Saturday, April 27, 2013

scarlet hope.

You know how I love to turn college assignments into blog posts!  Here's another one for you, from a recent paper on Rahab.  (In case you're not familiar with how two Israelite spies find themselves in the hands of a Canaanite prostitute, you can find the story here).

Rahab was all wrong.  The wrong race.  The wrong gender.  The wrong profession.  She was a Canaanite.  She was a woman.  She was a whore.  She was marginalized, pushed to the fringes, literally living on the perimeter of her community. 

Rahab didn’t grow up in Sunday school, being taught all the right things to believe about God.  She may not have been able to recite the Ten Commandments or be familiar with what animal to sacrifice on what day for what sin.  But she did know a few things: She knew that Yahweh had given the Israelites the land and she knew that was a reason to be scared to death.  She knew that Yahweh had done incredible things already.  She knew that there was only one Yahweh.  And that he ruled over heaven and earth and everything else.  She knew that Yahweh valued all things hesed—mercy and faithfulness and kindness.  She knew enough to chose his side when two kingdoms knocked on her door.  And so he chose to use her.  Right where she was.  In the midst of her brothel.  He used her to keep his spies safe.  He used her to give Joshua another chance to make the right decision.  He used her to remind the Israelites of his faithfulness.  He used her to conquer Jericho.  He used her to bring the Messiah that would conquer Hades.  He used her to encourage Christ-followers across space and time to remain faithful.  

She had been used before.  In countless ways by countless men.  But that didn’t stop Yahweh from using her faith to bless His people and fulfill His promises.  He still chose her.  He absorbed her into the nation of Israel.  He gave her significance.  He redeemed and restored her.  And he gave her rest in his land.

The situation of many women (and men, if we're being honest) looks exactly like Rahab’s.  Enslaved by their circumstance.  Exploited in their weakness.  Ignored by society.  The situation of others looks nothing like Rahab’s.  They’re not all wrong.  In fact, they’re almost all right.  Almost.  But they still feel enslaved.  Exploited.  Ignored.

Like Rahab, we all mess up.  We let the world use us in countless ways.  We invite the Enemy in.  We sell ourselves over to him.  We let him strip us of our identity, our confidence, our freedom, our value.  And because we believe his lies, we convince ourselves that we belong in the dark corners of the perimeter. 

But we can, like Rahab, confess that Yahweh is sovereign Lord over all creation.  We can make a choice for radical change.  We can humble ourselves to Yahweh’s will so that he can draw us into himself.  We can we find redemption, restoration, and rest in him.

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