Monday, April 6, 2015

Soul Sister Series # 9, The Seeking Woman

The screaming disturbed Rahab’s midday nap. Stumbling to her feet, she frantically ran to the window. The normal bustling street had turned into utter chaos. One shrill voice rang out above the commotion, “They’re here! At the river! Millions of them! They’ll be at the walls anytime now.” The people ran wildly, shoving each other in their mad rush to get away. 

Rahab’s heart pounded as the terror unfolded before her. She quickly slammed the shutters and ran to the window in the wall. The scarlet cord hung limp in the window. Never had a simple piece of clothing have so much relevance. Making sure it remained tied securely; she pondered her encounter with the Hebrew spies. 

Did she imagine it? Did it really happen?

Yesterday she was so confident, her faith soared. Her situation looked much different now. The bold statements she’d made seemed quite audacious, “I know that the Lord has given this land to you.” “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” 

And then her insistence that she and her family be spared from destruction. Of course the spies agreed. What else would they say? They didn’t want to risk exposure. 

Why would they spare her and crazier still, allow her to become one of them? Surely her bold confidence of yesterday could be nothing more than a wild fantasy. Why would their God Jehovah spare her? He was a Holy God who demanded holy lives. He surely wouldn’t accept a prostitute and an idol worshiper? She deserved to die with the rest of her wicked people. Doubts and fear bullied her, looming over and daring her to believe. 

Yet Jehovah was nothing like their capricious angry Canaanite gods. This God was a deeply personal God. She’d heard the astonishing stories. He delivered His people from slavery in Egypt, and even more amazing, dried up the Red Sea so they could escape the pursuing Egyptians. He fought for them, protected them, and provided food and water in the wilderness. This was a God who reached down to the outcast, the despised of society and brought redemption. 

Something stirred deep in her spirit as she thought about Jehovah. She yearned to belong to Him. This God actually loved and had compassion. Real love was a stranger she’d never met. The many men she knew desired nothing more than her body, there was no love, no intimacy. She felt used up and wrung out. 

Would He love and accept her? Would she be spared from death? Was there a new beginning for a woman such as her? 

She touched the scarlet cloth again. “I know Jehovah is God in heaven above and the earth below,” she whispered. Her simple confession seemed to quiet the fear and doubt. 

She gazed at the scarlet cord, now flapping in the wind. “Give me a sure sign”, she urged the spies. This piece of clothing was her sure sign that her life would be spared. It was her sure sign her life would forever be changed. 

The city of Jericho was gripped in a maelstrom of terror. Yet in this house, peace resided. A prostitute woman dared to believe, she held nothing back to seek after the Living God. And she was richly rewarded. Not only was she spared, she became one of God’s people. Greater still, she is in the lineage of Christ. 

The scarlet cord was enough to save Rahab and her family from destruction. She wasn’t good enough. She couldn’t earn acceptance from a Holy God. A pagan woman was accepted and made righteous, simply because of her bold, reckless faith. 

This goes beyond human reason and logic. God did it because He desired to do so. Even her faith was birthed from God’s Spirit. 

“This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

Do you struggle with feelings of insecurity when it comes to God’s love for you? Do doubts and fear loom over you, daring you to believe? “Sure He loves Sister Sue; she has a lot to offer Him. She has talent, beauty and a perfect family. But I am different. I have nothing to offer. I have ugly skeletons in the closet. My circumstances cannot be changed. Love will remain a stranger, so why try? I will surely be rejected.” 

Is this what hell hisses in your ear? Do you hold back from God and all that He has for you? Wouldn’t it be safer to remain here where I feel comfortable? Why take a risk? 

A similar question was asked when the Israelites stood at the river Jordan. The Promised Land lay just beyond. “Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 

What madness is this? A people fresh out of bondage, destitute and wretched, was chosen by Almighty God to be His own. He called them His treasured possession, a holy people, and a kingdom of priests. A people without a land, now will become a kingdom. All this was in their grasp, yet they would never even reach out for it. 

It’s safer to remain in familiar Egypt, yes, even in its misery rather than take a risk into unknown territory. 

Their choice caused them to wander aimlessly for forty years in the wilderness, and then to fall dead never experiencing all that God promised them. He never intended for them to end their lives in such a way. 

This is what makes Rahab so inspiring. She was an object of wrath, deserving of judgment. She had nothing going for her. She never saw the cloud or the pillar of fire. 

She never saw manna, or water gushing from a rock. She never saw the glory of God encircling Mt. Sinai Yet this prostitute; heathen woman had more faith than the Israelites who witnessed all of this. 

She resisted the doubts and fears that hissed, “Who are you that this God would love and accept you?” She pushed the doubt and fear away and ran after her destiny, to know and love the Almighty God.

This is your destiny. God desires this much more than you do. So much so that He would take drastic action to make this possible. Yes, you were an object of wrath, deserving of judgment. Jesus became that object of wrath and took your punishment. 

Do doubts and fears dare you to believe? Need proof that you are accepted and loved, yes just the way you are? Do you hold back wondering if this is another rejection among many you have encountered? Is this love powerful enough to overcome your failures and weaknesses? Look at your scarlet cord and know that your God has always and will always love and accept you. Know that you are His beloved. Gaze on the scarlet cord, the cross. This is all the proof you’ll need. 

Leave your personal Egypt behind, yes even though its misery seems safe and familiar. Go hard after God and into a new adventure. Your bold reckless faith will surely be rewarded.

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