It's been a while since I shared any sermons, I've been pretty slack. But today's sermon had huge impact on me.
Lately, Pieter and I have been doing a course through the church called Cleansing Streams. It's a tough course to describe, I guess you could say that it's an extremely intense foundational course. So far we have covered Walking in the Spirit, Committing everything to God and Speaking words of Life. Even though it has been almost overwhelmingly challenging I'm loving it, because not only does it explain the 'whys and whats' but it also explains the 'hows.' How to walk in the spirit, how to commit everything to God.
Now, I don't know just who has been praying for me while I'm on this course, but heck they're doing a good job! Each session has brought unexpected areas in my life to mind, highlighting aspects of my walk and my history that need work.
Honestly? I didn't realise I was this messed up! I didn't realise I carried this much baggage...
What does this have to do with Rahab, you ask? Well, I'll tell ya!
The biggest area that I've been having difficulty with is just how badly I've stuffed up in my past and a desperately hopeless feeling regarding my future. Apparently, this was not an area that I had fully committed to God. Now, I know all the awesome promises in scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favourites. Often I'll quote it to myself and feel a temporary sense of peace, but deep down?
Deep down I feel as though I have failed. I haven't lived up to the promise and potential that I felt was evident in my teens. I look at my life now and get this horrible feeling that I've wasted it. That I've accomplished nothing...
When I walked in the church doors this morning and saw on the sermon notes that we would be hearing about Rahab, I thought: Oh good! I love Rahab! Her story is one of redemption and hope. But I had never actually stopped to consider what her journey through life actually looked like.
Rahab was known as 'Rahab the prostitute.' Can you imagine a name like that following you throughout your life? Throughout the ages, for eons to come? A name like that immortalised in a book with the longevity of the Bible? And yet, when Joshua 2 picks up her story, she kinda wasn't. At that point in her life she had moved on. Two things in the bible tell us this: there was a significant amount of flax on her roof and she had a long length of scarlet rope.
Rahab was a cloth-maker. She had changed careers. The flax that she had stored on her roof was processed in such a way that it could be woven into cloth, and she had enough of it to hide two grown men. She also had a scarlet rope, which I am told was used to dye cloth. Dye merchants would soak rope in the dye and then sell it to cloth-makers who would then cut off sections and use it to dye cloth. I imagine that rope signified a major investment in her business. I don't think that dye was cheap back then. And she used it to lower a couple of spies who were there to take the land she lived in. She used it to save her family. It seems to me that she sacrificed her livelihood for the faith that the bible tells us she had in Joshua 2:11. A faith the went against her culture, everything that she had been raised to believe.
And for what? The slim chance that she wouldn't be killed in the sacking of her city? Can you imagine that? Sacrificing your here and now in the hope that your faith in God will provide security for your future? Tough stuff.
But Rahab put her faith into action. She didn't sit around whining about how awful her past was and how she would never amount to anything. She did something about her circumstances.
And look at what God gave her in the end. A hope and a future. And a place in the genealogy of Christ. Is there any greater honour?
If you want to run with giants, don't let your past determine your future.
Is your perspective and attitude holding you back from the purpose God has for your life? Do you have unresolved emotional issues that are keeping you from the freedom that Christ promises?
There are aspects to my life that are stagnating because I have not believed that there was anything better. Areas that I have 'swept under the carpet' because they are too painful and raw, so it's easier to just ignore them. But if I want to live an effective life for Christ I can't let His purposes be limited by my lack of faith and trust.
By choosing to not lay down all my failures at the cross and, instead, carrying them around, am I not negating what was done for me? By telling Jesus: No, I'll take that - You can have only this much... By not trusting Him I'm devaluing what He did for me on the cross.
His word to us is: Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
What is stopping us?
You can find and listen to the sermons here.