Recently I started a blog series on the most popular prostitute in scripture, Rahab, and the insight her story shares regarding our notions of faith and goodness. In the first post (you can read it HERE), my main point was:
Faith rather than goodness is the foundation of your relationship with God.
Scripture commends Rahab for her faith, and here is why:
Rahab lived in Jericho, a city of The Promised Land. That's key, because Israel sat primed to pounce on Jericho as their first target. Joshua, Israel's leader, sent a couple of spies on a recon mission to Jericho. Upon entering Jericho, they headed to Rahab's home, a perfect camoflouge for a couple of Jericho's enemies. Of all city dwellings, strange men entering a prostitute's home would arouse the least amount of suspicion. Also, Rahab lived in the city wall. The window to her house opened to the escape route. Why Rahab? It was a strategic move.
While the spies were hiding out at the prostitute's, informants advise the King of Jericho on the spies arrival and whereabouts. He sends S.W.A.T. to drag the spies out of Rahab's home for a game of Truth or Torture. As the soldiers arrive to arrest the Israelite spies, Rahab lies, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from...they left. I don't know which way they went." She knew. They were hiding on her roof! She hid them there.
Why would Rahab protect the enemy? Why bet against your King, your army, your own people, the famous walls of Jericho? She believed the God of Israel would grant them victory. She had faith in his power! She says it this way:
I know the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you...everyone's courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and the earth below.
She had heard what God had done to Egypt and what he did at the Red Sea. She had faith in his sovereignty and she was scared! Fear led her to self-preservation. She hid the spies so she could bargain, "Your life for mine. When you come to destroy Jericho, save my family and me!" The spies agreed.
Scripture commends her for acting in faith and saving the spies, but when you read the text closely, Rahab's faith was IGNORANT and IMMATURE!
Her faith was IGNORANT because she had an incomplete and faulty view of God. She saw God as a warrior: defeating the Egyptians and the two Amorite Kings. She did not know this same God was a God who loved his creation, who had a plan to restore all things, who wanted Israel to be his light to the Gentiles, who would eventually wrap himself in flesh and die for her. She only saw a general who could not be stopped. Her faith was ignorant.
Her faith was also IMMATURE. She clearly had not grown up in church. She did not know the Ten Commandments. She had never done a Beth Moore Study. She had never screamed a Chris Tomlin song as she drove down the highway! She didn't have a fish sticker on the back of her donkey. She didn't know the books of the Bible. She was unaware that the Duck Dynasty guys were Church of Christers.
Her faith was immature! It was shallow. She did not hide the spies because she loved them or because she loved God. She didn't lie to the King of Jericho because she saw herself as "The Lord's Servant." She did not view herself as an ambassador of Yahweh. She saved the spies because she was scared to death. Her faith was motivated by fear. But faith is simply believing God is who he says he is, and all she knew at that moment was that he claimed sovereignty, and she believed it.
That's the point! God uses immature and ignorant faith:
You will never be good enough, but a little faith is good enough!
You will never fully understand God. You will never fully mature. You will doubt. You will misunderstand scripture. You will have bouts of feeling unspiritual (usually based on how much you are praying and reading your Bible compared to others). You will sin. You will feel like you do not have "It" together (I'm still not sure what "It" is). Some of you will have horrible views of God because of what you will experience and what others will teach you. You will feel like you don't know how to pray. You will feel like you don't understand the Bible...
As a result you will believe the lie that God cannot use you:
- I can't serve in a ministry.
- I can't teach anyone.
- I can't invite someone to church.
- I can't make a difference for good.
- I can't be a good father/mother.
- I can't have an impact on the Kingdom of God.
- I can't help anyone.
- I can't share Jesus with anyone.
"I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!"