When Arrogance Gives Way to Assurance
If her name tells us anything about her, she was arrogant, raging, turbulent, afflicting others across a wide space in her home city. She could outsmart a king. She ran a boarding house that was built into the wide well fortified wall of the city where she lived. Her attitude may have found its ties in her reputation--she was known as a harlot/prostitute. However, when life tumbled in around her, she survived not because of her arrogance. No it had melted away into desperate humility. She survived not because she created turbulence or threw a raging fit. No, it was fear that reduced this woman and the rest of her city to a fearful, cowering people. There were no Godly prophets nor the worship of God in the Canaanite city of Jericho. Yet, when Israel crossed the Red Sea and Moses and the people sang the praise of God, this moment was prophesied--”The peoples have heard, they tremble; anguish has gripped the inhabitants...All the Canaanites have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone...Until the people pass over whom You have purchased.” (Exodus 15:14-16) The people of Jericho had heard the accounts of past victories for Israel. In her own words (Joshua 2:9-11) “...I now 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...and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites...whom you utterly destroyed. And when we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God...is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” When we, by faith, act with courage and live out our call from God, His reputation is seen and believed. Although the people of Jericho failed to seek salvation, Rahab pleads for kindness and is promised kindness by the spies of Israel. She tied a scarlet cord in her window to mark her home. It’s blood red color a reminder of the blood of the Passover Lamb that brought about Israel’s redemption.
God does not look at who we are. "Every ransomed man or woman owes his or her salvation to the fact that during the days of his or her sinning God kept the door of mercy open by refusing to accept any of his or her evil acts as final." (A W Tozer) He knows who we can become when we are in Christ. We see this in Rahab’s salvation.
Faith that saves: 1) begins with an humbled heart. She was the furthest thing from a follower of God--a harlot/a Canaanite. Who were you before you met Christ? Arrogant? Raging? Living in turbulence? Adding to the turbulence that life can produce as a troublemaker? Whatever you were in the past can be changed by the work of the Holy Spirit in your life when you enter into Christ Jesus the Lord. 2) believes in God and confesses that belief. She heard the reports of God’s power on behalf of His people. He is a living God in heaven and in earth. He is an active God working on behalf of His own. Although living in a city that seemed impregnable to a prepared army and impossible for Israel with no modern weapons of warfare, Rahab understood and believed that God would save His people and give to them the land that He had promised to them. 3) becomes an active faith. Pastor James (2:25) tells the Jerusalem Church, “...was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?” She believed God so she hid the spies of Israel under drying flax on her roof while sending the Jericho men one way and, later, lowered the spies down the wall and sent them another way to preserve their lives. She put the red cord in her window and gathered her family so that all in her house with her would be saved (Joshua 2:18-19). Her faith was not in her actions. Her actions resulted from her faith in the living, and as she would soon learn, loving God.
Faith that Transforms. This harlot begins to live among God’s people (Joshua 6:25). No longer surrounded by those who did not know God nor live in His love and by His commands, she finds herself experiencing the love of a people who she had at first feared. Not only does she live among the people of God as one of them, she marries one of them. No longer a harlot but now a wife among Godly people. She bears a child and names him Boaz, which means lively. This lively one becomes a man of property producing barley and wheat. Boaz would one day sees a woman of Moab harvesting in his field. That woman, Ruth, was a widow of an Israelite and lived with her mother-in-law Naomi. Boaz redeems the right to marry Ruth and they have a son Obed and eventually a great-grandson named David. Yes, this once harlot-Rahab-is the great-great-grandmother of a king and, more, she is included in the family lineage of Jesus our Lord. Here is a glorious picture of the saving grace of our loving God, whose mercy and grace are eternal. He seeks to save the harlot, the drunkard, the drug addicted, the murderer, the adulterer, the liar, the thief, the arrogant, the one who afflicts others, the one whose raging fits cut a wide swath in relationships and community. His grace is also for the one who seeks position and not compassion and who seeks wealth over helping others. In grace, mercy, and love, God transforms your life from who you were to who you become in Christ. She has given up her past and the darkness of her sins. As an Amorite, she was of a people who were destructive. Now, she is of a people who build up. She was a harlot. Now she is washed white as snow and given a place in God’s family. Like the woman at the well, she now drinks of the water of life freely and her life is transformed in Christ. Why Rahab believed and not another, you ask? Perhaps the New Testament (Acts 16:14) convert Lydia, a seller of purple fabrics can best answer, “...the Lord opened her heart to respond…” She told the men that she knew the Lord had given them the land (Joshua 2:8).
Has your life been transformed in Christ? If you have been transformed, do you know those who need to experience the love of our Lord Christ in their life? Introduce them to the wonder working power of Jesus Christ. Let Christ be so real in you that His reputation weakens the arrogant and calms the rage in the hearts of those who see and hear Christ’s love in you.