act of kindness saved her and placed her name in the great Hall of Faith of Hebrews 11.
Heb 11: 31, “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”
After she had sent the king’s soldiers away, she has this beautiful conversation with the spies (recorded in Joshua 2:8-13) which changed the course of her life. Her conversations with the spies reveal that her interest was in the God of Israel and not the spies.
Rahab welcoming Israel spies wasn’t just an act of kindness but an act of faith, knowing and expecting to be redeemed by the God of Israel.
“I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt….. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath.” Joshua 2:9-11
Notice the words “I know” & “we have heard”. The entire people of Jericho had heard about the wondrous deeds of God yet only one woman decided to believe in what she had heard. While the rest of Jericho was busy fortifying themselves from what they feared the most, Rahab believed that the land she was living in was given to the Israelites. And she was looking for an opportunity to take refuge in a God she had only heard about, but not experienced personally.
Bible says in Romans 10:17, Faith comes by hearing and hearing of the word of God.
Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Faith is anchored in the knowledge of who God is. Faith is confessing and believing this knowledge of God. And Rahab did both. Rahab made a major confession regarding the God of Israel: “He is the God of heavens and earth.” This can be seen as a statement in which she abandoned the gods of Canaan for the sovereign Almighty God. And God saved her the same way we are saved- BY FAITH! The story of Rahab is a shadow of the salvation plan that God laid for all of us in the New Testament.
The love of God is displayed so beautifully in this story. Rahab’s story is a clear example that irrespective of one’s background, God chooses to honor the faith of the person. It’s most likely that Rahab had come to believe in the God of Israel long before she met the spies. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that God had seen her heart long before Joshua decided to send these spies. Joshua’s intention of sending these two spies was to explore the land. But God’s plan and purpose were much greater. His plan was to redeem this woman who had come to faith in Him against all odds. And as a result, she and her family were saved from destruction. She not only became a part of Israel but she also was engrafted into the lineage of Christ.
You matter to God! You are significant and God honors your faith. Rahab is a clear example that no matter whatever your past may hold, God is able to save you. He is an unstoppable God and His love chases you down till you are found. God sees your heart and your earnest prayers. You cannot comprehend what God can do with the little faith you have or what legacy He can build through you here on earth.
Leaving you with a question to ponder on:
Does your knowledge of God make you run to Him, irrespective of the label you carry, or does it drive you away from Him?
He is a thorough gentleman, and He knocks on the door of your heart. Would you let Him into your life today? His throne of grace is open and ready to welcome anyone who wishes to take refuge in Him.