A LIGHTHOUSE ON THE DUMP

And the city shall be cursed, even it, and all that therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house: because she hid the messengers that we sent.
Joshua 6:17.
1. Treasures in a Stained Vessel
Do roses grow on dump sites? Can messiahs proceed from notorious Nazareth? Can the discarded jawbone of a dead donkey become the salvaging weapon of mass destruction in the hand of a strong man?


Rahab was a harlot; even the Holy Bible named her by that appalling trade, but she was a good person at heart, and very hospitable, too. She had probably been forced into the sex trade by the troubles of life. She hid the men that came her way and, against her own government, would not deliver them to harm. She was not a killer, like some of her kind. Every harlot is not a devil. Some are great souls sadly stained for a fleeting while by the constraints of a hard existence.
After divine mercy had relocated her from accursed Jericho into covenant Israel, she married a wise noble man of Judah called Salmon, and gave birth to a noble son called Boaz, who became the husband of faithful Ruth, the woman from Moab. The roots of King David, King Solomon, and Jesus the King of kings are traced through that apparently reprehensible lineage (Ruth 4:17-22; Matthew 1:4-7, 15-16). So, Rahab carried royalty in her womb. The sex trade had merely been a moment’s stain. When mercy washed the stains away, it revealed the treasure in her soul, opening a path to her marvelous future.
2. A Future Bought with a Hospitable Past
In Joshua 6:17, Israel’s commander is heard announcing that Rahab had bought her future with a past in which she had done a kind deed to strategic strangers. Had she not shown that kindness, she would have lost a great future, never even knowing what she had missed. Those men of Israel had come her way not really as spies; they carried her destiny. They were her bridge between harlot Jericho and holy Israel, between the brothel and the temple, between her past and her future, between darkness and light.
We never know how far a good deed can go. Every good deed is an investment that someday will yield a blessing. Keep sowing (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6). Even when there may be nothing to give because life has taken everything away except your very honour, there will still be kindness to give. Kindness is one gift that nobody is too rich to refuse.
3. Saved in a Harlot’s House
Joshua announced that death was coming to everyone in Jericho, except those that would be found in the harlot’s house. Holy folks might have wondered what blessed refuge might be found for saints in a harlot’s room. God’s ways are a mystery. The rest of Rahab’s unspoilt household was going to be saved by relocating from their decent homes into her soiled brothel; they were going to be saved by humbly presenting themselves in a particular place at a particular time.
Where time finds a person sometimes defines their destiny. Had those purer relations of Rahab been anywhere else than in her cramped and erstwhile unblessed room when Jericho fell, they would have died; killed not by the sword of the enemy but by proudly missing a divinely righted place which used to be wrong.
O God, direct my feet in Thy path. Deliver me from seemingly secured cities mysteriously marked for destruction by the finger of prophecy. Amen.
4. Saved by a Harlot Sister
Rahab was a harlot, but her family’s future lay in connection to those ‘mistakes’ of her earlier days. They might in the past have sneered at her unsocial ways; they might have mocked the ‘nothing’ that she often had to offer when respectable others brought their silver and gold to the family coffers. At last, she had much more to give than they all: their desperate preservation. She was the rejected stone that had become the crucial corner stone.
Look beyond Rahab’s stains. You might see a great soul awaiting the crucial encounter with messengers from God, to guide her from the brothels of Jericho into the palace of Israel, from an abused present into a royal future. Jealous Jericho had schemed to spoil the royal seeds in Rahab’s womb and waste her before her day would come, but then came those messengers from God, and she would not waste another chance. She grabbed it with hands and legs and promptly signed with them the covenant of the scarlet thread signalling her break from the scarlet trade. God still makes queen mothers out of Rahabs who won’t waste a timeless encounter.
God sees great treasures sometimes where earthly eyes would never guess; sweet roses blooming on soiled soils despised pious eyes. Jesus found one such woman by a well in Samaria. His disciples despised her as a mongrel Samaritan. They did not know that that woman held the key to her city, a key that even the men of her city respected. May God find you. May you find see what He sees. Amen.
From The Preacher’s diary,
May 7, 2015.
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