Faith That Does Not Shrink Back – My Daily Bread!
Our call to treasure God is taken from Hebrews 10: 38-39, NIV, which reads:
”But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved”.
This passage reminds me of the story of Rahab in the Book of Joshua Chapter 2. Rahab was a prostitute and in the lowest sphere of society in her day, but God used her faith to save His anointed and blessed her with being in the lineage of King David and Christ Jesus! The Israelites had just moved out of the desert after 40 years in the wilderness and crossed the Jordan River poised to undertake their first great military battle, the defeat of the city of Jericho. Joshua, the man of God had sent spies into the city to gather intelligence in preparation for the battle and they arrived at Rahab’s inn which immediately caused panic in the city.
Everyone had heard what God had done for His people in bring them up from the land of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea and how He preserved them alive in the desert. Now they hear that the Israelites are marching in their direction and that spies are in their city. Rahab also heard all this but instead of being gripped with fear, here is how she reasoned in her discussion with the spies who she hid and help escape to safety:
“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. 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. 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 earth below.” (Joshua 2: 8-13, NIV)
What a strange thing for a pagan woman to say! Rahab understood that the times had changed; that a higher power, ‘the God of Heaven and Earth’ was making a move that was going to directly impact her life and the lives of those she loved. She did not look around at the walls of Jericho, which were 25 feet high and as wide as 20 feet in certain spots and get comfortable. While others heard the same stories and decided that they just needed to lock down the city and prevent the Israelites from entering; she believed that God was worth trusting and she turned to the Lord for her salvation! Faith requires courage! In Rehabs’ case courage to hide the spies, help them to escape and to lie to the authorities who were looking for them. This was a dangerous act on her part; but because she believed and did not shrink back, she and her entire family were saved!
Now there were three conditions placed on the agreement by the spies that required action on Rahab’s part. She had to not tell what they were doing, tie a scarlet cord around the window she helped them escape through that would be visible from the outside and she had to gather all her family inside her house to be saved. (Joshua 2: 17-20, NIV) Yes, Rahab had to witness about what she believed to her family and loved ones that she was looking to save! She also had to put a distinguishing sign, the scarlet cord in the window; that indicated to the spies who and where she was. This was her continuing sign of faith in the God of heaven and earth! It marked her apart from the rest so that she and her family would not be destroyed.
Things we can learn from Rahab’s story:
Because she believed, she is one of the only two women mentioned in the Hall of Faith in the book of Hebrews chapter 11. Hebrews 11:31 says: “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” She heard about God, believed in Him, risked all to be saved by Him, witnessed about His greatness such that others were also saved, joined His chosen people and was blessed to be an ancestor of David and Christ Jesus! This is the kind of faith that God is looking for in His followers today; a living faith that moves us to action!
God’s invitation to believe on Him is being extended to the world today through His gospel message. Rahab’s invitation came by way of some dubious spies that appeared in her town who may have thought that Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute would not be interested in God. Yet she was willing to risk everything she had for the chance to be saved by Him. We should not gauge a person’s interest in God by his/her background, lifestyle or appearance. God is not concerned with where you have been, but He is concerned about where you are going. Seize every opportunity God gives you to witness, you never know how He is moving in the hearts of others!
Rahab’s encounter with God changed her entire life! She was no longer a prostitute, but became one of His chosen people. Not only can God use you, but He can change your life to be what He desires if we trust and believe in Him.
Rahab’s scarlet cord was an outward symbol of her faith in God’s ability to save. She understood that the cord was her lifeline to God. It set her house apart from the rest and represented her willingness to be aligned with God’s chosen people and enter a new relationship with the Lord. It spoke of her courage to not shrink back, but to move toward the God of her salvation. Do you have a living faith like Rahab? One that moves you to risk all for the sake of knowing Him?
Saints, faith is about courage to believe in God, to trust Him with your whole life; it is about boldness to move and live in His will each and every day. Faith is about seizing the opportunities God puts in front of us and acting upon them in His will for our life. Our faith results in outward expressions of actions that inevitably propel our witness for God to greater heights!
Copyright© 2011-2012 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.