PART 1-HEROINES OF THE BIBLE
United States Army Private First-Class Desmond Doss was a medic during WW2. His life and heroics are featured in the Oscar-winning film, HACKSAW RIDGE.
Doss grew up in Lynchburg, VA. He was a 7th Day Adventist, which meant that he was a pacifist. His beliefs & his job as a defense industry worker provided him with a draft exemption.
Still, Doss wanted to serve his country, so he enlisted in the Army Medical Corps as a non-combatant.
In late 1945, Doss’ battalion was called upon to fight near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa. The battle would be the last and the biggest battle in the Pacific.
About a week into the fighting, Doss was the only medic left to advance with his battalion. They were close to taking the ridge from their enemy.
Even though it was on his Sabbath Day, Doss joined his men just as the Japanese concentrated massive artillery and other heavy fire upon them. The assault left many dead and many others injured.
The remaining American troops were driven back down the ridge. Except for Doss. He remained with the wounded. Over the span of several hours, Doss treated the injured and, one by one, dragged them to the edge of the cliff and lowered them to safety in a rope sling.
After each successful rescue, Doss repeatedly prayed, “Dear God, let me get just one more man.” By nightfall, Doss had saved 75 soldiers.
Doss himself would be severely wounded in subsequent battles. He returned to the States for surgery, and, after his recovery, he went to Washington D.C. where President Harry Truman placed the Medal of Honor around his neck. Doss also received the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
Private First Class Desmond Doss was an unlikely hero.
Sometimes heroes are the most unlikely of heroes. Today’s heroine would fit that description. If you were to list off heroes in the Bible, her name would not quickly come to mind, if it did at all.
Her heroics might go unnoticed by us, but they are not omitted in the Bible. Her story is found in Joshua chapter 2.
Joshua was about to lead the Israelites into the land of Canaan to conquer the land that God had promised would be theirs for the taking. The first city they came to was Jericho.
Joshua sent 2 spies into the city on a reconnaissance mission. And while there they are aided by a woman by the name of Rahab.
Rahab was the unlikeliest of Biblical heroes because of her religious beliefs and her profession. Her profession is where we will begin:
When Joshua sent the spies into Jericho, they stayed at the house of Rahab. Some have suggested that Rahab used her house as an inn for travelers to stay on their journeys.
But Rahab also used her house for a second business. Rahab’s house was in the Red Light District of Jericho. Rahab’s profession has been called the “world’s oldest profession. Rahab was “a lady of the evening” and her house was a house of ill-repute.
Many believe that Rahab’s house was a brothel, and she was the Madam.
Rahab will forever be known as Rahab the prostitute. It seems like we can’t ever say her name without mentioning her profession. It seems that it is a stigma that she never got rid of. Like Hester Prynne, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, Rahab wears her own Scarlett Letter in the annuals of history.
Even the Bible doesn’t play it down. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The Bible highlights the fact that Rahab was a prostitute. 8 times her name appears in different sections of Scripture, and on 5 of those occasions she is known as Rahab the prostitute.
Why would God do that? To embarrass Rahab? To shame her? No. God doesn’t do that. God is making a point as we shall see more fully in my last point. But, for the moment, let me say this:
Rahab’s past was a part of her testimony. Her story is rated R for redemption. God gave her grace. Let’s continue on with Rahab’s story:
READ JOSHUA 2:2-7
Here we read of……
2.RAHAB’S PROTECTION OF THE ISRAELITE SPIES
As we read of Rahab protecting the spies, we live with the tension between her lying to the King’s soldiers and her protection of the spies. Several explanations have been offered to excuse Rahab’s lie:
How ever you may want to debate it, we simply must live with this tension that Rahab did something wrong and she did something right at the same time. She lied and she protected the spies. No justification need be given for her lie.
Rahab is a holy hero because she hid the spies and protected them at the risk of her own life. This tells me that God can use anyone, imperfect as they are, for his purposes. And he often does.
When you stop and think about it, most all of the heroes we read about in the Bible were unlikely ones. All of them had their failures:
All the Bible heroes wore halos that were bent. They are as infamous for their failures as they are famous for their accomplishments.
Maybe you think that your past disqualifies you from serving God. You think that your past is too checkered. If you think so, look to Rahab and think again. Her life illustrates that God is the God of new beginnings, second chances, and fresh starts. Finally, let’s look at……
3.RAHAB’S PROFESSION OF FAITH IN GOD
Rahab was a Canaanite. Canaanites practiced pagan idol worship. In all likelihood, Rahab worshipped many gods. In fact, her name came from the Egyptian god Ra.
The Canannites had no respect whatsoever for human life and no reverence for Jehovah God. But, in spite of her culture, Rahab became a woman of faith in Jehovah God.
