“And (Rahab) said to the men, I know that the Lord has given you the land….”
Joshua 2: 9
“This God I Know”
“Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
Carrie ten Boom
Can I say, “I know my God?”
“The life of the individual only has meaning insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful. Life is sacred, that is to say, it is the supreme value to which all other values are subordinate.”
“Forth in Thy name, O Lord, I go,
My daily labor to pursue;
Thee, only Thee, resolved to know,
In all I think, or speak, or do.”
I love to hear from Shari, my college roommate. She has lived in Canada for over 20 years and so distance has kept us apart way too often. But oh, how we have burned up the phone lines ever since we were two naïve 17-year-olds, beginning nurse’s training in San Francisco, far away from home, family and friends. Maybe the fact that we both spent a long, hot summer in school together bonded our friendship like Super-Glue.
Shari is one of those individuals in my life whom I can say, “I know.” With certainty I can tell you she has a heart of gold. There’s not a mean bone in her body. She’d give anyone in need the shirt off her back and the shoes off her feet. She’d be the first to defend you and the last to hurt you. I know Shari – and with total assurance I can tell you that the way I have described her is absolutely true because I have a complete knowledge of my familiar friend. Time spent together has given me the discerning eye to comprehend the beauty that is my lifelong friend.
Please note the words above which I have underlined: assurance, knowledge, discerning, comprehend, and above all familiar friend.
I underscore these words because they are words that expand on the Hebrew definition of the word, “know,” used by Rahab as she described the God of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Jochebed and Miriam – all daughters of the Creator of the Universe.
In Joshua 2: 9, we find one of the most definitive statements of belief recorded in Scripture and what’s so fantastic is that these words came out of the mouth of a Canaanite harlot: “I know that the Lord has given you the land.” But this wasn’t all Rahab knew. Several verses later, in Joshua 2: 11, Rahab continues defining the God she knows: “For the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”
When we met Rahab, there was no record she ever had been introduced to the God of Israel. She wasn’t part of the “in crowd.” She was what the Israelites called a “heathen.”
But, as Rahab conveyed to the spies, “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when you came out of Egypt.” This word “heard” isn’t just about some silly piece of information that went in one of Rahab’s ears and flew out the other. When Rahab “heard,” she carefully considered. She listened. She understood. But what’s more, she “discerned” or “recognized” that God was someone she should respect. The bottom line is that Rahab chose to watch and listen.
As the word “discern” means, she “disassembled” all the parts. Rahab watched as God began to take what at first looked like a disassembled group of ragamuffins, and work with them and then He led them – through a river, across a desert, and into battle. As this daughter of God watched with a discerning eye and heart, she began to see the pieces fitting together, one after another, linked piece by piece. To the point that one day, when two Israelite spies entered her door, she looked at them and with complete confidence said, “I know your God.”
I’ve heard people say, “Why would God choose to use a harlot?” It’s no surprise to me at all! Wouldn’t you go to the house of a familiar friend? Wouldn’t you go to the welcoming home of someone you assuredly “knew?” This is why on a heaven sent spy mission, God sent two Israelite spies to the house of Rahab the harlot. God sent them to the home of His daughter who knew who her Father really was and what He was really like.
“The great danger facing all of us is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, not that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel that life has no meaning at all – not these things. The danger is that we may fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to tender the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God – and be content to have it so – that is the danger: that some day we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with husks and trappings of life and have really missed life itself. For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared – satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father.”
“Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus Christ our Lord.”