Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hookers, Spies and God

Lately I have been a little enthralled my RAHAB. You can read the story in this unpopular best seller called the Bible. She was a woman of the night who saved enemies of the state in which she lived in just so she could get a cut of the state cake when the new bosses hit town.

Okay, that’s not entirely true telling of the events.

Some commentaries that I have read while researching this subject say she was an inn keeper. The little Biblical record mentions no such thing. It clearly says she was a prostitute.

In dealing with her, many of us just remember that she saved the spies and got them out of a tight spot and for that she and her household were saved…and that was that. But enter the women movement and we remember that she was the mother of Boaz and they both were part of the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth, Saviour of the world.

In this brief look at her life we miss many things. I have said before that I love the real life stories or the realities in stories and Bible stories are chocked full with them.

Rahab was probable very poor. She lived on the city wall which was reserved for the poor. In ancient times as cities grew so did their fortifications and the poor or those engaged in noxious trades took up these quarters. They were cheaper I would imagine. Sort of like modern day slum dwelling.

She was a prostitute. If it’s hard now you can imagine what it was back then. The emotional and social trauma she suffered must have been immense. It was not hard to understand why the spies chose her house, no one would be surprised to see strange men go in and out of her abode at all manner of the night.

“Rahab was a Canaanite woman who ran an “Inn” in Jericho. It was actually a house of prostitution where men could spend the night with the woman of their choice. Murray Johnson writes:
“It is very important that we understand what the text really says about Rahab. It says Rahab was a harlot. What better place for the spies to hide out than at Rahab’s house? With all the comings and goings of a whorehouse, they could blend in easily. However, these men were on a righteous mission. “
Rahab was a prostitute herself. As a Canaanite, she was also a worshipper of a great number of deities of the Canaan religion, including Baal (god of fertility), Dagon (god of the crops) and Molech (god of fire).”

She was probably a single parent unless of course when she pleaded for mercy for her and her household she meant her 100 pet cats and camel. Who was part of her family we can only guess at but she was not a prostitute for the retirement plan, health benefits of great social standing it offered.

She was a liar and a pretty good one at that. The soldiers did not even bother to check out her story but listened at once and went where she sent them; probably because they were all anxious to get out of her house lest she recognises one of them and call them by name…I don’t know.

But I also suspect she was a strong woman. To take all the stigma that came her way, and make the choices she made to feed her family was not easy feat.

She was industrious. It was probable that she used her house as lodging, with “room service” at extra cost. She was also able to recognise an opportunity to save herself when she met the spies.

She was a mother and compassionate, her batter was for her, her house hold and her mother and father. She honoured them and pleaded for their lives as well.

This for me, not just the saving of the spies are the reasons she is part of that great family tree that brought us a saviour but this also, shows me that value not something that is easily removed no matter our circumstances in life, we can still be more than what “life” hands us.

Now the sermon:
God always calls people as they are just so he can fashion then into who they really were, as he originally created them. No iron worker conjures up a sword from a heap of iron ore but through great skill and process fashions a blade that will one day slay a dragon.
Keep calm and carry on, God isn’t done with you yet.

just in case we forget...
Rahab’s confession of faith.

She declared, “…for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” – Joshua 2:11

The Bible is about real people not fantastic super heroes. Real people doing everyday things that God elevated. Don't get sucked in by the Christian Super Hero Craze, that's just hype. The "champions of faith" were just believers who lived what they believed every day simply.

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