Text: Hebrews 11:31 (Joshua 2:1-20)
A woman was trying to raise her daughter as a Christian. However, she was getting very little support from her husband who thought Christianity was ridiculous.
In fact, he often tried to undermine her efforts. One Sunday, the mother and her daughter were coming home from worship and the daughter was excited about learning about creation. Her mother went over the story with her and added some details that weren’t covered in junior church. God created Adam. Then God created Eve. And it was pretty exciting to think that God had done all this and that both of them were created by God in God’s image. The daughter got home and with grand excitement told her father all that she learned. When she was finished, he said, “Honey, I know you are very excited about this but I need to tell that what the church is teaching is just a story. There may be some lessons to be learned about being a good person. But it is a story that is just not supported by science.” So he told her about evolution and how humans were descendents from apes. The little girls took it all in with a somber face and said that she understood. “I know that you are disappointed but it is better for you to learn the facts then to grow up believing a story is true.” The little girl went to her mother and told her everything that her dad had told and said, “How could they both be true? Daddy says these are the facts.” The mother replied, “Oh those are the facts all right. He was telling you about his side of the family.”
WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT 3 WOMEN FROM THE BIBLE TONIGHT.
SARAH -- RAHAB -- RUTH
ALL THREE WOMEN WERE IN THE LINAGE OF JESUS.
SARAH WAS ABRAHAM'S WIFE.
FOR MOST OF HER LIFE SHE WAS BARREN AND UNABLE TO HAVE CHILDREN
HOWEVER, AT THE AGE OF 90 A MIRACLE HAPPENED
SHE BECAME PREGNANT AND GAVE BIRTH TO A SON AND SHE NAMED HIM ISAAC.
ISAAC BECAME THE FATHER OF JACOB WHOM GOD LATER NAMED ISRAEL
AFTER ISRAEL THERE WAS JUDAH, PEREZ, HEZRON, RAM, AMMINADAB, NAHSHON, AND THEN SALMON
SALMON MARRIED RAHAB THE PROSTITUTE
AND THEY HAD A SON NAMED BOAZ.
ONE DAY BOAZ SAW A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WIDOW NAMED RUTH, GLEANING IN HIS FIELDS
AND THEY END UP GETTING MARRIED.
For the rest of our teaching, we need to turn to Joshua 2:1-20
Joshua 2:1-24 (NIV)
Rahab and the Spies
2 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.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”
4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 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 Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.”
14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”
15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 Now she had said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”
17 The men said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”
21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.” So she sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
There are three great truths that Rahab teaches us about faith from her life and the life of the spies.
1. God can use an ugly person.
B. God can use a sinful person.
Rahab, to hide the spies - 1
ii. Rahab feared what God had done through the Israelites
that Christ can forgive and use even the vilest of sinners.
a. This woman’s house would be the least likely to attract
attention to spies
James 2:25 - Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified
by works, when she had received the messengers, and had
sent them out another way?
C. God can use people you'd never expect.
i. He can use your enemy
ii. He can use a stranger –
Hebrews 13:2 - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
iii. He may use the weak and unwise –
1 Corinthians 1: 27
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
- \\ iv. He may use a child*
Matthew 18:2-3 - 2
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
D. When we have faith in God, He will many times use people who may not be appealing to us, but who need to see God’s faith work in and through us
i. God may use our faith to reach them for Christ
ii. God may use people to get our attention
2. God Uses Unusual Circumstances to Stretch Our Faith
A. Several churches in North Dakota were being served by an old preacher. The people were always amazed, for
no matter what the circumstances, the preacher could always find something to give thanks for. As he made his rounds one cold December morning, he was late in getting to worship because of excessive snow drifts. As he began the service with prayer, the parishioners were eager to see what the old preacher could come up with to be thankful for on this dismal and frigid morning. "Gracious Lord," his prayer began, "we thank you that all days are not like today.”
i. God may use situations that we get ourselves into
- \\ ii. God may use conditions that are uncomfortable for us*
- \\ iii. Isaiah 55:8-9 - 8*
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
D. When we have faith in God, He will allow circumstances that we cannot control so we have no choice but to trust Him.
3. God Uses Unpredictable Methods
A. God used Rahab to rescue the spies
i. She hid them (3, 6)
a. They probably thought they would be caught
b. They trusted an ungodly, heathen harlot to protect them
c. It could be nothing else than faith in God
ii. She helped them escape (15)
a. She let them down through a window on the wall
b. There was no other way out without being detected
iii. She gave them a plan of protection (16)
a. Head for the hills
b. Hide for three days
c. Then head back home
B. Sometimes God uses circumstances that surprise us.
i. We often don’t see what is coming
1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
ii. Since Satan does not know the future, he cannot predict what God is going to do next.
C. When we put our faith in God, He will often take us in a direction we didn’t expect to go.
So we are forced to stay close to Him so He can Guide us through the minefield of a world out there.
Has God been teaching you anything lately?
Has he been trying to get your attention?
Has God put people into your life that He wanted to you to speak to?
Has your faith been stretched lately through circumstances you know were unusual?
Has God asked you to go in a direction that will stretch you?
Salmon married Rahab who used to be a prostitute and who wasn't of Jewish descent, she was a Canaanite woman.
and they had a son named Boaz.
Boaz married Ruth, a widow who wasn't of Jewish descent, she was from Moab.
THE POINT I'M MAKING HERE IS THAT GOD IS WILLING TO ACCEPT ANYONE WHO IS WILLING TO BOW BEFORE HIM AND COMMIT THEMSELVES TO HIM.
YOU CAN BE THE WORST SINNER OR SOMEONE WHO HAS GROWN UP WITHIN THE CHURCH AND YOU STILL HAVE TO BOW BEFORE HIM AND COMMIT YOUR WHOLE SELF TO HIM.