This year’s theme is “The People..” So today we are hearing some great words on….
The People who take risks
Chris Cherry is an ordained minister who received his Masters of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology. He enjoys ping pong and skittles, sends texts with emojis, and loves baseball. He is currently serving as Youth Minister at Middletown Christian Church in Louisville, KY.
Who was Rahab before we meet her in Joshua 2? We know she was a prostitute. And we know she was a well-known one at that, so much so that not only did these two spies “find her” on their first visit to Jericho, but the king immediately knew who to ask when he was looking for them. Obviously, it’s a safe bet she was popular, but not in the way that earns you a book deal. We can probably also guess her life was relatively modest and people generally didn’t take her seriously in anything they viewed as important.
And yet, here we find Rahab the prostitute playing a central role in Israel’s ability to come into the Promised Land. Rahab is another in the long, long line of imperfect people used by God to do something extraordinary. It’s also no coincidence that her extraordinary impact comes as the direct result of a huge risk she took to protect two strangers she had recently met because of a feeling she had about a God she did not know. What she did know was there was something special about these men and the God they spoke of was more real to her than the rest of her existence in Jericho.
I think about all the times in my life when I’ve wanted proof or logical connections before taking a risk for God. Or really, I’d have settled for God saying to me, “Do it now.” Or even simply, “Go.” Since, of course, these things rarely (read: never) happen, I’m pretty guilty of waiting until it’s safe and the coast is clear before I take any kind of risk. Not only that, but so many churches think risk taking is unnecessarily irresponsible. That’s what makes Rahab so much more amazing—her risk required her to reach into the unknown.
Rahab does more than promise aide in exchange for safe passage. She takes her own life and the lives of her family and places them into the hands of God she’s never met. She didn’t require proof or logic. She heard and believed God because she was open to hearing God’s call to start with. Had she been a person of higher power or influence, it’s much more unlikely she would not have open enough or would have been too busy to hear God. I’m often so busy, even with legitimately good things, I forget to slow down and listen for God, much less take risks.
In Joshua 2:11, Rahab says, “The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.” Rahab’s statement of faith, and the risk she was willing to take for it, should be a testimony to us all.