I remember the time I decided I wanted to be a real Christian.
I was 13 or 14. I was getting into those years when your mistakes are no longer small and your sins aren’t silly and transitory. I could see bad habits forming. I was doing things I’d never done before.
I knew I wanted to change, to be good. So I decided I would be. I prayed earnestly and seriously that God would help me be good.
It didn’t work. 11-12 years later…?
We meet Rahab years after a pivotal moment in her own life. Rahab is a prostitute, according to Joshua 2. It’s the first time we’re ever hearing about her. We’re not told how or why she got to this point, but she’s here.
But not for long. Her life is about to completely change all over again.
How did she do it?
Spoiler alert: Rahab will eventually leave the slums of Jericho for the nation of Israel, where she will marry and give birth to the ancestor of Jesus Christ Himself. She was included in the bloodline of the most loving, most wonderful, most perfect Being to ever walk the earth.
But she didn’t do it by being good.
Sure, she was kind enough to hide the two Israelite spies who had come to case the city they were about to attack. But she was a prostitute. How did they even get in her house? Was she trying to seduce them? Empty their wallets?
When the king of Jericho orders her to give them up, she sneaks the spies up to her roof. Then she tells the king’s men they already left! She lied! Isn’t that breaking a commandment? And when you break one, you’ve broken all of them.
So now, Rahab has one good deed and at least ten bad ones under her belt. At least.
And then suddenly, none of it mattered. All because of one brave request.
The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Please swear to me by Him that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare our lives – and that you will save us from death.verses 11-13
Rahab knew better than anyone who she was. She knew her past, her mistakes, her bad habits, her sins. She knew she wasn’t good.
But she also knew exactly who these spies were (verses 8-11). She’d heard all about the Israelites and their God. She’d compared Him, or at least the way they talked about Him, to the gods she was used to serving in Jericho. She knew there was something up, something different, something real here.
The idea popped into her head. She tried to push it down. But her heart was pounding in her ears and something was telling her to make a move. She opened her mouth. She closed it. And then she knew that it was now or never. She saw her chance and leaped.
She didn’t stop being a prostitute first. She didn’t clean up her life first. She didn’t try to be good first.
She believed that the Lord was God in heaven and on earth. She believed that there was a place for her among His people.
And it was that belief that changed her life forever.
“I want you to choose Me and only Me.”
What is belief? How do you know you really believe something or someone?
How do I know that I really believe in Jesus and His words?
It was after Rahab believed that everything changed for her. Her instructions were very clear. She had to take a scarlet cord and hang it in her window. This would help the Israelites find her house when they came to destroy Jericho.
But the most important step Rahab had to take was to commit. She had to gather every last member of her family who wanted to be saved into her house. They had to stay there. They had to stay quiet. They had to wait. They had to believe.
Rahab staked her entire life and the lives of her family on these two Israelites spies and the God they served. She put all her eggs into one basket. She was all in – for better or for worse.
That’s what happens when you believe.
When we believe God, we will commit to Him. We will stake our lives on Him. We will decide to follow Him and only Him. We will go all in for Jesus – for better or for worse.
And those sins? Those bad habits? Those mistakes? It’s after we believe that God can come into our hearts and sweep them away.
It’s so simple. Just believe! Just choose Him! I think what makes it hard for us is that we want to keep our options open. We want to halfway choose Jesus and also choose fun or the world or ourselves.
But God is asking us to choose Him alone. He’s promised that He’s enough for us. He’s promised to never leave us or forsake us. He’s promised that He overcame the world. He’s promised to give us life abundantly.
Well? What do you say? Forget being good or fixing yourself or any of those other things that are doomed to fail.
Do you believe Him?
What do you think? Do you believe God? What else do you see in Rahab’s story?