We are spending the summer looking at some imperfect people of the Bible and this week we come to a character in the Old Testament named Rahab.
a. Her story is in Joshua chapters 2 and 6.
2. Sometimes imperfections come packaged with a stereotype. You are a particular type of person, or gender, or race, or whatever, and all “those people” have the same problem.
a. Take men, for example.
i. A lady approached a priest and tells him, “Father, I have a problem. I bought these two talking female parrots, but they only know how to say one thing.”
1. “What do they say?” the priest asked. “They only know how to say ‘Hey baby, want to have some FUN?”
ii. “That’s terrible”, the priest exclaimed, “But I have a solution to your problem. Bring your two talking female parrots over to my house, and I will put them with my two male talking parrots who I have taught to pray and read the Bible. Then my parrots will teach your parrots to stop saying that terrible phrase, and your female parrots will learn to pray and worship.”
iii. So the next day, the lady brings her female parrots to the priest’s house. The priest’s two male parrots are reading Bible pages and praying in their cage.
1. The lady puts her female talking parrots in with the male talking parrots and the female parrots say, “Hey baby, want to have some FUN?”
2. One male parrot looks over to the other male parrot and says, “Put the bibles away; our prayers have been answered.”
iv. See, aren’t all men the same?
b. Or all women are the same. Or all Black people. Or all Asian people. Or all Gay people. Or all Democrats. Or all Republicans. Or old people. Or teenagers. Or Californians.
i. Be honest. What first comes to your mind when I say the word? And what do you automatically assume is true of anyone who this word is connected with?
3. If you’re comfortable with stereotypes, the Bible doesn’t help you much. It likes to blow them up and mess with you in the process.
a. Read Leviticus 21:7. Defiled. Unholy. Off limits.
i. There you go.
b. Then along comes Rahab.
i. Read Joshua 2:1. Joshua comes right out with it. She’s a prostitute. The Hebrew Word is explicit.
ii. But read on. Read Joshua 2:15-17.
1. The Israelite warriors spying out Jericho don’t shun her; they take shelter in her brothel.
2. And she helps them, and secures a promise to be saved when Jericho’s walls come down.
3. Read Joshua 6:25. In chapter 6, she is the only one the Israelites are instructed to spare.
4. It seems she joins the Israelite people, becomes one of them and marries a Hebrew man.
iii. Rahab is one of only three women in the Geneology of Jesus, who is one of her descendents.
1. And look what Hebrews and James say about her. Read Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25.
c. Well, that’s just Rahab – a special case.
i. This isn’t the last time a Prostitute takes a prominent role in God’s good news.
1. Read John 8:10. Look what Jesus to another prostitute in John.
d. Whether it’s a prostitute, or a Tax Collector, or Samaritan, or anyone else who would get stereotyped in those days, God shows there’s more going on than on the level of appearances.
i. Think he may be doing the same thing today?
4. The Bible testifies that God judges by what’s going on in the heart.
a. And if there are labels which can be applied, there are really only three. And they apply to everyone.
i. Precious Child. Sinner. And Loved, therefore Redeemable.
b. Becoming a Disciple of Jesus is seeing how each of these labels is true for you, and applying them to yourself regularly, daily.
c. Becoming a Christian in view of the
world is assume all three also apply to everyone else, no matter who they are, what they look like, or what specifically they’ve done.
i. To duplicate what God has done with you: look past the appearances and learn someone’s heart.
ii. And then love and serve that person as Jesus did on the cross.
iii. You may be humbled to see that some people you put labels on are doing a better job at this than you are.
5. Rahab’s name means “roomy, spacious.” Her name reflected the true nature of God, and came to overshadow everything else about
a. So as a house of God, there’s room for you in this church.
b. Because there’s room at the cross for you.
c. And there’s room at Jesus’ table for you to receive His grace.