The Gift of Faith: Faithful for You

Well, this is our final week (sad!). I have been enjoying this and I hope you have too.

Today we’re going to take a look at Rahab. I have always been intrigued by her story: a prostitute in a foreign land whom God gets ahold of, brings into His family and even into the lineage of Jesus.

Pretty amazing.

So here’s what we read about Rahab in Hebrews 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.”

Ah yes, hiding the spies. Rahab’s story begins in Joshua 2, when Joshua begins to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land: Canaan.

Joshua sent two spies on a mission to check things out. Verse one says the spies, “went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there.”

To summarize: Rahab hid the spies under part of her roof, even after the king sent his henchmen to search the city and her own house. Rahab told them the spies had taken off, when really, they were under her roof the whole time.

Pretty amazing that she took that risk. But she explains it in her own words when later she tells the spies that the fear of the Israelites “has fallen upon us.”

She says they heard of how the Lord parted the water of the Red Sea after the Exodus from Egypt (which happened 40 years earlier) and the recent defeat of two kings by the Israelites near the Jordan River.

God was using His actions for His people to spread the word of His power and might.

When the news of these amazing things reached Rahab, she believed what she heard about this God of the Israelites. She tells the spies, “I know that the Lord has given you the land…” and later, “For the Lord you God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” (Josh. 2:9, 11).

She hears of God’s power and believes. She believes through the power of God working on her heart. God creates this faith in her.

And you know the story: the spies promised her and her family safety if she promised not to tell the king about them being there.

The red cord marked her house as the Israelites marched around the city for seven days and then the walls fell a tumblin’ down.

So what’s the take-away here?  Rahab is another example of God at work.

God bringing someone near to Himself who was far off. Rahab was far off—physically far from the nation of Israel and spiritually—she would never had heard this God of Israel except that they had quite a story that spread throughout the area.

Isn’t God good? He used the events of the Israelites to communicate to Rahab about Himself. He used the news of what was happening to get ahold of someone who had not heard of Him before.

This is a comfort to us. We all know someone who is “far off.” Someone we pray for and worry about and wonder: how will they ever come to know the Lord?

Well, take heart. God is working on that. God can—and is—doing that for those around us. Those who are spiritually far off. No one is too far for God to reach. And God can use even the news and fear to stir in people’s hearts.

And He has done that for us too—we too were far off. We were dead in sin when God made us alive through His Word, through the Holy Spirit working through His Word.

He is active in our world. None of us are too far off.

When you think of Rahab, remember: God working to save sinners like Rahab and you and me.

And it wasn’t just a one-time thing. God kept Rahab through the days that followed. There was not an immediate change—she had to stay where she was. She had to wait for the Israelites to show up and then had to wait while they marched around the city for seven days.

Did she wonder and worry? Did she doubt?

Maybe, but God kept her. He sustained her faith in the days of waiting and wondering how it was all going to work out.

And He does the same for us. He creates faith in us—and keeps it. Through our days of waiting and wondering: how is this going to work out? Or how long will this trial last? How long do I have to wait?

Believer, you can rest. God sustains you. He will keep you. Rest in His work in your life.

This Advent season is one of waiting. The people waited for Jesus’ birth. He came just as God promised.

And now we wait for His Second Coming. How long will we have to wait? How long will we endure our current struggles?

We don’t know. But we can trust God when He promises to sustain us through it all.

Just as He sustained Rahab’s new faith, He is sustaining you. He is faithful to His promises.

He is faithful to you. Rest. Rejoice.

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