Shabbat shalom, brothers and sisters.
This may come as a shock to some, but it really shouldn't take anyone by surprise or cause any consternation. The power doesn't exist in our faith! The power is in the One in Whom we PLACE our faith! That's a VERY important distinction!
Faith is often misunderstood because of the difference between how the Greek text used the word "pistis" and how we use the words "faith" and "belief" in English today. There's a notable difference, but the bottom line is that the power of our faith is GOD'S power. It's to be found in the God of the Bible, YHWH, in Whom we place our faith and in Whom we trust! ALL wothwhile and lasting power is to be found in Him, and we do NOT exercise that power at all when we SAY we "exercise faith!"
Our God is an AWESOME GOD! Just look at all the things He has made from the tiniest neutrino, quark, or "string" to the vastness of space with the myriads of galaxies, quasars, and nebulae, not to mention the HUGE volumes of empty space! In between these extremes, we see the vast complexity of what we can know as living things, from the tiniest viruses, to the huge whales, from the smallest plankton to the huge redwoods of the forest! When one studies biology and biochemistry and organic chemistry, one will come away with a DEEP appreciation for the intricate ways that ALL of God's creations work together flawlessly to form this vast biosphere in which we live.
The fascinating way that the information that describes each species in stored in the DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (DNA) of that species, and how the body of that creature uses this coded information to develop organs, tissues, and fluids is truly amazing! The sheer complexity of any one species and then to compound that with the symbiosis of other life forms is just BEYOND normal comprehension!
BRAG ON HIM! (That's what "praise" is.) Make Him STAND OUT from anyone or anything else! (That's what "glorify" is.) BOW THE KNEE before Him! (That's what "worship" is.) And, after all you've done to make Him as AWESOME as you can (and STILL He's greater), both in your eyes and the eyes of anyone to whom you're talking, then realize that you can come to Him and call Him "Daddy!" (That's what "Abba" means.) If that doesn't make your head swim, then you didn't do it right! Try again!
Let's say you ask Him for something - anything. Do you really doubt that He could do it for you or give it to you, if He wanted to? The MAKER OF THE UNIVERSE couldn't do your silly little request? Nope. THAT'S not it.
What you REALLY doubt is whether such an AWESOME AND RIGHTEOUS God would do it for the likes of YOU! And, you'd be RIGHT to doubt, IF ... YHWH was an exacting God.
Psalm 130:3-6 (KJV)
3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
David said and Paul quoted,
Romans 4:1-25 (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (Psalm 32:1)
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (Psalm 32:2)
9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
And, Yeshua` (Jesus) said,
Matthew 7:7-11 (KJV)
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Luke 12:22-32 (KJV)
22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
What is it that makes us decide to trust and believe, not just God, but people?
Everything we do as followers of Christ is wrapped around faith, the essence of trust and belief. However, there is added disincentive in the story of Rahab in that these two men who may have entered her house under false pretenses, have now enlightened her that they are spies; that her life is now in danger from the spies and the guards of Jericho. They point out that her only reasonable choice is to hide them, and she does.
For us, there is a sudden awareness that her faith in this unknown god and her desire to be rescued by Him has become challenged. What does this added incentive do to your belief system?
Ponder once again what Rahab tells the two Israeli spies.
Joshua 2:9-10 NASB and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10) "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
At first, it is deeply personal as she says, “ I know that the LORD has given you the land and that the terror of you has fallen on us,” This paragraph has belief and fear written all over it. While I, Rahab, know that the Almighty has his hand on you, there is a profound and genuine concern on the part of the entire city for their safety, lives, and mine as well.
Joshua 2:11 NASB "When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
Does fear promote belief? I know it does not work for me. I may, under duress, comply out of concern for the safety of my family and myself, but I will never come to admire and possibly love you, as Rahab did.
The reality is that God's most significant impact on our faith is through signs. The idea that God is okay with that, comes from the verse where she recaps the two notable stories of which the people Jericho were aware. “We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.”
It is rapidly becoming evident that Rahab is a smart woman. You don't last long in such a business without the skills of a spy yourself, and she, therefore, strikes a bargain.
Joshua 2:12-13 NASB "Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13) and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death."
The men hear her out and respond with the words she needs to hear.
Joshua 2:14 NASB So the men said to her, "Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you."
Having received a promise of protection, and trusting their word, she provides them with a way of escape. I am going to do something peculiar here, and verse 15 last because I cannot see any practicality to her shouting additional instructions to the men as they rappel down the wall from her window.
Joshua 2:15-21 NASB 16) She said to them, "Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way." 17) The men said to her, "We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18) unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father's household. 19) "It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20) "But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear."
15) Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall so that she was living on the wall.
21) She said, "According to your words, so be it." So she sent them away, and they departed, and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
The bargaining is completed. Rahab lets them out through a window and uses the same scarlet cord to signal Israel's troops that hers is a safe house.
Suddenly it occurs to me. While the scarlet color may have been associated with her profession, it now represented that scarlet blood that saves us all. Few realize what took place. Consider also the tremendous significance, as Jesus was three days and nights in death, so to the scarlet rope hung from that window. Our redemption through Jesus was signaled all throughout this book we call the Bible, and today, I saw it.
What would have happened had the townsfolk of Jericho saw that cord suddenly hanging there? With the armed militia out chasing the spies, did the town now feel safe? I doubt it. The city may have gone on lock-down. How did this rope go unnoticed? That can only be God.
