The Israelites mourned the death of Moses for thirty days. God’s spirit rested upon Joshua for he would lead the people into the promised land.
Needing tactical information from Canaan, Joshua sent spies into the double walled city of Jericho, like his mentor Moses. But not twelve. Two.
A woman named Rahab lived in the outer wall of Jericho, making her home easily accessible to men passing through on business. Men in her home was Rahab’s business. Jericho was a city given to many gods, and Rahab was a woman given to many men.
And the spies knocked on her worn door.
The spies weren’t great at covert. Soldiers soon stood outside Rahab’s door, demanding she turn them over. But instead of exposing them, she hid them on her roof. She played ignorant about who they were and made up a story about which direction the men had gone. The soldiers left in vain pursuit of those they sought.
Rahab climbed her roof.
I know your God is the LORD God. And he has given our land over to you. The people of my land are melting in fear and have lost their courage.JOSHUA 2:9-11 PARAPHRASED
She and the spies brokered a deal that would save Rahab and her family from destruction. A quid pro quo. Because you saved us, we’ll save you.
The terms of the deal were bound with a scarlet thread displayed in the window of her home.
God invited Rahab into this crazy story. She was closing the door on her past in Jericho, waiting in hope for her future in Israel.
Upon returning to camp safely, the spies gave Joshua their report concerning the city of Jericho.
The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.JOSHUA 2:24
Joshua had his intel.
But Rahab had her hope!
Can you imagine? Working in a profession that strips any thread of hope from a heart? Dignity from a soul? I won’t suggest you can, nor assume you cannot. We all have a story. And though it may not look like Rahab’s, sometimes part of our story is ugly.
Rahab was a harlot in Jericho. Men frequented her home, and she had heard lots of stories. And perhaps with each tale, she began to believe in this God of the Israelites who had dried up the Red Sea and overpowered their enemies. Though her faith was small, God purposefully invited her into this promise, extending His grace.
Rahab was not an accidental part of this story. While I love the word serendipity, this wasn’t that. God’s invitation to her was intentional. She wasn’t a convenient cover story.
She enters this story as a harlot in Jericho and ends as a Hebrew princess.
Father, it is so hard to comprehend the love that You are. Not the love You have, the love that You are. You find us all hiding in our ugly places, and You move toward us. Father, our past does not prove us to be unlovable or unworthy to be a part of Your story.
Give me eyes to see others as You see them. We are all unworthy until You make us worthy. What kind of love is this that You are and give that we should be called Your children? Amen.
You are invited into this story. If you’ve never received an invitation, this is it.
God loves you. This crazy story of Hope we’re retracing proves His love for you and me. We often say that Jesus is the reason for the season. And that is true. We don’t want to lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas, tangled in lights and drowning in debt.
But you and I are the reason for that first Christmas. Because sin lingered, we were separated from God. Messy people living messy lives. That’s the reason for the season.
So, while we haven’t made it to the manger just yet, I want you to know God loves you. No matter your past or your present. If you struggle to believe that, keep coming back to follow the rest of the story.
For the rest of us, can we reflect on the day we answered the invitation? The day we said yes, Lord. Be filled today with that Love you felt in the beginning. Soak in it. Be saturated.