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THE MOST UNLIKELY HERO | Joshua 2:1-15
THE MOST UNLIKELY HERO | Joshua 2:1-15
How many of you have a relative that is difficult to explain? How many of you are that relative that is difficult to explain? Well, I have several and it isn’t easy to try and tell others what they do because of what they have done.
But I have found out that there are people who are genealogists who can take someone’s life and work and work and work and reshape it just by changing a few words and make it sound glorious.
For example, there was a man who found out his great-great uncle Remus Starr, was a man with no moral character. He was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889.
On the back of the only known photograph of Remus, which showed him standing on the gallows are the words:
Remus Starr: Horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison, 1885. Escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton Detectives, convicted and hanged, 1889.
Now, how in the world can you remake his life and image to look good? Well, the genealogist took that same information and reworked it to read: “Remus Starr was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad.
Beginning in 1885, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad.
In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency.
In 1889, Uncle Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”
Now Rahab was one of those relatives that was difficult to explain. Why? Because she was a prostitute.
- Strike One – Rahab was a Canaanite, not a Jew. – The Canaanites were a wicked people. A people so wicked and so evil that God used Israel as his instrument to judge them. The Canaanites were Idolaters.
Strike Two – Rahab was a woman.- Women at that time were often treated as 2nd class people. They had few rights. Yet God worked through this woman – Rahab.
- Strike Three – Rahab was a prostitute. She sold herself for money. – God sees potential in every single one of us. No matter what our past.
The story is pretty simple. We know how Joshua took over as the leader of the Israelites after their escape from Egypt and the years of wandering in the wilderness.
Moses wasn’t allowed to cross the Jordan and Joshua was put in charge because of his faith. He then commanded certain spies to enter into Jericho to see if they could find any weakness. And that’s where Rahab comes in.
Apparently, the people of Jericho had heard the story of the Israelites and what God had done to the Egyptians at the Red Sea and they didn’t want any part of them.
They were scared, as they should have been, of the awesome power of God. As a consequence, they didn’t even want any of the Hebrews in or near their city.
Apparently, someone saw the spies come into town and head over to Rahab’s house. The leader’s of Jericho wanted them out of town and headed over like a crazed mob.
I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, now, why would the spies stop at the house of Rahab, especially knowing her profession? Well, it was a good place to gather information and have no questions asked in return.
Second, Rahab’s house was in an ideal location for a quick escape because it was built into the city wall, which wasn’t uncommon. The walls were usually two sets of walls about 12 feet apart.
The space between was often filled with dirt and rock. But they also built storerooms, watch rooms, quarters for the soldiers and livestock and even houses into the walls.
As a prostitute, Rahab lived on the edge of society, one stop short of Interstate nowhere. Her house, built right into the city wall, provided lodging to travelers.
It was a natural place for the spies to stay. They would simply be mistaken for Rahab’s customers whether they were or not.
But the real reason the spies went to the home of Rahab, was because God directed them to her house knowing that her faith would be instrumental in the Israelite victory over Jericho.
Isn’t that remarkable? God chose to use a prostitute. But friends, you have to understand something about God. God always seems to use the most unlikely people.
People like Moses who couldn’t talk, people like Mary who was a pregnant teenager, people like Rahab whose simple faith was all God needed.
She recognized that our God isn’t any old ordinary god. Our God is all powerful, the God of creation and she acted in faith.
As a result, when the posse came, she hid the spies, struck a bargain with them for herself and her family and then helped them escape.
The sign of their covenant was the red cord. And because of her faith, God honored her in a most amazing way. You see, Rahab then married and became the wife of Salmon who was the son of Nahshon, and the mother of Boaz, Jesse’s grandfather.
Jesse would be the father of King David. Rahab’s faith and faithfulness were honored by God.
And thus, through David, she became a direct ancestor of the very Son of God. Yes, Rahab the harlot is listed in the genealogy of Christ found in Matthew. Try and explain that one!
The message of this story, the key to this story isn’t Rahab’s past, it’s her faith and the future God created for her. Paul lists her as one of only two women in his Hall of Faith.
