Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No Lost Causes

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Wednesday, April 10, 2013:  Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24

Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.  Joshua 2:1 (NKJV)

After 40 years of wandering through the Arabian desert, Israel now was ready to take the FIRST STEPS into their destiny -- the Land of Promise called Canaan.  Joshua, Moses' successor as leader of God's people, sent two men to spy out the fortified city of Jericho.

These two men had an assignment.  They entered Jericho knowing that within days Israel would conquer this great city.  It is hard to estimate the population of Jericho in biblical times, but considering the size of modern archeological excavations, as many as 2,000 to 3,000 people lived within her walls.

It is important to note that of all the inhabitants of this doomed city, only one individual survived -- she and her family.  Amazingly, that individual was a harlot, and her name was RAHAB.  This speaks to a larger issue.  If you were going to find individuals "worthy" of saving out of Jericho, it probably would not have been a prostitute.  But that is exactly what happened.

This is a lesson to us today:  NO ONE IS DISQUALIFIED.  Rahab represents a message to us from God.  As His Kingdom goes forward, we tend to think in terms of our own qualifications.  If that had been the case in Joshua Chapter 2, the Rahab would not have made it.  But, in the words of Colossians 1:12, it is God "who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light."  In fact, the raw material for the Kingdom of God is often those who the world would consider unfit!  God takes broken people and makes them into a beautiful display of His power and grace.

So what did Rahab do that set her up to be a part of what God was doing?  I believe she did four things:

1.  She had SPIRITUAL EYES. 

She could see what the Lord was doing.  Dispite her citizenship in Jericho, she had eyes to see that this new people coming up out of the desert were the future!  She told the spies, "I know that the Lord has given you the land."  She could see what God wanted. We, too, need to ask God to open our eyes so that we can see what the Lord wants to do.  Sometimes, life can be confusing and we cry out for direction.  The first thing God does is open your spiritual eyes so that you can see what He wants.

Because Rahab had spiritual eyesight, she could welcome what God was sending her way. 

2.  She got COVERED by THE BLOOD.

That may sound like strange religious talk, but it was real to Rahab.  It should be real to us too.  The spies told Rahab that her only chance of survival was if she would hang a "scarlet cord" from her window (Josh. 2:18).  The invading army would then see the "scarlet cord" and spare their lives. 

This is symbolic to us today of the Blood of Christ being on our lives.  This red cord was a signal of salvation.  This is very similar to the blood that the children of Israel were told to put on their doorpost the night they were set free from Egypt (Ex. 12:7,13).  If God saw the blood of the sacrificed lamb on the doorpost of a house, He would pass over that house.  He would protect that house from the devastation that ran through Egypt that night.

Similarly, there is protection and safety for you and me today under the covering of the Blood of Jesus Christ.  It is forgiveness, acceptance, power, and grace from God.  We receive this not on the basis of what we HAVE done, but on the basis of what GOD SAYS.  Rahab was not accepted on the basis of her past, but on the basis of what God was now offering her.

3.  She became a LIFELINE for HER FAMILY.

As I mentioned, not only did Rahab survive, but also her father, mother, brothers, her whole household (Josh. 2:18).  This is so valuable to me.  I know that every person must make their own decision to follow God, but I believe also that FAMILY is very important to God.  Rahab stood for her family and as a result salvation came to many of them (Josh. 2:12-13).  We can believe God for our family members.  There is a special kind of prayer power as we stand for God's work in our homes and extended families.


At first, Rahab speaks from the perspective of Jericho.  She says "we have heard" about Israel's advance and when "we heard these things our hearts melted" (Josh. 2:10-11).  Then she switches to begin saying "I" (Josh. 12).  She realized that God was changing everything.  She ddi not hold on to the past.  Her allegiance switched from what WAS to what WILL BE. 

For each of us, there comes a moment when we must step into our future.  We must step into what God is offering us.  This is more than a casual experiment in a new idea.  It is a surrender to what God is saying.  Rahab came out of an old life that was set for destruction, and entered a new life filled with the presence of God. 

This story gets even better.  Rahab and her family survived the battle of Jericho.  But that is not the end of the story.  Matthew 1:5 in the New Testament, tells us that Rahab later married a man named Salmon.  They had a baby boy they named Boaz.  This man Boaz married a Moabite lady named Ruth (that's the Ruth after which the Book of Ruth is named).  They then had a boy named Obed.  Obed's son was Jesse.  Jesse's seventh son became the greatest king ancient Israel ever had.  His name was David.  Rahab, the harlot who had lived such a hard life, became the great-great-grandmother of royalty.  She went from REJECTED to ROYALTY.

But, let's go one step further.  The royalty does not stop with David.  Rahab is listed as part of the human lineage that brought us the King of Kings -- the Lord Jesus Christ.  Rahab is a lesson to us.  She is a message of God's grace revealed.  That grace is extended to each of us today, too.  There are no lost causes.  Only opportunities to see our great God do His wonderful works.

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