(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Why Imperfect People Can Be In God’s Family
By Selma Komisky
“…for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
– Joshua 2:11 NIV
Something imperfect means the opposite of perfect.
Did you know Rahab was selected to be in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 amongst elite spiritual heavy hitters like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Sarah, etc.?
I actually like that God included weak, imperfect people on his list. What they had in common was they trusted God. Imagine: Rahab the prostitute in God’s lineage––but she’s not the only sinner. The Bible says Noah was drunk (Genesis 9:21), Moses was a murderer (Exodus 2:11-15), and David was an adulterer (2 Samuel 11). Talk about an oxymoron! The godly and ungodly. I think God wanted to show us a visual of their humanity and flaws (Romans 3:23). But wait a minute, Rahab and these others were transformed by the grace of God––you’ll see.
If you like Ethan Hunt and spy films, you’re going to like this story. You can find this portion in the book of Joshua, chapter one. It opens with a solemn statement that Israel’s great leader, Moses, had died, and after a time of mourning, God supernaturally spoke to Moses’ assistant, Joshua, to continue to lead the people across the Jordan into the Promised land of Canaan. He then selects two brave secret agents to venture out on this special mission for God. They received their orders to investigate any strengths or weaknesses this mysterious foreign land had before invading it. Cue the Mission Impossible theme song right now, please.
Moving forward, we see the two spies accept the challenge and enter the house of a prostitute named Rahab (the female heroine counterpart). Isn’t it ironic that he would hide out undercover in the house of a prostitute named Rahab? No God-fearing Jew would be caught dead in an establishment of a sinner.
Somehow, someone identified these spies. Maybe they had different accent or different clothes, but someone reported them to the King of Jericho. Instantly, the king sends out his military espionage to take out and arrest these intruders. But as this story continues, we see how God’s direction and plan unfolds.
So, Rahab puts her own life on the line for these men. She made the choice of faith in the face of fear and deliberately led the King’s men astray, thereby providing protection for the spies. She had actually taken these men up to her rooftop and hid them beneath bundles of flax (aka straw material). In Joshua 2:8, Rahab went to talk to the spies and fill them in on some top-secret stuff. She asks to be spared and for them to have mercy on her and her family in return for her act of kindness. Because Rahab believed; all things became new.
But God revealed Himself to Rahab and gave her spiritual insight in verse 11, where she professed her faith to God. And when the time was right, she helped the spies escape out a window and down a scarlet rope to theirs, and her own, freedom.
So, let’s talk about Rahab’s story––how we can take 5 practical points and make them relative in our lives.
1. Matthew 7:1 (NIV) says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
Like the Pharisees of the day who would grumble and complain about Jesus, we are very critical of people in general. We become judgmental and box them in into categories of how we view them. We do this because maybe we’re just afraid. But he chose to make us all diverse, and we would be wise to learn how to embrace that in Christ’s love instead of fearing it.
2. Luke 15:1-2 (NIV) says “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”
Jesus loves everyone and has no favorites. Yes, he was a friend of sinners, but let’s put this in the right context. Jesus is sinless. He never partook in sinfulness. He sought out the lost and was glad to be present with sinners who embraced the good news of His gospel. Jesus embraced anyone who repented and believed in Him, but Jesus never condoned sin.
3. 1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV) says “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
We all can learn from Rahab’s story. God can take a shameful past and transform, forgive, and make you into a new person for His kingdom. Our identity does not have to carry labels from our past. Our identity can be in Christ. He is the only one that makes us shine.
4. James 2:26 (NLT) says “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”
Instead of ignoring the spies’ need for help, Rahab had faith to move beyond her current situation. Instead of letting fear paralyze her, she chose faith for her situation. Therefore, these actions ignited her faith in God.
5. 1 Corinthians 15:10 (MSG) says, “but because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am.”
This story is a beautiful picture of God’s grace. We all are sinners and God, by His grace and mercy, pursues us and changes our lives for good. Rahab’s faith in God engrafted her in into a new family. She and her husband Salmon became the parents of a boy named Boaz. And Boaz would one day marry a widow named Ruth. Rahab would later become the great-great-grandma of King David. And, from the line of Rahab came the Messiah, the Savior of the world Jesus Christ. God’s grace is truly generous.
Overall, we see that God isn’t seeking perfect people. Instead, He embraces people who are simply humble and willing. All we have to do is trust Him, and He does the rest as seen through a former prostitute named Rahab.