"By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God."
Hebrews 11: 31
"Just Say No"
"If you cannot hate evil, you cannot love good."
Would I, like Rahab, have been able to stand all alone against what everyone else was choosing to do?
"Lord, give us weak eyes for things which are of no account and clear eyes for all Your truth."
"Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Genesis 3: 5 (K.J.V.)
I'll never forget the first time in my life when someone offered me drugs. I was at a party and when the person I was with handed me the drugs, I felt like all the other people in the room had their eyes on me. My mind was whirling. Everyone was taking something and for a split second, you don't want to be the odd one out. But then I remembered a discussion my dad and I had several years earlier. When I went off to college, as a very young seventeen-year-old, to San Francisco no less, my dad asked me what I'd do if someone offered me drugs.
"I'd refuse," I told him. And that ended our discussion. I was certain of my decision, yet several years later under the pressure of the moment, I found myself hesitating just a little. And while I did not take the drugs, what shocked me the most about myself was at that moment I had to come face-to-face with the reality that under pressure, I didn't like being alone and feeling outside the circle. I felt as though I might falter.
Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been put into a situation where you felt you were standing by yourself?
Ever since the day in Eden when Adam and Eve decided the idea of being as smart as God sounded so appealing that they made a choice to ignore God's instructions, we've been paying the price for having the ability to choose light or darkness, good and evil.
C.S. Lewis made, what I consider to be, one of the most astute observations about the "parasite" we call evil. He said, "The descent to hell is easy, and those who begin by worshipping power soon worship evil."
Honestly, I had to roll this thought around in my small brain for awhile. But I want to look at this viewpoint through the magnifying glass we have been using to study the life of Rahab. She was a prostitute, who some might call evil. But she ended up being named as one of the Bible's heroines of faith. Why is this?
As we have looked at the bricks in our faith foundation, we find that the first brick was believing. Rahab believed God was in charge – He was the Almighty ruler of heaven and earth. Our second brick was receiving. Rahab had the antennas of her life up to receive from God, who beamed the light of His love directly to His child. The third brick was preserving. God plucked His daughter to safety not because of what she did or didn't do but because of Who she was related to. Her Father came to her rescue and saved her.
Now the fourth brick in our faith foundation is the one called refusal. And I ask you, when we are building a foundation of faith in our lives, what exactly is it that I refuse? What is it that you refuse? Do I refuse drugs? Is that the right answer? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I refused the drugs, but there's something much grander going on here. Something so much bigger than my passing on smoking a joint or dropping acid.
Rahab's life and C. S. Lewis' quote illuminate our fourth brick of refusal because they point to where the power really comes from to do what is right in our lives every day.
It's like this. When Rahab believed and received and was preserved – it was because she chose to live in the divine realm of a new kingdom. She wasn't living under the power of Jericho anymore. There had been a power shift in her life – big time! This is exactly what happens to us when our faith is put under the control of the power of the God of heaven and earth. His power becomes our power. As L. Nelson Bell notes, "Power in the Christian life depends upon our connection with the source of power." So if we look at Rahab the harlot, it's as if she unplugged her life from Jericho's power source and plugged herself into Heavenly wattage. And when this happened, as Jonathon Goforth rightly states, "All the resources of the Godhead are at our disposal."
If we look at the "EXPLORATION" question again: "Would I, like Rahab, have been able to stand all alone against what everyone else was choosing to do?" I will tell you that the answer to this question depends on Who we plug into. What "power" do we worship? The God of heaven and earth, as Rahab did? Or the gods of Jericho as everybody else in town chose to do?
The "Power" Rahab chose to attach her life to was the "Power" that gave her the ability to stand alone and refuse to be part of the destruction that fell upon the city of Jericho. It is the same "Power" available to you and me today.
"Take my will and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own!
It shall be Thy royal throne."
Frances Ridley Havergal
"Eternal Light, shine into our hearts,
Eternal Goodness, deliver us from evil,
Eternal Power, be our support,
Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness
that with all our heart and
mind and soul and
strength we may seek Your face
and be brought by Your infinite
mercy to Your holy presence."
Alcuin of York