Bad Girl…Big Faith

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Joshua 1-3; Mark 16

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Before the spies bedded down, Rahab went up to them on the roof.She said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land. Terror over you has overwhelmed us. The entire population of the land has melted down in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Reed Sea in front of you when you left Egypt. We have also heard what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites on the other side of the Jordan. You utterly wiped them out.11 We heard this and our hearts turned to water. Because of you, people can no longer work up their courage. This is because the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. 12 Now, I have been loyal to you. So pledge to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal loyally with my family. Give me a sign of good faith. 13 Spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, and sisters, along with everything they own. Rescue us from death.” (Joshua 2:8-13, Common English Bible)

Let’s not mince words. Rahab was not the kind of girl a guy would want to bring home to meet the family. She was a prostitute. Even in a considerably more liberal society than that which existed in Rahab’s day, we still would not be very welcoming of a prostitute to Sunday dinner. Most of us, should we encounter someone like Rahab on the street would either ignore her or…. well, you get the idea.

In many parts of the Middle East, then and now, prostitution is and was considered a capital offense, at least for the woman. What is clear to some Biblical scholars is, she was apparently very good at what she did and she was popular among the upper class of Canaan. At least to some degree, it would seem feasible when the King of Jericho sent word to her to send the spies out. That he seems to have known something of Rahab would indicate that she was well known for a woman in her line of work. That being said, the exact details of her work will remain unclear.

What is clear, however, is that Rahab knew the information the Hebrew spies were seeking. It is also clear she wanted no part of her or her family getting caught in the crossfire between the Hebrew forces and the forces of the King of Jericho.

Rahab went out on a limb. She told the spies that she knew of the work of God already done and to hear her explain it in our lesson, she and all she knew were scared senseless. She shared her information as a way to save her family from the rush of the Israelite army.

The spies came to an agreement with Rahab. In return for her information, the spies would protect Rahab and her family from the army. As we continue reading through Joshua, when we reach chapter six in a couple of days, Joshua sends the spies back into Jericho to bring Rahab and her family out. Joshua would allow Rahab and her family to live because of the information she shared.

Legend holds that after Rabah and family joined the Israelites, she converted to Judaism and married a prominent leader, officially ending her days as a prostitute.

Rahab risked everything to help Israel. Had she been caught, there would be little doubt the King of Jericho would have her executed. I feel certain she feared that possibility. And, as far as the king was concerned, few would actually miss her. At the same time, she clearly feared the advance of the Israelite army. So, she stepped out in faith and made the Israelites very possible task (after all, they did have God fighting for them) a whole lot easier.

God honors promises. In this story, God honored the promises others made, the two spies and it gave new life to a woman who probably felt pretty beaten down in life. It was new life for her and her family. Though the world will remember few prostitutes within a short time of when they are gone (if it actually lasted any time at all), we still remember Rahab today. Faith, big faith, is a powerful thing.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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