For the past few months at church I’ve been going through a series with my youth group called Ancestors.
It’s a collection of School House Rock-esque cartoons that tell the stories of many of the characters found in the Old Testament.
I’m usually not a fan of prepackaged curriculum since most of it is shallow, lame, and cheesy. This series, however, has been surprisingly “meaty”. And it comes with a bit of snark on the side, so I’m a fan.
This past Sunday we watched a clip about Rahab. She’s a footnote in the story of the people of God, but a fascinating one nonetheless.
Rahab was a hooker.
We meet Rahab when two Israelite spies who have come to Jericho to check out its defenses, mysteriously find themselves in the company of this Biblical madam. And by mysterious, I mean I’m pretty sure the spies were engaging in some, um, “extracurricular activities”on their mission.
To make a long story short, Rahab ends up striking a deal with the spies. She will save their lives if, in return, they will spare hers when the Israelities show up to conquer Jericho.
While the story of Rahab and the spies has all the makings of a Hollywood movie, what I find particularly fascinating is the fact that a hooker plays such a critical role in the story of the people of God. Being the Bible, we might expect the spies to find aid in a devote holy man or a dear old grandmother who has worshiped God her entire life.
Instead, we get a hooker.
What’s more, the Bible doesn’t shy away from Rahab’s occupation, which should tell us something. When God begins to work in our lives, God doesn’t care who we are or what we do. God only cares that we are willing to be used by God for the kingdom.
But not only that, and I think this may be the best part, God doesn’t wait for us to get our lives together before God chooses to work through us. God doesn’t wait for us to become saints before God deems of worthy of being God’s hands and feet in the world.
This should be simaltaneously empowering and convicting.
Empowering, in that regardless of our place in life, whether we are a successful business man or a lowly prostitute, a devote missionary or a riddled by doubt nobody, God is ready to use us to accomplish incredible things.
Convicting, in that most of us don’t find ourselves in such a difficult spot as Rahab, yet we constantly make excuses as to why we aren’t good enough or capable of doing the great things God has called each of us to do.
But if we could manage to find the courage and faith of this prostitute, the ripple effects of our willingness to allow God to work through us are unimaginable.
You see, this lowly, outcast prostitute had children, then grandchildren, then great-grandchildren, then great-great-grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren later, Rahab’s offspring gave birth to the Son of God.
Jesus’ great-great-great-great-great-great-too many to count-great-grandmother was a hooker.
In other words, without this hooker, there is no Jesus and through this hooker, salvation was extended to all of creation.
Now, you may want to argue that God could have simply used somebody else, but you would be missing the point. It’s the very fact that God chooses to use this hooker that makes all the difference.
What is so amazing about this story is what it teaches us about the grace of God. God doesn’t need perfect people to accomplish God’s plans. God seeks us out where we are and uses us in spite of our countless imperfections. In fact, if the Bible teaches us anything, it’s that God seems to prefer using people who are anything but saintly.
Now, we must remember that God doesn’t want us to stay where we are. Rahab doesn’t stay in Jericho. God meets us where we are so that God can take us somewhere better.
But if we can humble ourselves enough to learn something from the faith of hooker, and begin to see ourselves as God sees us, as clay ready to be molded, then there is no telling what incredible things God will accomplish through our lives.
Grace and peace,