Wednesday, September 23, 2009

9/23- Rahab

(Rahab and the spies- Italian school)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

1. Joshua 6:17
The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.

2. Joshua 6:23
So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

3. Joshua 6:25
But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

4. Matthew 1:5
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse.
5. Hebrews 11:31
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
6. James 2:25
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

Calvin Abridged: The whole country was to be destroyed, so how did Joshua have the freedom to save one family? Clearly the Spirit suggested that Rahab should be released. Joshua judged wisely that a woman who had voluntarily gone over to the Church was rescued early, with the special grace of God. We should learn from Joshua to keep our promise and to not make our promises lightly. He not only allows Rahab to be delivered by her guests, but is careful to keep her from any injury in the first assault. God doubtlessly wished to deliver Rahab’s family for they did not react with pride as did Lot’s sons-in-law. God also provided for them in that they were placed outside the camp (to distinguish between purity and impurity), and were strictly commanded to abandon their former way of life. After they had made a confession of their previous impurity, they dwelt in the midst of the people, and were regarded as if they had been with the people of God from the beginning. By her confession, Rahab gained one of the noblest fruits of her faith.
[Calvin’s commentary on Hebrews 11:31]- At first, Rahab’s example may seem not worthy to be recorded in such a list of great people. But the writer has shown how the Patriarchs, though now honored, did nothing worthy of praise except through faith. All the benefits conferred on us by God, even the most remarkable, have been fruits of the same faith. Now he shows that an alien woman, not only humble among her own people- but also a harlot- had been adopted into the body of the Church through faith. So those who are most exalted in life, are of no account before God, unless they have faith; and also those who are hardly allowed a place at the table among the worst of us, are by faith introduced into the company of angels. James also bears testimony to the faith of Rahab; for she was fully persuaded that God’s promise to the Israelites would be fulfilled. She also asked for pardon for herself and her friends even though they hadn’t yet conquered the city. The evidence of her faith was that she received the spies at the peril of her life- and by means of faith escaped safely from the ruined city. She is called a harlot to emphasize the great grace of God that redeems even the worst of us.

Thoughts: In our world we emphasize those in high positions- the politicians, the celebrities, the singers, those who are seen in our living rooms on our televisions. Yet in Hebrews, James, and in Jesus’ genealogy a prostitute is mentioned because she had faith. Rahab may have been a religious prostitute as the Canaanites used prostitution as a means to call upon their fertility goddesses. But she denied that profession to follow the God of Israel. Some scholars today think she was wealthy to have a house in the wall (perhaps a celebrity prostitute). In our culture we are thrilled with celebrities and sexuality. We would do well to recognize that Rahab is an example of someone in the most degrading of professions who God lifted up to the memory of all the people of God. She had an amazing trust in the God of Israel. We should as well.

Prayer: Lord, help us to trust in you, our conqueror, our redeemer. You lift us up from the worst of sins to heaven itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment