We read about His Words in the Bible. But Hollywood also looks into it because many great characters and stories are there that can be made into blockbuster. In this Bible Month, we bring you a story of Rahab, a reminder of His unconditional love that keeps transforming us and bringing us victory over victory.
Rahab: From prostitution to human salvation
There are times when we make wrong decision in our lives. Maybe we befriend the wrong crowd and eventually we are stuck in such an awful life. We live far from God and are trapped in the lifestyle we are not proud of. The same situation happened to Rahab, who lived in the city of Jericho in the time when Joshua the prophet led the Israelites to conquest the Promised Land. In those days, the fortified city of Jericho was inhabited by the pagans. Undoubtedly, Rahab was in the wrong crowd. To added more drama, she was a prostitute. It wasn’t something to be proud of. However, she wasn’t a high class prostitute. She built her own dwelling in the north wall of Jericho. But a decision of faith changed the course of her live forever. Her name was listed in the history of human salvation. Rahab has proved that her dark past didn’t determine her future. She also has proved that it was God’s mercy that changed her life from a prostitute into the ancestor of the World’s Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
The story of Rahab can be read in the Book of Joshua 2:1-24. It all started in one day when she welcomed two strangers to stay at her place. At first, she had no idea about the true identity of these strangers. Suddenly on midnight, her door was knocked by the royal troops who had been looking for Israelites spies. With her quick thinking, she daringly told the chief of the troops to chase the Israelites spies on a false direction in order to help the two spies went back safely to their camp. The courageous act was not an instant decision. She had heard how the Israelites had conquered the kings of the Amorites. Helping these spies would give her a new hope. It means she would have the change to restore her live and started a total brand new life.
Through rumors, Rahab had heard how mighty and awesome the God of Israel was. She heard how God parted the Red Seas for the Israelites and caused them to conquer the kings of the Amorites. But to hear only was not enough for her. Rahab took a big step of faith by admitting that the God of Israel is the only God in the heavens above and in the earth beyond (Joshua 2:11). Rahab was full with certainty that God was able to give the city of Jericho into the hand of the Israelites. She believed the same God who can do awesome deeds for the people of Israel, can do awesome things in her life.
How big a person can be is not determined by his action, but by how big the love he can share to others. This principle was proven to be true by Rahab. You can imagine how terrible her condition was. Through times, earn money through prostitution was a dishonor. The Law of Moses sentences a stone punishment (where the guilty person was stoned into death) for a woman who was caught on fornication. If you were a member of her family, would not you be sorry with her choice of life? Perhaps you would despise her? Or isolated her? Or even you would not admit her as your family member for she brought a terrible humiliation to the whole family. But what Rahab did displayed her big love to her family. Rahab made a promise with an oath to the spies she hid: if she hid them, then they should not kill Rahab and her family members who gathered in her house in the day of Israelites’ invasion.
From all the inhabitants of the city of Jericho, only Rahab and her family who were saved and permitted to live among the Israelites. She was given a chance to start a new life and to know God. It wasn’t long until she met Salmon from the tribe of Judah. From her family line were born King David, King Solomon, and Josef, the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus Christ the Redeemer.
There are three things we can learn from Rahab, which are, the courage to believe, the decision of faith, and willingness to love.
1. The courage to believe
Too many times we focus on our temporary situations. We think bad breaks will take place forever and, to make it worse, it is a part of the “Cross” we need to bear our whole life. The truth is different than that. God gives us hope through each of His Words and His promises. Our hope in God will not end up in vain because God is faithful to His promises. The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” What we need is the courage to hope and to believe that God has provided a wonderful future for each of us.
2. The decision of faith
Undeniably we need a humble heart like Rahab to be able to confess that God is a profound God who surpasses anything. Too often we limit the power of God by self-righteously determining which things God is able or unable. The truth is, the power of God can only be seen when we fully believe in Him. We need to learn that there isn’t any power that can overcome the power of God. No matter how terrible our past is, or how dreadfully our current situation is, God is well-able to turn whatever comes your way to bring you down into your advantage.
3. Willingness to love.
Most of time, we hardly forgive those who have despised and dishonored us. Nonetheless, holding bitterness will only hinder us from God’s preordained plan in our life. Forgiving is a decision of faith. It means we believe God understands the problems we have in our life. We believe God is still working in our life and God’s amazing plan will still come to pass in our life. Forgiving can also be applied to ourselves. There are times when we treat ourselves too hard and take improper punishment with the burden we don’t need to bear. This is also wrong. The grace of God surpasses all of our mistakes. God has forgiven us and has redeemed us from our sins so that we need not to pay the price of our mistakes. All of it has been paid with the Blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross. All we need to learn is to receive and give up ourselves soaked in God’s love. When God’s love abounds in us, we will be able to forgive and to love those who trespass against us.
Rahab had proved that her past didn’t determine her future. She wasn’t a charismatic prophet or a special person who were visited by the angel of God Gabriel. She was just an ordinary person, who failed and fell into sins. But if she could rise from her miserable life, so can we. What God has done to Rahab, can also be done to us. Whatever decision you make today will not only change the course of your life but also the life of the people who will come in your family line. Perhaps you are the impact that has long been waited for. Perhaps you are the one who set a new standard for your family. Perhaps you are the one who set generational blessings in your family line.
Our past cannot determine our future. It is the hope, the faith, and the love of God within us that will change our life from the last to the front, from cursed to be blessed, from failures to success. (VEA)