Rahab had heard of God’s mighty power, and she came to believe in the Lord God of Israel. She professed her faith to the 2 Israelite spies-“for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
Rahab found God, or better worded, God found Rahab. He spotted Rahab’s tender heart in this hard-hearted city, and he reached out to save her. And save her he did.
How do we know that the Lord saved her? Because Rahab is listed among the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 who will be in heaven. Right there among the list of Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses is her name:
“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” -Hebrews 11:31
Though some would place Rahab in the Sin Hall of Shame, God admits her into his Faith Hall of Fame. She has a plaque there alongside the plaques of the other greats of the faith. God honors her without an asterisk, footnote, or apology.
Rahab’s profession of faith mattered more than her profession as a prostitute. Now, should we be moral people? Absolutely! But our morality doesn’t save us. Paul makes that clear in Romans 3:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:10 & 23
Dr. Jack Cottrell wrote a book on the Book of Romans called, “Being Good Enough isn’t Good Enough.” None of us are good enough for heaven and we never will be. We have zero chance of getting into heaven based upon our morality.
Jesus told the religious leaders of his day that the tax collectors and the prostitutes were entering the kingdom of God ahead of them. Why? Because the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed the message of John the Baptist and the religious leaders did not.
It is our faith that saves us. And Rahab had faith.
What is Rahab’s testimony? That grace is available for everybody, and that God can forgive anybody.
To the woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “neither do I condemn you.”
To the Woman at the Well, who had been divorced 5 times and was living with a man outside of marriage; Jesus offered her the Living Water of salvation.
God can save you no matter what you have done. You may think you’ve sinned too much, stumbled too often, or floundered for too long. But God has one word of reply to your doubt: RAHAB.
God not only saved Rahab’s soul, he spared her life when the Israelites invaded Jericho.
As Rahab was sending the spies on their way, she pleaded for her life and the life of her family. The spies told her to tie a scarlet cord in the window of her home. The scarlet cord in the window would be a signal to the Israelites when they entered the city that the inhabitants of that home should not be harmed. And they were delivered from death:
Initially, when Joshua sent the spies into Jericho, they thought that they were on a recon mission. But God didn’t need their scouting report for the Israelites to conquer the city. God collapsed the walls of Jericho like they were a set of Dominos.
Ultimately, the spies were not sent on an intelligence gathering mission. They were on a different mission. They were on a rescue mission. The spies were missionaries. They were sent into Jericho to save Rahab.
God spared Rahab’s life. He had a purpose for her life.
Has anyone ever researched your ancestry? I have done a little of it myself. Sometimes you find a few surprises when you research your genealogy, don’t you?
I love the Ancestry.com commercial where Kyle thought he was of German descent. But as he researched his genealogy on Ancestry.com, he was surprised that he wasn’t finding any German people in his family tree.
So, he decided to have his DNA tested through Ancestry DNA. The big surprise was that he wasn’t German at all. 52% of his DNA came from Scotland and Ireland. So, Kyle said that he traded in his Lederhosen for a Kilt.
There is a huge surprise when you research Jesus’ ancestry. It’s the fact that Rahab is in Jesus’ family tree!
After Rahab and her family were spared by Joshua, Rahab married an Israelite. They had a son by the name of Boaz. Rahab would end up having a great-great- grandson named King David and a descendant by the name of Jesus Christ.
We read of this in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:5:
“Salmon, the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.” – Matthew 1:5
God preserved Rahab’s life to preserve the family lineage of Jesus.
Imagine that? A prostitute in Jesus’ family tree! This just tells us that God’s story is a story of redemption for all people. God will save anyone and everyone who will come to him.
Rahab’s story is our story, isn’t it? Rahab sold her body. But we’ve all sold out to some sin, haven’t we? And yet God offers us grace. And when we receive it through faith, we are saved. In his book, Glory Days, Max Lucado wrote:
“We don’t drop scarlet cords from our windows. But we trust the crimson thread of Christ’s blood. We don’t prepare for the coming of the Hebrews, but we do live with an eye toward the second coming of our Joshua, Jesus Christ.”
And one day, when we’re all in heaven, who knows but that you or I may be standing next to Rahab as we join the heavenly chorus and sing-“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”
Right now, we’re going to sing the song, Room At The Cross For You. There was room at the cross of Jesus Christ for me. There’s room at the cross for you if you’ll receive Jesus by faith and trust in his blood to cleanse you of your sins.
While we sing this song, if you want to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and be baptized, come forward and meet me down front. If you want to place your membership and join our church family, please come as well.
Lebanon Christian Church
409 Yorktown Road
Newport News (Lee Hall), VA 23603
Phone: 757 887-5536
Nursery - High School
|Adult Bible Fellowships||Sunday||9:30 AM|
|Morning Worship Service||Sunday||10:45 AM|
Children’s and teen Bible School will resume in September.