In hearing her story, I find a few lessons that apply to us today.
First, your faith starts with you. Jesus said, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain, go and it will move.”
What Jesus is saying here is that if we as a church come together as one body we can move mountains and make a huge difference in the world.
Your faith doesn’t have to be huge or seasoned. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Rahab was as imperfect as they come yet she changed the future of the world.
Second, your faith starts with you. You don’t have to form a committee to have faith in God. It begins with you and your willingness to follow Christ.
Rahab’s faith in God was so real and so strong that she was prepared to put her own life at risk in order to do what she knew was right.
She risked her livelihood, her family and her future to do what was right. Would you do that? Would you risk your livelihood, your family and your future to stand up for what you believe?
In 1938, a young stockbroker was working in London making a good living when he heard about the plight of parents living in Prague.
The Jewish parents were worried that they might be killed by the Nazis and wanted their children to have a future.
So this young stockbroker left his job, took a ferry to Amsterdam and a train to Prague. He then booked a room at a hotel and invited parents to come and meet with him.
Many parents came to ask him for help. After he had a 100 children, he put them on the train to Amsterdam then to London.
He was stopped in London for not having proper documentation. He forged every document to get those children in London and into homes.
As soon as the got the first group in he went back to Prague for another load of children. All in all, he was able to get 669 children out of Prague.
He never told anyone about it for 50 years. It was then someone in Jerusalem had discovered what Nicholas Winton had done to save the children in Prague.
He was then invited to an auditorium blindfolded. They asked him to stand up and take his blindfold off. He did and behind him were 15,000 descendants of the 669 children he saved.
He stood up for what he believed and risked his livelihood, his family and his future.
Third, Simple FAITH IS ALWAYS GREATLYT REWARDED.
In Joshua 6:25 we find that Rahab and her family were saved just as had been promised.
Not only did she enjoy deliverance from death for herself and her family. She was fully included in the community of God’s people.
The fact that Rahab was a prostitute didn’t matter to God. The fact that Rahab’s faith was small and just beginning to bloom didn’t matter. All that mattered to God was her faithfulness in protecting His servants.
Sometimes we are hard on ourselves. We say “I wish I could pray more. I wish I could read the Bible more. I wish I could give more.” Friends, God can take the little we have and make it into something big.
Remember what Jesus said about faith the size of a mustard seed?
Well, God took Rahab’s mustard seed of faith and used it to begin the genealogy of the one who would be the Salvation of the whole world.
The implication for us is simple. Our faith doesn’t have to be complicated. We don’t have to know all the answers or be the perfect Christian.
Our faith doesn’t have to be big. One small kindness, one small gift, one small act of faith may be all it takes to change the world.
You know a football in my hands might get me 35 yards down the field, maybe. But a football in the hands of New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will yield 74,127 yards, no. 1 in NFL history.
520 touchdown passes and a 68% completion rate. You see it all depends on whose hands it’s in.
A baseball in my hands is probably worth $22.00 but a baseball in the hands of hall of famer Nolan Ryan is worth 5726 strikeouts, 7 no-hitters and a fastball clocking in at over 100 mph.
It depends on whose hands it is in. A basketball in my hands might get me 7 out of 10 free throws. I was pretty good in basketball.
But a basketball in the hands of Michael Jordan will net 32,292 points, 5 nba MVP awards and 6 NBA titles. It all depends on whose hands its in.
A 7 iron golf club in my hands might get me 170 yards down the fairway but a golf club in the hands of legend Jack Nicklaus will get you 73 PGA tour wins and 18 major championships.
It all depends on whose hands its in. A tennis racket in my hands might be able to swat some flies but a tennis racket in the hands of Serena Williams will get you 801 wins, 23 major doubles titles and 23 major singles titles. You see it all depends on whose hands its in. So this morning I invite you to take your tiny mustard seed of faith and blow it into the hands of God.
Then take your worries, your cares and your problems and give them over to God. You see all that really matters is whose hands their in! Amen
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