The Choice That Transforms
Everyday we make a multitude of choices; what to eat, what to wear, what activities we schedule into our day. Some choices are split second decisions. Imagine, for instance, you are in your car and approaching an intersection. The light turns yellow. In that split second, do we put on the brakes and stop or do we choose to step on the gas and zoom on thru. There are different factors that enter into that decision. Are we having a leisurely morning with plenty of time? Or do we have many errands to run and not enough time to accomplish them all? We might also think about getting a ticket and having to explain that to family members.
Or suppose you check out at the grocery store and the clerk hands you too much money. Do you immediately call her attention to it, or do you remember the time the apples you bought were mushy or the sour cream was out of date? You may feel that the store is just reimbursing you for previous losses.
Some choices have little effect on the rest of our lives. Some choices change our lives forever. Regardless, we are the product of all the choices we have made up until now. What we become in the future will be determined by the choices we make from this point forward.
I want to tell you about Rahab and the decision she had to make. Rahab offered lodging to two spies. These spies were sent by Joshua to look over the land they were going to conquer. The city was Jericho and the people in that city were hopelessly depraved. It was a well-fortified city protected by 2 thick walls. The space between the 2 walls was 12-15 feet, so that if the enemy was able to climb the first wall, he could become trapped between the walls and become an easy target for those protecting the city. At certain sections the 2 walls were joined together and a house was built on top of the joining wall. Such was the house of Rahab, the prostitute.
The spies went to Rahab’s house and she hid them on her roof. When the message came from the king for her to turn over the men, she replied, ‘Yes, the men were here. I did not know where they came from, but they have left the city. Go quickly and you may catch them”. By doing this she chose to trust in the God of the Israelites to save her. She knew that God was going to destroy the city. And she proclaimed that God was the God of the heaven above and the earth below. She asked for mercy for herself and her family. She made the choice to trust in God – she stepped out in faith and became part of God’s divine plan. Her faith led her to action. Her decision to act grew out of her faith.
When actually faced with the king’s messengers, she could have chosen to respond differently. She could have chosen to turn over the spies for fear of what the king might do to her if he found out what she was doing. She could have decided that she really didn’t want to change the life she was living.
Instead she put her trust in God and she saved her life and the lives of her family members. Thru a prearranged signal of the scarlet cord tied in her window she and her family members were spared when the walls of Jericho fell.
Archeological evidence of that region supports the account of Rahab. It shows that the walls of Jericho fell outward from the city. And there is at least one section of an adjoining wall that still partially remains.
It seems that Rahab was a most unlikely character to have been divinely chosen for deliverance from Jericho because of the life she lived. This illustrates for us that even in a doomed city a wicked individual could find grace by turning to God in faith.
This grace is available to all of us when we take that first step in faith and claim God to be the Lord of our life. Jesus says “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in”.
We need to celebrate the gift of God’s grace. It is there for the asking, we don’t have to wait to get ready, or get right, or be perfect in any way. His gift of grace is available to everyone, no exceptions. All we have to do is call on Him. When we accept God as the Lord of our life, we begin a transformation and become part of a divine plan.
In the New Testament we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, behold, the new has come.” When we ask Jesus to come and live in our heart, we transform and our new self wants to live a life pleasing to God. Not because it is a condition of grace, but our desire becomes to follow God and live a life pleasing to Him.
Rahab declared her faith in God and wanted God in her life. From that time forward, she lived with the Israelites and lived a life pleasing to God. But that’s not the end of the story. Rahab is mentioned in the New Testament as well.
In James 2:23-25 she is held up as an example.
23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?.
Imagine that! Rahab who had previously lived a life that did not honor God but made a choice that transformed her life, was being compared with Abraham, being described as righteous! If we were living at that time, we may have judged Rahab as unworthy. But God saw something different, something special. He had a special plan for her even in the midst of her sin. And as with us, when we turn to God no matter what our circumstances, or what we have done, He is there, waiting for us with open arms, and He has a divine plan.
Here is the most amazing part. I call this portion of Scripture “The Begats”. That is not really what it is called, but for those of us that cut our spiritual teeth on the King James Version, you know that genealogy is listed as so and so begat so and so, etc. This is a partial genealogy list from the NIV, a language more familiar to us.
Matthew 1: 1-6
1A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6and Jesse the father of King David.
Rahab, whose life was once going down a very wrong path, was transformed, walked in a righteous path and became the great-great-grandmother of David. Jesus’ family tree included Rahab. What a divine plan! Only God could have designed that. God saw the goodness in Rahab and wanted her to be a part of His plan.
There are a total of 42 generations listed in Matthew 1:1-16. It was not the custom to mention women in genealogy. There are only 4 women mentioned by name here. One of those was Rahab. This is a way to show us the unfolding of God’s plan for Rahab.
God has chosen us first. We are of great value and the miracle of His creation. And He loves us just as we are. He wants to adopt us. But this adoption plan is different. We get to choose our Father. When we let Him in, the divine plan for us begins to unfold. Deuteronomy 7:6 tells us, “Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure.”
We don’t know what higher purpose He has planned for us. We can’t see God’s tapestry as He weaves it, but rest assured that He has a plan and purpose for all of us. We just have to make the choice to have faith, to believe and act on that faith. Then God can create a divine plan thru us. We are all special to Him. He can see the great potential in us, even if we can’t see it ourselves. And He will use us when we keep our eyes on Him. My prayer for each of you is that you know just how special you are. You are God’s special treasure. Let us serve the Lord with joy, knowing He will guide us here on earth and when this life is done, we will go to live with Him forever.
And in closing, Psalm 107:1 reminds us “Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever.” Amen