Imagine for a minute that you get to be God, BUT …you are not allowed to start listing people you would instantly wipe off the face of the earth with a single word out of your ‘God mouth’, just because they irritate you! Instead, the ‘God version’ of you is overwhelmed by love for the human beings you had created, and decides to mount a monumental rescue mission to save all humanity by actually becoming human yourself. And, because you are God, you have your pick of human forms to take on.
Who would you become when you showed up as Savior of the world? Wouldn’t you choose to be stunningly handsome, filthy rich, with impeccable taste and wield immense power and influence? What about your ancestry? Wouldn’t you want an equally impressive blood line, filled with royalty, heroes and celebrities guaranteeing that you would be born with quite a few silver spoons in your mouth?
As it turns out, the genealogy of God who became a man called Jesus, (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-37), is liberally sprinkled with heroes and quite a few kings including David and Solomon who were huge celebrities in their own time. And them somewhere in the middle of all that awesomeness and celebrity we come across the following:
“Salmon, the father or Boaz, whose mother was Rahab…” Matthew 1:5
Just for now let’s ignore the guy with the fish name, look past the other guy who is one half of the most amazing love story ever, and check out his mother, Rahab. Recognize her? Her name shows up again in the book of Hebrews:
“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” Hebrews 11:31
Apparently ‘cover-up’ and ‘whitewash’ are not in God’s nature, or part of His modus operandi! Rahab is one of only a few women included when (God) the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to write down the genealogy of Jesus (also God), and the writer of Hebrews elevates her among those in the Hall of Great Faith, and makes no attempt to hide her ‘occupation’ before she chose to believe in the God of Israel.
Which brings me to the tale of a peaceful Sunday evening, watching an episode of the History Channel series “The Bible” with my oldest daughter. She is the least talkative member of our family; petite and beautiful, with a razor-sharp wit, and brains for days! I remember sitting with her in church one Sunday morning as the preacher encouraged to congregation to choose their heroes wisely. After a slight pause for effect, he asked in his most serious voice,
“Who is your hero?”
I was not sure she was paying attention until I heard my firstborn whisper, under her breath, in an equally serious tone,
There may be moments when it is okay to just bust out laughing in church, but clearly that was not one of them, so I struggled to turn the laughter into a fit of coughing. Lesson learned; “She lickle but she tallawah”, which is the Jamaican description of someone who is petite in stature, but a force to be reckoned with!
We watched in complete yet companionable silence as the story of Rahab and the Israeli spies unfolded on the television screen then without any warning she comments,
“She may be a ‘ho’, but she is not a stupid ‘ho’.”
Oh no she didn’t! Yes… she… did! I was doing my best fish-out-of-water impression; mouth opening and closing repeatedly, while she looked at me with her infamous, “Whaaaaaaaaa….t? You know it’s true” stare. Any Pharisaical outrage was completely overcome by my traitorous sense of humor, because it was true. Everyone hiding behind those thick walls of Jericho had heard about the God of Israel, and His amazing power exercised on behalf of His people at the Red Sea, and against the armies of the Amorite kings, but Rahab was the only one who chose to put her faith in Him to save herself and her family.
“Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, ‘I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you…the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.’” Joshua 2:8-13
Regardless of her shortcomings, Rahab was definitely not stupid. When Jericho was defeated and completely destroyed in what has to be the strangest battle strategy in the history of war, (Joshua 6:1-20), Rahab and all her family were saved:
“But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho, and she lives among the Israelites to this day.” Joshua 6:25
She is just one of the people I cannot wait to hang out with when I get to heaven because I need details people…details! We know she married an Israeli man named Salmon (absolutely no comment), raised a God-fearing, God-honoring young man of great integrity named Boaz, and among her descendants is Jesus the Christ/Messiah, God in human form, and heir to the royal throne of David. The prostitute who ran the brothel in Jericho became for all intents and purposes, a princess.
“…I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.” Acts 10:34-35
“…for the Lord does not see as mortal see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
So here’s the thing, when God Almighty decided to take on human form, it is clear He had no intention of trying to impress any of us and in His economy, faith in God is the great equalizer. When our worlds crumble around us, we will not be saved by our socio-economic status or connections to power and influence, but by great faith, in a great God, whose eyes roam to and fro across the earth searching for those with great hearts that are truly His, who are … just living the thing.