by Reba Mingledorff
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Rahab lately. She is certainly not the most famous Biblical heroine, but the brief lines of her story are packed full of powerful lessons all the same. In the book of Joshua, the very first mention of her name is in a negative context and it is clear that her sins define her. She was not born an Israelite and her profession was degrading even by her neighbors’ standards. We are all familiar with the story of how she took the spies into her home and hid them from the king’s scouts. One thing that peaked my interest though, was the fact that when she hid the spies on her rooftop, the Bible says that there were stalks of flax. In my study, I found that these dried out stalks of flax were used to make linen and clothing. This suggests that Rahab, the harlot, once held an honorable occupation or at least had an honorable skill set that could have been used. It makes you wonder what caused her to turn down a shameful road.
Regardless of the situation that caused her to choose a less reputable way, as reports of the Israelites’ victories began to trickle into Jericho, she must have felt a holy fear. This caused her to full heartedly throw herself upon the mercy of the God of the Israelites. Her absolute faith is truly remarkable. Rahab had only heard of the greatness of the Lord, but she fully believed in her heart that He was the One True God and then confessed it openly to the spies she was hiding. (Joshua 2:11) She must have known that as a Canaanite woman of ill repute, a double whammy so to speak, there was nothing she could offer this holy God, but a heart full of belief. To me, this shows Rahab had a more genuine faith in God than some of the Israelites did. How many times do we read of them disbelieving after witnessing miracles and questioning Moses even when he gave them the word of the Lord?
We all know the way Rahab’s story plays out in the end. She pleads for the lives of her family members, distracts the king’s guards, hangs a scarlet cord out the window and finally, gathers her family together as the city falls. Once Jericho was taken, the Bible tells us that Joshua spared Rahab and her family, but my imagination always goes beyond that. I wonder if Rahab ever reflected on her past as she adapted to her new culture. Can you imagine how she must have felt on the first Day of Atonement that she witnessed? Were there memories that brought her guilt and shame? Did she live in a constant mindset of being unworthy?
We can only speculate about her emotions because the Bible does not give us those intimate details, but there are clues scattered through the Scriptures that give us a glimpse into her future. Joshua 6:25 tells us that Rahab lived in Israel “even until this day”. Matthew 1:5 tells us that Rahab married a man named Salmon, who was from the tribe of Judah. Her descendants included Boaz, the mighty King David and ultimately, Jesus Christ Himself.
Not only was Rahab saved from destruction, brought out of her shameful situation, and incorporated into God’s chosen people; she was also placed in the lineage of the Saviour! What a picture of restoration!
I trust that you have already accepted the Lord as your Saviour, but have you allowed Him to fully restore you as well? Is there a nagging voice of doubt that brings up your unworthiness? Are past failures linked like chains around you? Does the guilt of past sin keep you from living in the fullness of His joy?
Let me remind you that God’s forgiveness is complete and all encompassing. Because we are living past the events of Calvary, we (Gentiles) have been grafted into the family of God just as Rahab was grafted into the tribe of Judah.
However, unlike Rahab, we can experience that day of atonement any day of the year and the blood that was shed for us was far greater than any sacrificial animal.
The power in the blood of Jesus will not only forgive our sins, but it will cleanse and regenerate our hearts and minds as well. I’ve made Psalms 51:10 a prayer for the Lord to “create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me” because there have been times when I found myself dwelling on past failures. None of us are righteous or worthy of God’s grace because of our own merit, which is why anytime we compare ourselves to His glory we fall so short. But, if you have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, then His righteousness has been imparted to you. You have been set free from sin and the chains that tied them to your soul. Micah 7:19 tells us that He has cast our sins into the depths of the seas.
So if God has cast your sins into the “sea of forgetfulness” so to speak, why do you keep fishing there?
I encourage you to look up! Romans 8:1 is clear: “There is therefore now NO condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” You see, the blood of Jesus not only redeems us, but it also RESTORES us! Don’t let guilt and shame over your past prevent you from reaching your potential right now, in the present. Like Rahab, fully cast yourself into the hands of the One who can restore your heart and mind.
The next time your past sins come to mind, instead of dropping your head, lift your hands. Thank the Lord for His saving power; Thank Him for His redeeming blood; and, Thank Him for restoration