Joshua 2:1-24 (Part 1) – God, You Could Do Soooo Much Better Than Me!

Posted: May 18, 2017 in Book fo Joshua
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Joshua 2:1-24 (Part 1 of 3)

Rahab Protects the Spies

Have you ever wondered why God uses people that have a checkered past? I wonder sometimes now as I wait and am looking around for what God has in store for me next why he would choose me for anything ministerial ever how remote or insignificant it might be. Just choosing me to do anything for the Lord seems odd. There are so many things wrong with me it seems like anyone else would be a better choice even among folks like me who have a checkered past. Let’s just review some of the things about me that just seem to make me a bad choice.

 

First, I have been divorced not once but twice. Some more established churches would not give me or anyone like me a second glance. According to their interpretation of 1 Timothy 3, the fact that I have had more than one wife precludes me from being an elder in the church. When I look at many of the powerful men of God that I have known they have been married to the same woman for 10, 15, 20 years or more. The best I ever did was 12 years to the first wife (the mother of my two daughters), 9 years to the second wife, and now I am in the 7th year of marriage to my current, third, and final wife. I often joke with friends that I have been married now for 28 years (12 + 9 + 7) … just to three different women. How could God want to use me? I am deeply flawed on this point. Not divorced once but twice. Come on, Lord, why would you call me to serve you in the ministry if I have this obvious glaring flaw?

 

Second, I did not accept Christ until I was age 39. I got a late start at this game of being a Christ follower much less being a minister in His church. There are so many younger guys than me that are that have been Christ followers for longer than me even though I am older than they. At almost 55 years old in this modern church world where pastors have the skinny jeans, the modern controlled disheveled haircuts, superfit physiques, the cool clothes, the young wife, with the young kids. I am not that guy. I abused my body for much of my life to the point I am overweight. Can’t wear skinny jeans as a result. I am a child of the 80’s where every hair had to be in place. I don’t and have heartburn over disheveled hair. Just can’t do it. I try. I swear. Just can’t do it. Can’t do disheveled hair (just as much as I cannot eat any “puffy beans” – that’s a blog illustration for another day). I don’t have that look. I haven’t got that pedigree of being a Christ follower, having gone to a Christian college, where I met my Christian wife, married her and have had 3 little preacher’s kid children over the past twenty years of ministry that began write after graduating from seminary which I attended right after college.

 

Third, I do not have that spiritual depth that some pastors have or even non-pastoral Christ followers seem to have. They can quote Scripture because they have memorized it and internalized it. I have a hard time remember the Scripture that was the subject of my last four blogs that occupied 20 something pages of writing. You would think that I would remember line by line of Joshua 1:10-18. However, I seem incapable of committing Scripture to memory. Even if I remember the general tenor of a book of the Bible, the general storyline of a book, or even the general idea of a specific passage or chapter, I cannot quote you Scripture from it. I don’t retain the Bible well. I have to  read and re-read it and even then I remember general concepts and not specific verses. I know pastors who just seem to have the right thing to say and the right Bible verse on the mind when they have conversations. I am not like that. Even if not quoting the Bible, other people I know just seem so much more spiritually in tune than I am. They seem to have a depth of spirituality at a level that I cannot attain no matter how hard I try. I love the Lord don’t get me wrong. I love the Bible. I read it voraciously. I study it. I love it. But it’s like I am not living at the level that they live. My public prayers are difficult and rambling and theirs seem so fluid and on point. After I pray publicly, I wonder if I even was on point. I wonder if it even made sense. I just seem so far from what is needed in a pastor spiritually.

 

Fourth, although I fancy myself as an effective public speaker and I am pretty good in smaller, intimate settings, I am at least at this point not that good at public speaking to larger audiences (say more than 40 people or so). Maybe, it’s because I have not had many opportunities to hone the skill. At LifeSong, I have had maybe only four or five opportunities to speak to the whole church and never have had the opportunity to preach there. My only preaching opportunities have come at my dad’s churches since I became a Christ follower or at churches that allowed me to preach during my semester at seminary where I was taking Biblical Preaching. However, without the practice, I fear speaking to large audiences. I fear not remembering my script so I cling to it. I say “umm” too much. I have a hard time being a LOUD preacher. I may write with great passion but right now getting that out in a way in public that does not seem academic is difficult. I see myself delivering sermons without scripts but right now getting on stage without a script would mortify me. Maybe, it’s because I don’t have time to practice my sermons. Maybe, it’s because I am not a good public speaker and it’s not about the lack of practice. There are so many that are better speakers than me. Why in the world would anyone much less God himself choose me to be a minister?

 

When I read this chapter/passage this morning, I was thinking about how Rahab was a prostitute, not the most stellar person for God to choose, but yet He knew her heart and called her to serve Him in a specific, needed and mighty way:

 

2 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

 

2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”

 

4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

 

8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b] 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

 

12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”

 

14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”

 

15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”

 

17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”

 

21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”

 

So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

 

22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”

 

In this passage, many questions are raised. One of which is why would the spies stop at the house of a prostitute? There are answers. First, it was a good place to gather information and have no questions asked in return. Second, Rahab’s house was in an ideal location for a quick escape because it was built into the city wall (Joshua 2:15). Third, God directed the spies to Rahab’s house because He knew her heart was open to Him and that she would be instrumental in the Israelite victory over Jericho. God often uses people with simple faith to accomplish great purposes – no matter what kind of past they have had or how insignificant they seem to be. Rahab did not allow her past to keep her from the new role that God had for her.

 

I may not be the perfect person to be a pastor. God does not check for pedigrees though. He checks for a heart that is passionate about Him. I may not be what others are. I may have checkered marks on my past history. I may have committed some serious sins over the years. I may be the least person that is qualified to serve the Lord. But I do know that He has blessed me over the years and looked out over me over the years even before I called upon Him as Savior. I do know that the past all was necessary to lead me to the life of thanksgiving that I lead now. I know that God had a purpose in it all. I know that my trials and tribulations in my life are part of my testimony to the power of God. I have made all the wrong moves in life but that too is part of my testimony and part of what makes God so great. He can redeem anything and make it part of the glory of His name. He can make the foulest clean. He can use those who submit to Him, even after lives filled with sinful acts and decisions, to glorify His Name. Reclaiming what was once lost but no is found is a testament to the glory of our Great God. Sure, He could find somebody better than me to do be His servant doing His bidding, but He looks at the heart. He knows that I love Him. I may not do it in ways that are the standard of the Christian life and I may not be the effective leader that I should be but, damn, I just love the Lord and want to do what He calls me to do. He will figure out all the details of how that happens later. I simply must trust that He will take care of the details of how all that happens. Is the story of Rahab, your story? Can you identify? I sure can!

 

Amen and Amen.

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