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Messy Work


Harlot.


Prostitute.


Lineage of Jesus. 



Have you ever played “one of these things is not like the other”? That list makes it pretty obvious which one doesn’t belong. They all belong to one person though. If you immediately thought of Rahab when you saw those words, you are right on the money.  If you aren’t sure who Rahab is or what she is about, take a quick look in the book of Joshua chapter 2. It will be worth your time to go read this short chapter and her short, but important story. 



I remember being asked to teach the story of Rahab to a group of elementary students at a VBS we were having. As an adult, I was horrified. How was I going to explain this woman and her shortcomings to an innocent group of first graders? In my mind it became almost comical: “Now children, do any of you know what the word harlot means?” Big no there. But that was me focusing on her just like the people of Jericho did. However, praise God, there is more to her than just that.



In Rahab’s story she encounters two spies sent to the city by Joshua. These men were sent in to check things out before the Israelites were going to do their famous march around the city to destroy the wall. For whatever reason, they were found out and Rahab saved their lives by hiding them on the roof and then lowering them out her window (which was built into the wall of Jericho).  This story has all the makings of a good movie - spies, a search, secrets, and a dangerous escape. 



This woman, who had an ungodly profession, was known very well in the city. Enough so that the king sent to her and asked about the men who came into the city. She was one of those women that everyone knew and that knew about everything. I would imagine that this came naturally with the life she led. But that is not the most important part of her story. Let’s look again. 



Joshua 2:11b


“...for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”



Rahab had heard all the things that God was doing for the nation of Israel and she had a healthy fear and respect for what was going on. This caused her to recognize God as God. This in turn made it so she put her life on the line to save these two spies - that might not have been that good at spying (just noticing that they were found out pretty easily.) 



When we recognize the power and might of our Lord God, life changes. Rahab and her family were the only ones we know of that were saved from the battle at Jericho. Her life had to have changed from that time forward. We read in her story that she asked the spies to save her in return for keeping their plan a secret. She knew destruction was coming to the city. She tied a red chord on her window and as the wall fell, she and her family stayed safe because of her faith. 


Later, in Matthew 1, as we are taken through the lineage of Jesus, we see Rahab’s name again. She is one of two women mentioned (usually it didn’t matter who your mother was in a lineage - your father was the important one) as part of this. Rahab and Ruth - two very different women, but both mentioned. 



I believe this story is a great example of how our faith can turn things around. We always say God can use anything for his good, and Rahab is proof! A woman who was worldly and far away from God at the time has an encounter with God and changes her life and the life of her family. And we think God isn’t using us? Think again! Can you imagine her testimony? How powerful would that story be? 



Sisters, sometimes we are a mess - a hot, hot mess. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am downright lazy. I can’t seem to keep the house clean, laundry done, and myself together. I miss deadlines, say things I shouldn’t, participate in gossip, and just go through the motions of worship instead of really entering into God’s presence. However, time and time again, just like Rahab, I am used for HIS glory. When I am paying attention sometimes the Holy Spirit will put words of life and love into my mouth that help others. Sometimes I get it right and I actually teach my sweet little girls about God in a moment instead of losing my mind. And I give God all the credit for that. 



God uses whatever he wants - the messy and broken - because He can! He knows we are a mess and he uses us anyway. I personally find hope in the story of Rahab. If he can use her, I know that I can allow him to move in my life and use me. Will you allow him to use your mess? 



Lord, thank you for using us and all our mess for your glory. Thank you for stories like that of Rahab where your work and change is evident. I pray for each woman that reads this. Let her light for you shine through the difficult moments of this earthly life. Let her heart and her voice be used for you. Amen.  



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