Devotional Week 52 Tuesday
“They who know Your name and who have acquaintance with Your mercy – who confidently put their trust in You, You will not forsake.”
Psalm 9: 10
Letter from Amy Carmichael to a dear friend.
“How you are trusted, and you will not disappoint Christ who is trusting you. I suppose one of His greatest trusts is a big disappointment. This is that. So we will look up and praise Him and sing to Him. ‘What a God who out of shade, nest for singing bird hath made.’ Any bird will sing in the sunlight, but there are only some who sing in the shade; bulbuls do. (Bulbuls are tropical Old World songbirds or birds like nightingales who sing in the night).
You are right not to (focus) on the pricking thorns of life. It only makes them
prick more sharply. Look at roses on the brier, and as you think of them your heart will lighten. I used to thank Him, when my skies were a bit cloudy, that there was so much more blue than grey. I know the same is true of your skies, in spite of horrid circumstances. I understand the dread of pain. And He understands, He who bore pain unimaginable and unforgettable. Our scars won’t be eternal. His are.”
Candles in the Dark
Letters of Amy Carmichael
Today’s Study Text:
1. “And (Rahab) said to the men, ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land and that your terror is fallen us and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For 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 the Amorites who were on the east side of the Jordan, Sibon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted neither did spirit or courage remain any more in any (one) because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.’”
Joshua 2: 9-11
2. “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab…Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.”
Matthew 12: 5, 16
3. “Prompted by faith Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed along with those who refused to believe and obey, because she had received the spies in peace.”
Hebrews 11: 31
“Those Who Believe: - Rahab
Words of Jesus
“Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.”
John 6: 47
Do I believe the Word of God?
What actions do I take in my life when I truly believe what God says?
“Believe God’s word and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences.”
Scottish minister and theologian
“I believe in the living God, and refuse to destroy my conscience.”
Agap (d. 304)
One of several martyrs for
Christ in Salonike in
Nearly nine years ago, in our studies through the Bible, in the early books contained in the Old Testament, we came upon the story of a woman named Rahab. She is identified in Scripture as a prostitute. That’s the “label” which was tagged to her by the people in Jericho where she had her residence. But her neighbors weren’t the only ones who placed this derogatory brand on Rahab. The fact is that the New Testament writer of Hebrews also identified her as “Rahab the prostitute.”
If at this point in today’s devotional you’re wondering why here at Christmastime, or what we as Christians call “The Advent,” we are going back to an early time in Biblical history to study about a “fallen” woman, I can’t blame you for it does seem odd to study about Rahab at this time of year. And yet, taking another look at Rahab today helps us better understand the mission of Christ when He came to earth as a baby several thousand years ago.
I found it interesting, that out of all the stories we studied in the Old Testament, Rahab’s was one of the favorites up to this time. This fact surprised me at first. However, upon further consideration as I gathered thoughts from all of you, your input resonated with me regarding the reasons all of us find this lady, whose story is woven throughout the Bible, to be such a captivating individual.
When we first meet Rahab, she is at her residence in Jericho which was the first city in Canaan marked for destruction as the Israelites marched across a barren desert toward their promised home. Rahab, as we read in Joshua chapters 2-6, became the heroine who selflessly hid two spies sent by Joshua to scout out the city.
In some of the most intrepid language spoken by a woman in Scripture, Rahab declared with a certainty that warms our hearts today: “For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2: 11, N.I.V.). Even God’s chosen children, delivered from the iron hand of Pharaoh and the Egyptian taskmasters rarely spoke of their “God of Deliverance” with the powerful fervor that Rahab exhibited.
A heathen prostitute she may have been called but a “Believer” and obedient servant of the God of heaven and earth was who she showed herself to be. No wonder the author of the book of Hebrews took time to write about this “foreigner” in Hebrews 11 – the Biblical “faith” chapter. I love the way The Message Bible paraphrases the words found in Hebrews 11: 31 – “By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God.”
