Introduction: Begin with a meaningful personal illustration of God’s mercy over your life.
When you understand God’s mercy:
- Anxiety will decrease and peace of mind will increase
- Stress will decrease and stability will increase
- Frustrations in Life will decrease and satisfaction in life will increase
In Today’s topic, we will look at Joshua 2 and the life of a lady – a mother in the Bible called Rahab. Rahab had many strikes against her and not much hope for a fulfilled future. She probably had very little to look forward to.
God’s mercy would however transform her bleak future!
I will share 4 thoughts on how this happened. Maybe today is your day for this revelation to become true?
1) God’s mercy gave hope for her future
The background to the story shows that God’s people were about to start their journey into what was called The Promised Land. Ahead of them lay a well fortified enemy city named Jericho and Rahab lived there.
Joshua 2:1 – “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”.
Rahab didn’t know the living God and she was connected to a life of prostitution. She would have faced much disrespect, insults and humiliation. She would also have very limited opportunities as a woman in that culture.
Her journey changed dramatically however when she met the 2 spies from Israel. She received new courage as a result because she took a great risk thereafter to protect them. She was learning to trust the Jehovah God that the spies believed in. She made this powerful confession to the 2 spies.
Joshua 2:10-11 – “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”.
Rahab had now begun to trust God and placed herself under His mercy. Through God’s mercy, a new hope grew within her for her future even though a dangerous battle was ahead.
2) God’s mercy transformed her present
Rahab was now willing to obey God unreservedly. God in His mercy would bring protection for her and her family in the battle that was ahead. The current circumstances would be transformed. Let’s look at the request she made from the spies
Joshua 2:12 – “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
The sign they gave was the red cord she had to tie on her window. Rahab was willing to obey and she obeyed.
Joshua 2:21 – “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.
The information she shared with the spies would also transform the battlefield. They realized that Jericho was not as intimidating as they had expected. The people of Jericho were already in defeat psychologically!
“Jericho was intimidating on the outside but shaking in fear on the inside”
Joshua 2:9 – and (she) 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.
3) God’s mercy brought her God’s favor
Like Rahab, God wants to give His favor to you too.
Not only Rahab, but her entire family was also protected during the battle that followed because of her obedience and faith. Similarly, God’s mercy can flow through you to impact your family as well.
God’s mercy thereafter brought her acceptance among the people of Israel and she was warmly welcomed into their community.
Joshua 6:25 – “But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day”.
She would later meet her future husband there. This would be another life transforming moment.
4) Mercy transformed her future prophetically
Rahab, who had a past life of prostitution, was now a recipient of God’s mercy in full. Through her genealogy would first be born King David; and then, the Son of God, Jesus Christ! This is what the Gospel of Matthew says in recording the genealogy of Jesus
Matthew 1:5-6a – Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
A wise man said, “God does not honor you because of your profession. He honors you because of your faith in Him and His mercy”
We also find that in Hebrews 11, the chapter that lists the heroes of the Bible, Rahab’s name is mentioned once again. (James also highlights her courage in his well-loved epistle.)
Hebrews 11:31 – By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
The NIV Life Application Bible makes these comments:
“God often uses people with simple faith to accomplish His great purposes, no matter what kind of past they have had or how insignificant they seem to be”.
Like Rahab, God’s mercy can transform your future too! Trust Him and move forward in faith. God bless.
click here to read an inspiring sermon about another Biblical hero.
How has God’s mercy transformed your life? Your comments are most welcome.
You can listen to a 2-minute podcast about God’s greatness here.