from Joshua 2
When I think about faith, and I am being bluntly confessional here, I think about how…well, how little I have. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m “saved” and am not running around wondering whether or not hell is at the end of my life road. And I’m not saying I don’t believe God has the best for me or even isn’t good.
I’m just telling the honest truth, and maybe you will be candid too…sometimes I don’t trust God. I like my control and, while I like to think myself an adventurer, I often prefer the safe and comfortable. But as Mark Batterson has said, “You can have faith or you can have control, but you can’t have both.”
Rahab, in Joshua 2, didn’t seem to have a lot going for her in the area of faith or God pleasing. First of all, she was from Jericho where they worshipped gods that likely required sexual rituals and often child sacrifice. Adding to that, she was a prostitute.
There may have been many reasons for her scandalous lifestyle. Perhaps she was part of the religious sexual ritual, or maybe she was a widow and she turned to it as her only means of livelihood. It is possible that her family was a debtor and she was trafficked as means of repayment or slavery. We don’t know if she stepped forward for her family saying, “I offer myself as prostitute!” but we can surmise that she didn’t choose this life as some kind of wonderful career option.
Whatever the circumstances and whatever her background, the Bible says in Hebrews 11 that she had faith. She is listed right there with Noah, Abraham, and Moses! Rahab had faith…such as she had.
She believed that God was bigger than her gods, and she believed that his people might just protect her and her extended family. By agreement, after hiding the spies that came from Israel, she left a rope hanging from her window to indicate that her house was not to be ransacked in the upcoming battle. Either window ropes were a thing in Jericho or maybe that’s how out-of-towners knew where a prostitute was available (its color was scarlet- we see you Hester Prynne). Whatever the reason, apparently it didn’t seem odd.
All that doesn’t seem like a lot of “faith” to me. But for God, it was more than enough. It was enough for Rahab to be considered among the greats, and to be a direct ancestor of King David and then Jesus. You heard that right; read about in Matthew 1:5.
When I think of faith, I think of giant spiritual leaps over the chasms of the impossible. If I’m not moving a mountain, then I don’t have enough faith! But mountains don’t move all at once. If a mountain is moved, it’s usually going to be done one rock chunk at a time with the swing of a believing pick axe. “Impossible” becomes possible one small obedience after another.
You see, faith is not often so dramatic as we believe it to be. It is a step of trust in the next moment. It is a moment of obedience when my feelings pull otherwise. It is seeing Jesus ahead, ignoring the distractions, and not wavering. Rahab’s trust wasn’t based on great biblical knowledge, but the amount she had was without a doubt.
You may be like me, and you might not always “feel” like you have a huge quantity of faith. But God doesn’t judge as humans do. By God’s measurement, it is a steady, step by step trust in him that walks us into humble greatness.