One thing I know to be true about myself is that I rarely tell a short story. Especially when it comes to sharing about whatever thing God is doing around me at the moment. I try to keep things brief but the details are significant and, to my way of thinking, you don’t really get the full impact if I don’t share each and every one. Hence, Side Note #2 to be read in a whisper on the last post.
Everything God does and shows us is so worth talking about to me. I’m up front about my verbosity. I always tell (or warn – you pick the verb) the sweet Sisters who attend my Bible studies that “I am a woman who loves to do two things: study the Word and talk.” And by the end of our weeks together, if they have learned nothing else, they have learned that the second part of that statement is true. In fact, I was blessed to have my niece in attendance the very first time I introduced and expounded on material I had written myself. When we left study, I said to her, “Sis, can you believe I talked for almost an hour?” She didn’t skip a beat as she very matter-of-factly replied, “Oh yeah Aunt Bunny. I wasn’t surprised.”
And, as you’ve probably noted by now, this blog does not deviate from my pattern. For those of you who have been following since the first post, have you noticed that the number of comments that can be seen down the side has grown? It isn’t just that there are more comments to show. Nope. There’s this widget in the blog set up that I can use to select how many comments are visible at a time. It ranges from 5 to 15. The first post I set the widget to display 5 comments. But then on the second post I noticed that the text went past the comments and made the post look a little wordy. Did I shorten the post? No! I moved the number of comments displayed to 10. On the third post, I talked long enough that 10 didn’t do it anymore, and I had to change the widget to display 15 comments. But 15 is the maximum that can be displayed so now I can’t even create the illusion that I can be succinct. I think that’s why Twitter doesn’t hold any appeal for me. Who can say anything in 140 characters or less?
While I’m not certain that wordiness is a spiritual gift, I am definitely thankful that God has blessed me with an enthusiasm for the things He has to say and an eye that often sees His intimate involvement in the everyday. It might be that I appreciate those things so much because it’s so far from where this rebellious heart began. I totally identify with the words God spoke through the pen of the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy.
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:14-16
I often tell friends who are praying for someone close to them to surrender to Christ, “Look at me and have hope. I’m tangible proof that God never gives up and no one is beyond His reach.” See, my life confirms that God reaches out and changes hearts regardless of our sin history. And I know, that as blessed as I am to be called by Him in the here and now, God has an inheritance kept in heaven for me beyond what I can conceive or imagine. How can I be so confident of this? How do I absolutely know it to be true? Because it is who my God has always been and what my God has always done.
When I was little I used to love to read those big, hard covered Bible story books. I think there were 12 of them. The collection included the accounts of Noah, Moses, Joseph, David, Samuel. All the Old Testament heroes of faith were there. But I cannot recall ever seeing a book on the woman who has become my favorite Old Testament giant of faith: Rahab the harlot. The NIV offers the possibility that Rahab may have been an innkeeper rather than a prostitute in the footnotes, but the King James Version is blunt, to the point, and offers no alternative. Regardless of the descriptor, God did not allow Rahab’s sin history to keep her from a redeemed future.
- God knew exactly the kind of “innkeeper” Rahab was and He chose to offer her love.
- Rahab knew exactly who she was and she chose to believe He loved her enough to save her.
Her choice to trust God protected her family, altered the face of the Israelite Nation, and directly touches your life today. Still, though her influence is far reaching, after Joshua 6, we don’t find the name Rahab in the Old Testament again. But Girlfriend, don’t think for a moment that Rahab doesn’t cross the Covenant line. She not only crosses it, she comes over with a roar!
Even though the author of my beloved children’s books might not have been able to find an appropriate way to celebrate her among the heroes of faith, the Author of our faith did. He made certain that the Apostle Paul listed her right after Moses and before Gideon, Samuel, and David in the “Hall of Faith,” Hebrews 11. She’s not only commended as one who believed and was saved, she is also included in the Book of James as one who was counted righteous because she acted on her faith. So Rahab stretches from the Old to the New Testament as an example of God’s saving grace and a life of faith throughout the generations. Now what of the inheritance kept in heaven for us that will never spoil, perish or fade that I mentioned earlier? What proof do we have of that? Well, I believe that the answer to that is found in the very first chapter of the New Testament. Matthew begins his account with the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Messiah and tucked quietly in at verse 1:5 we find Rahab. Rahab, fully redeemed, fully grafted into the vine of the chosen of God, completed the family tree that bore the Messiah. Rahab was the great-great- . . . . .grandmother of Jesus Christ.
Now that might be something you have considered, but have you ever let your mind go to the next step, to the beyond what we can conceive or imagine? Think about this. Rahab would have departed this planet long before the Messiah was born. She would’ve learned who The Branch in her family tree was straight from the mouth of God. What would she have done as she heard the Father say, “Rahab, I am sending the Messiah. He will be the Light of the world. He will redeem the generations and bring my children home. And Rahab . . the One who is Redemption will be your great-great…grandson.” Beloved, try to stand in Rahab’s shoes as the words washed over her heart. Do you think her eyes drew open wide as her mind tried to comprehend it? Did her hand cover her mouth as it fell open and the truth of it settled on her soul? Did she begin to weep as understanding dawned in her heart? I don’t know how or if she remained upright, but I hope I get the chance to ask her someday. And I hope I get the chance to thank her and let her know how much it has meant to me to have someone “like her” walk before someone “like me.”
Rahab the harlot, who lived long before me, is how I know that God loves me regardless of my sin history. Rahab the called, who chose to trust God to preserve her life, is how I know He works for the good of those who love Him. Rahab, the redeemed, who had no idea what awaited her in Glory is how I know that my mind cannot conceive the goodness.
So, there it is. God being God. He who was, He who is, and He who is to come. He is faithful to Himself. All of those words, all of that verbosity,–more than a paragraph past the end of the comment column– just to come full circle and find that our God does not change.