August 14, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

Principle 1

 

“When Your Back’s Against a Wall”

Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor for “P31 Woman Magazine,” Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Joshua 2:11b, “… for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

I used to think that if God needed something important done, He would ask someone who’s got it all together.  You know those women.  They never yell at their kids, or have an emotional meltdown in the grocery store.  They know what they’re having for dinner each nightand come to Bible study with their homework done.  If God’s going to call someone to an important job, it’s going to be someone like that.  A good church lady, right?

 

I used to think that, until I read the story of Rahab in the book of Joshua.  It gave me hope that sometimes when God needs an important job done, the best woman to do it has her back against a wall, and a life that’s not all together.

 

Rahab, a prostitute, lived within the walls of the city of Jericho.  Jericho was an okay city, except for the fact that it was on God’s to-conquer list for the children of Israel.  The people who lived in Jericho weren’t following God, but they had heard of Him.  They heard of the miracles the God of the Israelites performed, and the smart Jericho residents were afraid … especially when they learned the Israelites were camped not far from their city.

 

When two Israelite spies made their way to Rahab’s house, instead of quivering in fear, Rahab boldly protected them by hiding them in her roof and redirecting the King’s men, making a way of escape for the spies.  This wasn’t an act of self-preservation on Rahab’s part.  If the King of Jericho discovered her act, her life would be over.  I believe it was an act of a woman who had heard about God and decided to follow Him wholeheartedly, whatever the cost.  Rahab’s bold decision to follow God spared her life and the lives of her family.

 

It’s an interesting act on God’s part to send the spies to the house of a prostitute.  There are many reasons why I imagine God choose this particular woman to help the spies.  The one that strikes the deepest chord in my heart, is that Rahab was the only one in a position to help that day. 

 

God could have chosen a “good church lady,” but where were they? They were outside the wall!   All of the women most likely to pull off a bold and dramatic act like this were on the other side of the Jordan River, safely protected by the Israelite army.

 

They weren’t inside the city of Jericho, they didn’t have a vantage point that would help the spies, and they might not have been brave enough to hide the spies and stand up to the King’s men.  Rahab was in the perfect position, with the perfect disposition, to do the most good that day, and it just so happened that she was deep in sin and far from God. 

 

But God knew Rahab’s heart. He knew that she was softening toward Him. God knew that Rahab’s heart was ready to turn from the pagan gods to the One True God.  At just the right moment, Rahab turned from her sin and chose to follow hard after God.

 

Is your back up against a wall today?  Have you dismissed the likelihood that God would choose you because of your lifestyle choices?  Take heart, my sister, from the story of Rahab.  Rahab made the right choice to follow God, and because of it her entire family was spared when the Israelites destroyed Jericho. 

God saw potential in Rahab and called her out of her past, and into a great adventure and a life filled with promise.  God sees the same potential in you.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me in spite of the sins of my past. I know these sins and selfishness have separated me from You.  Please forgive me for choosing my way instead of Your way.   Help me to trust You and Your plan for my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

Identify past sin or hurt that is still affecting you today.  If you have never asked the Lord to forgive you for your sin, then do so now.  If you have received forgiveness, but still feel shame, choose to believe God’s word that He has removed your transgressions from you, as far as the east is from the west.

 

Reflection Points:

Read Joshua 2.  In verse 9, Rahab tells the spies that everyone in the country is afraid of their God.  If Rahab was afraid, why would she help God?

 

Although Rahab was a living a life far from God, what good and useful characteristics did she have?

 

Many times we withhold an area of our lives from God’s Lordship.  It may be work, our time, or our money.  If you submitted that area of your life to God, what changes might happen?

 

Rahab’s actions saved the lives of her family.  What can you do today to impact the lives of your own family?

 

Power Verses:

Psalm 86:5 “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You.”  (NIV)

I Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (NIV)

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (NIV)

Hebrews 11:31, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.”  (NIV)

Psalm 139:12-14, “Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  (NIV)

Additional Resources:

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

 

What Happens When Women Walk In Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

 

P31 Woman Magazine