There are three critical phrases for us to feast upon which are found in this passage and I want to focus on these words by using the Amplified Bible:
Phrase #1: “Prompted by faith.” Rahab heard the same stories every body in Jericho heard. She watched with wonder as the Israelites marched across the desert. She knew this band of people were directed by a different God than the man-made gods of Jericho. But as Rahab opened her heart to the “God of heaven and earth,” a change took place in her life. Maybe the people of Jericho didn’t know what was going on inside of Rahab, but the God she had faith in certainly did. And so He sent two of His children to her home to snatch Rahab and her entire family from the jaws of destruction. As author Laura Petherbridge so forcefully points out, “One of God’s most astounding characteristics is that even the ability to have faith in Him comes from Him.” I believe as the God of heaven and earth witnessed the tenderness and unselfish kindness which had taken root in the heart of His daughter, Rahab, He bestowed the seed of faith and it took root in Rahab’s fertile heart.
Phrase #2: Rahab did not “refuse to believe.” When the truth about God came into Rahab’s life, she didn’t refuse to believe what she was convicted was truth. In his thought-provoking book, Believing God, Pastor and teacher R. T. Kendall has this to say about the transformation that took place in the life of Rahab: “Israel’s reputation was not known by Rahab only; she says so, ‘All the inhabitants of the land faint because of you’, she said to the spies; ‘for we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites’ (Joshua 2: 9-10). The very knowledge that made the citizens of Jericho hostile to the spies is what made Rahab anxious to befriend them. What made the citizens of Jericho absolutely certain that they should reject the spies is precisely what made Rahab absolutely certain she should receive them.” And Rahab, without question, believed.
Phrase #3: “She received the spies in peace.” In the Amplified Bible, the words “received in peace” are identified to be “without enmity.” Rather than turning her back on the spies, people who she did not know or understand, as the dictionary helps us define, Rahab refused to treat these spies with “enmity” or “deep-rooted mutual hatred.” The result was that all of Rahab’s family was saved by her obedience to the truth God planted in her heart.
I entitled today’s devotional “Those Who Believe” for a specific reason – especially this year and at this time in history. Of all people, those of us who have taken the name of Christ as our own – Christians – need to treat everyone God brings to us with the same love Jesus treated the outcasts, the non-believers and the foreigners. When the Bible tells us that “God is not willing that any should perish,” I believe He means what He says. Our Father’s love extends to all races and nations and as His children, our love should extend especially to those who need a loving witness of our Savior’s love. But this isn’t the end of Rahab’s story for I would be totally remiss if I didn’t finish today’s devotional with a very sad passage found in Joshua 6: 23. And yes, it’s about Rahab who God used to save His children. “So the spies, went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred andset them outside the camp of Israel.” It brings tears to my eyes when I read this text for I wonder if there have been times in my own life that because someone doesn’t worship just like I do or doesn’t believe every thing I happen to think is important – do I banish them “outside the camp” of my life and love? What a tragedy if I am so blinded by my own puffed-up attitude that I don’t see the seed God has planted in their heart and instead of watering the seed with love, I trampled on it with unkindness or disrespect.
Thank God, He is able to take the foreigners – the Rahab’s in our midst and He doesn’t just welcome them inside the camp of His love, He puts them right in the middle of His family. The disciple Matthew tells us that “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab” was in the direct lineage of “Jesus, Who is called the Christ” (Matthew 1Ú 5, 16). So this Christmas let’s remember the Rahab’s among us who may well be unrecognized believers that God has sent into your life and mine to water with His love.
“Come, Christ Jesus, be our guest,
and may our lives by You be blest.
and free us from the false claims
of the empires of the world.
We are lonely for You and Your peace.
Come, Emmanuel, and dwell with us.
Make us your people indeed,
the people through whom You bring
love and justice to the world.”
Ruth C. Duck
Son of God, Eternal Savior
“Son of God, eternal Savior, Source of
life and truth and grace,
Word made flesh, whose birth among us
Hallows all our human race,
You our head, who throned in glory,
For Your own will ever plead;
Fill us with Your love and pity,
Heal our wrongs, and help our need.
Bind us all as one together in Your
Weak and healthy, poor and wealthy,
sad and joyful, young and old.
Is their want or pain or sorrow?
Make us all the burden share.
Are their spirits crushed and broken?
Teach us, Lord, to soothe their care.
As You, Lord, have lived for others,
So may we for others live.”
Somerset C. Lowry
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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