Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. (Joshua 2:1) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (Joshua 2:1-24; 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
Rahab had a past. In fact, the day the spies came to her home where she hid them and helped them avoid being caught by the soldiers of Jericho, Rahab had a “present”. She was a prostitute. But there was obviously a whole lot more to Rahab than what might meet the eye. She was willing to place her own life in jeopardy in order to help the Hebrew spies. She hid them, and then lied to protect them. Her house was built into the wall of Jericho, so she had a window through which she could help the spies escape. And it was in that window that she would tie a scarlet cord which would provide the same kind of protection for her and her family that the blood of lambs had provided for the Israelites in Egypt…. When they saw that scarlet cord, the Israelites would know to pass over that home and allow the occupants to live.
In the process of all this, Rahab became a believer – converting to the God of the Hebrews when she saw His power and might – and His lovingkindness – displayed in the way the Hebrews repaid her for her selfless help. We aren’t told whether Rahab continued her “profession”, but considering the way she is remembered in the New Testament, it’s doubtful that she continued on, but instead, changed her life to reflect her newfound faith. As a result, she became renowned for her faith (Hebrews 11:31) and her “good works” (James 2:25). And she is listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). What a life-changing event was Rahab’s encounter with the Hebrew spies!
Just like Rahab, you and I have our own past. For some of us, that past is a lot uglier than for others – at least by man’s standards. By God’s standards, ALL of our pasts are equally ugly, because they all are full of sin.
And like Rahab, we all have a present. If you are a believer, then you have become a new creation – a whole brand new “slate” upon which will be written the rest of your life. What will you do with your present? We have opportunities every day to make some kind of difference in the lives of those we encounter. Giving up a seat on a bus to someone who is having trouble standing… Offering a kind word or a word of encouragement to someone we pass in an aisle in the grocery store… Helping to fix a flat tire – or calling for help if we’re not physically able… Taking a single mother’s children for an afternoon so she can have some rest… Offering to do some mending and button sewing and other little jobs that are difficult for an elderly person to handle… Any or all of these things – and many more like them - can become “life changing events” when done for the right person at the right time.
So keep your heart and mind open, and look for things you can do to change the lives of those around you – even if only for a moment. It could well be that – like Rahab – the life that is truly changed will be yours.
From Newsong Ministries
Used with Permission.