Read: Joshua 2; James 2:25; Hebrews 11:31
These last several months, as we are all aware, have been different than we could have imagined due to the virus. Many special occasions have had to be modified or even canceled. Sports which had heretofore changed with the seasons have only recently begun again, and they are being played with very different parameters. Who would have thought that basketball would be played in a bubble or that baseball would be played with piped in crowd noise and cardboard cut-out fans as spectators?
Even so, this week, Lucas Giolito, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox pitched a no-hitter. No fans were in attendance. Only grounds crew who made an appearance and team members watched the noteworthy feat. I thought I might find an interesting quote concerning this once in a lifetime occurrence. After all, it is unlikely that another no-hitter will ever be thrown in an empty stadium. I didn't find any great quips; however, this incident is now a part of baseball's record books.
While I was searching on the Internet, I did come across another odd occurrence in baseball. It happened on April 23, 1964. On that date, Ken Johnson, pitcher for the Houston Colt. 45s pitched a stellar no-hitter, only to lose the game to the Cincinnati Reds. Can you imagine pitching with such precision, only to sustain a loss in spite of your effort? Johnson was gracious, saying that he felt worse for his teammates than he did for himself. This is yet another very unusual incident that is a part of baseball's record books.
God has given us His own record book, the Bible. Here we find true and amazing stories concerning how the Creator/Redeemer has worked in the lives of men and women. Some are named, and many are not. How wondrous it is to watch as God not only seeks people, but often uses those the world would disregard so that the glory for what was accomplished would belong to Him alone, 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
One of those is surely Rahab who is mentioned in the books of Joshua, Matthew, James and Hebrews. Talk about making the record book. Yet, there is something unusual about most of the references to this woman. In all but one of the places where the scriptures speak of her, she is referred to as Rahab the harlot. When we meet her in Joshua 2, we learn that Rahab has made her living as a prostitute. We have no other details concerning why she lived as she did. However, very early in Joshua 2, we learn something much more amazing about Rahab. She, like all the people in Jericho, knew how powerful Joshua's God was, but the beautiful thing is that she didn't stop there. She took what she knew about this wondrous and powerful God and applied it to her own life. She reasoned that since Joshua's God had divided the Red Sea and given His people the ability to defeat strong enemies, He should be her God too. Those all around her were afraid of God but they never came under the protection of His wings, Ruth 2:12. Rahab feared God as is spoken of in Proverbs 1:7, and because of that, she sought refuge with His people.
In James 2:25, Rahab the prostitute is Lauded for her faith, right after Abraham's faith is praised. Both were held up as having faith that could be seen because their actions bore it out. It is interesting that Abraham who is called God's friend, Isaiah 41:8, and Rahab who is referred to as a prostitute stand together as having faith real faith that showed up by its action. Again, when the biblical record refers to Rahab in Hebrews 11:31, God did not shy away from speaking of her prostitution. Doesn't the fact that we know about Rahab's past and how God saved and used her give each of us hope? No, most of us probably have not made our livings in the same way Rahab did, but we all have failings, flaws and sins. Satan lies when he whispers in our ears that God can't use us because of what we have done; however, God's record concerning Rahab--and yes, each flawed human He has graced with His love-reminds us of the truth that God is in the business of redeeming fallen men and women. When we read about their flaws in His record book, it is a reminder of how great and lavish God's grace truly is.
When Rahab's past was once again highlighted, God's grace shone even brighter. God was not saying that Rahab wasn't forgiven. Rather, we can see that her life was like a beacon, pointing to the God Who delights to save those the world calls unlikely candidates for His love. This is similar to what Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:12-17. In those verses, the apostle didn't shy away from the sins of his past; instead, they were a platform from which he proclaimed God's immeasurable grace. Everyone in God's record book, the known and unknown, is a reminder that He brings beauty from ashes. Those ashes look different in each of our lives, but they are nonetheless ashes out of which God brings beauty.
Lord, Thank You for loving and saving Rahab, and thank You for loving and saving me.