Did Rahab and her family demonstrate a strong faith in this God of Israel, and were therefore saved?
We don't know any of that. Rahab took a chance and pitched her case, knowing full well that they could turn against her. If what she says is true, then the people within Jericho comprehend the threat that Israel poses. Finding out that two Israeli spies have infiltrated the city just raises the threat level exponentially. The result of the increased threat level is that the family, which may have treated her as an outcast, hurriedly gathered survival supplies and joined Rahab in her home.
Joshua 2:23-24 NASB Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24) They said to Joshua, "Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us."
Safely back at camp, they related all that had happened. What a story. Oh, and by-the-way Joshua, there is one more thing you might find interesting - “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.” At least that is what Rahab told us.
Melted – is the Hebrew word moog, meaning to melt; literally (to soften, flow down, disappear), or figuratively (to fear, faint).
Since this is a character study on Rahab, I am going to bypass much of the detail involved in the attack on Jericho. It is admittedly fascinating to learn how Jericho's walls fell. Having seen pictures of the archaeological digs at Jericho, it becomes apparent that they went straight down into the ground. Except for one spot, that portion that Rahab lived in. Joshua 6:20
The NASB states that the wall fell flat. What does that mean? The Hebrew word is taḥaṯ: A preposition meaning under, beneath; in place of. It indicates a position below or underneath some other reference point.” Word Study Dictionary.
While the word flat is indeed an option, how do you explain under, beneath or a position below, especially when the passage goes on to say that every man walked straight ahead?
We don't return to Jericho in the book of Joshua until chapter six. In the meantime, circumcisions have been performed, and Israel has passed through the Jordan on dry land, just as they did the Red Sea. This time they placed a large mound of stones to commemorate God's goodness and what a coincidence that a large mound of stones has been located in the Sea of Galilee.
I suppose the obvious thing to consider here, is that much time has passed and that scarlet cord is probably still hanging out that window.
Joshua 6:21-23 NASB They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man, and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. 22) Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her." 23) So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.
How befitting that the young men who made the agreement should go and gather Rahab and her family.
“Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.”
Albert Barnes commentary states, “These words literally “made to rest outside the camp of Israel” - indicate that being still in their paganism, they were separated from the camp of the Lord. This was only for a time. They desired, and eventually obtained, admission to the covenant of the chosen people of God.”
Another instance where we have no details. We know nothing about paganism, but it is probably safe to assume. Since Rahab seems to have a faith in this God she knows little about, we shall see her come to understanding and acceptance.
Joshua 6:25 NASB However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
And everyone lived happily ever after, well, I would hope so. Sadly we live in reality, but there are three other passages I want you to see.
In spelling out the Jewish heritage of Jesus, the gospel of Matthew includes Rahab.
Matthew 1:5 NASB Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.
Boaz, if you remember, owned the land in which Ruth had been directed to work by Naomi, her mother in law. Boaz buys the right to marry Ruth, and they produced a child named Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Rahab is found in Hebrews 11 because of her faith.
Hebrews 11:31 NASB By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
And lastly, as an example of how faith works, we have the writings of James.
James 2:24-25 NASB You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25) In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
Understanding the ramifications, Rahab accepted the spies, protected them, and sent them safely on their way. So, Rahab then becomes an example for us, of faith and how it works.
By Jonathan BeWell
"All for Today"
I wandered the streets naked hearing only the beats
of my heart overflowing with a sixth sense
of urgency; emergency; clergymen; demons;
Time had ceased.
My mind was creased.
Cursed with the truth, the lies twisted my hindsight;
the sight lit my foresight
and the now was one huge stooge
ready to fall.
It was a desperate call
and I knew not who to listen to or who to tell,
my apparently tortured loneliness was living hell.
I eventually landed in a psychiatric ward
where all my kin were studied as a backwards horde.
The call was still ringing in my ears but
I was stuck in tangents of a concentration camp.
The antics of my fellow prisoners of war
only proved to me I was in on the score
and was losing; missing in action with
only my (innocent of the facts) family to protect me.
That was a decade ago now and how I
came through is miraculous.
...yet that time is not written off,
it still haunts me to this day,
a reality I rarely speak of...
and that is all I will burden you with today.
-Gregory KJ Brumwell 2004
I have a leader in my church who has been helping me address some historical abuse issues in my life. They are hard and painful for me, and I admittedly return to fear and anger instead of holding to faith. A couple weeks ago this leader was frustrated at me for lacking faith, and he said to me, “I’m done.” Literally those words. When I asked him, he said that he was getting in the way of my relationship with the Savior and he would not counsel me anymore. He has refused to speak to me at all since that time. I am angry and hurt and it feels like God is done with me, too. I am not sure what I am supposed to feel or do.
By Omegaman 3.0
Daily Reading 37 If you prefer, you can look up the following verses in your own Bible, of by whatever means and in whatever version you choose. Hebrews 2 Genesis 46:28-47:31 Psalm 37 Audio 2:47 Audio 4:47 Audio 4:21 The above addresses are linked to Bible Gateway. That is an easy way to read (or listen to) the Bible verses, and choose your version. Personally, I prefer written, that way I can go at my own pace, on think about it, before moving on. Nothing wrong with doing either or both. The Bible says faith comes by hearing. See the picture below to get an idea of what to expect if you follow the above links.
Note: The audio will not play the exact verses, it will play the whole chapters, in which the verses exist.
Thank you Lord for making the your word so accessible for us in these times. Amen