Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just call me Rahab

Yahweh did not choose the greatest nation on earth; he chose the fewest, Israel (Deut. 7:7). And when he is pleased to show his mercy to an inhabitant of Jericho, he does not choose the most virtuous or noble of the citizenry; he chooses Rahab, a harlot (cf. Josh 6:17, 22-23, 25). No one in Jericho deserves to live. None of them has honored Yahweh as God or given thanks to him (cf. Rom. 1:21). Yet Yahweh is pleased to show kindness, and as he declared to Moses that he would show mercy to whomever he pleased (Ex. 33:19), he chooses to show mercy to one whose unworthiness underscores the riches of his grace. Thus is the free, unconstrained mercy of God displayed in all its glory, and the burning of all Jericho makes the salvation of Rahab and her family more heavy with the weight of the glory of God.

(Hamilton, James M. God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010. Print.150)

The story of the destruction of Jericho is surely one of the most famous stories of the Old Testament. Any child who attended Sunday school for any length of time knows about Joshua and Jericho. Marching. Trumpeting. Seven times. Walls come tumbling down.

Even now, as an adult, my desire is still to imagine myself as Joshua. I put myself in the sandals of the great warrior and leader of the children of God. I trust in God despite the seemingly silly request to march around the city. I'm a man of action, but I obey the command to walk instead of fight. And then victory.

As I contemplate this excerpt from Dr. Hamilton's biblical theology, it occurs to me that I should be associating with the harlot, not the hero. Isn't all of our stories more akin to Rahab's than to Joshua's. I know mine is. An unworthy sinner is called out from among the enemies of God and shown salvation in the midst of judgment all because of the grace and mercy of God.

I wasn't marching around the city when God moved in my life. I was in the city. I was an idol worshiper and a God-hater. I was Rahab the harlot not Joshua the hero. And yet, he saved me from the flames and the destruction. Not because I deserved, but because it was his pleasure.

I want to be a Joshua; my roots will always be with Rahab. Thank God for his mercy.

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