Everyone has a past. Some good. Some, not so good. Maybe you were Chatty Cathy, Nervous Nellie or Lazy Lou. Divorced Debbie or Wild William. We do tend to be categorized by others based upon what they’ve heard or seen about us.
Ironically, it seems that God chose to use, not the A-listers or even the B-listers, but the people that most people would throw away or wouldn’t give a second thought. You know, they were the after thought for most. Rejected by men but chosen by God. Maybe they had personality quirks or a “shady” past. They probably were the ones whispered about when they entered the room.
People tended to associate them with whatever others had named them. Their behavior tended to reflect the names given to them. The longer they identified with the derogatory name, the deeper ingrained in their identity it became.
Rahab is an example.
The harlot, Rahab. Yeah, that one. The one everyone talks about, the men see her as “eye candy” and the women grab their husbands arm a little tighter as she walks by them. Not Miss Popularity. She slinked by, not intentionally but more so out of habit. She knew how to seduce; this was how she learned to survive. This was the only life she had ever known. Say you love me, and I will sleep with you. Say you will feed me, and I will sleep with you. Say you will stay with me and I will sleep with you. Say you will get me my next hit and I will sleep with you. Use me, abuse me, cast me aside and I will still sleep with you. This is the only life I know. Men, using me and discarding me like a bad poker hand. She started out as a love starved girl, seeking love and security but this rapidly turned into a town naming her the harlot.
Behind closed doors she would weep. There wasn’t enough soap for her to cleanse the guilt of her soul. She would shower, scrubbing to the point of breaking her skin. It still couldn’t wash away the dirt she felt that she carried every day – the residue of men taking a part of her with every encounter. Often, she would try to escape in her thoughts to a better place but the reality of their weight couldn’t be lifted. Not just the weight of their physical body lingering in her mind, but the weight of emotional turmoil that she knew was overtaking her emotions daily. There was no place for her to escape. In spite of this, God had a plan for her. She didn’t know there was a plan but God did.
Her story is found in Joshua 2:1-21
Now Joshua, the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to secretly spy out, saying, Go view the land, especially Jericho. So they went and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.
So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country. Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said Yes, the men came to me but I did not know where they were from.
1) Rahab was safe.
Although her life looked like a train wreck, God knew what was in her.
And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out, where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly for you may overtake them. She had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.
2) Rahab had strategy.
She had learned how to strategize out of necessity .Necessity to survive was something she was used to doing. God would use this skill. She knew how to survive and could help others survive.
and Rahab said to the men, I know that The Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us and that all the inhabitants are fainthearted because of you.
3) Rahab had faith.
She could sense what others couldn’t see. She had wisdom and discernment. She was quick on her feet and sharp in her mind.We have heard how The Lord dried up the water of the red sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of Amorites who were on the other side of The Jordan, Sihon and Og who you utterly destroyed.
4) She listened for The Lord.
Maybe Rahab was safe, because she knew what it was like to be violated by people. She now would receive “men” into her home. She hid them even though men “exposed” her. She considered what God placed in front of her, she didn’t take the time to give attention to her past.
Catch the little foxes that spoil the vine for our vines have tender grapes.
Rahab knew if she gave her attention to the voices in her head defeat would soon be lurking around the corner, so she skillfully caught the little foxes that threaten to defeat the plan. Thus making her victorious and the mission was completed. Rahab knew the pain of losing was far worse than the pain associated with winning and completing the task at hand.
We walk by Faith and not by sight.
What is God nudging you to do or say?
We have overcome him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony.
What pain in your past is trying to hinder you from walking into your future?
Sometimes, most times, the path is painful. Consider Jesus.
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus looked to the other side, he could have joy in spite of where he was presently because he knew the other side of the cross was his place of victory. His place was with the Father, His identity wasn’t in the opinions of others and the shame they bestowed upon him. It was in the fact that his steps were orchestrated by the Father and he kept his eye on the prize. The sweet spot of surrender.
By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
Rahab allowed her obedience and work to define her; not public opinion. She ended up in the Hall of Faith and was used by God to redefine her and to bring her back to her original purpose.
What about you? God wants to redeem you and restore you.
Are you willing to move ahead even if it is painful?
Do you believe He is able to redeem your past failures through your present steps of obedience?