On My Mind...

We live in uncertain times.  We are reminded daily that our world is fragile.  Things can change rapidly with far-reaching and lingering consequences.  Witness the attack on Israel by Iran over the weekend.  It will be a while before we know the consequences, but the possibilities are frightening.  Add to the political volatility the moral confusion so evident all around us, our increasingly secular culture and “unstable” seems to be the only true description of our world.

As the people of God, we are called to be salt and light in this world.  Our lives are to impact the culture for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor.  That seems an impossible assignment.  How can we have any real impact on such a culture.  Our worldview is marginalized.  Our ancient faith is dismissed as irrelevant.  What impact can we possibly have?

The writer of Hebrews was seeking to encourage some struggling believers by giving them examples of those who had gone before.  Those who overcame overwhelming odds by the grace of God.  Men and women of genuine faith.  You are familiar with Hebrews 11, “The Hall of Faith.”  I want us to consider two examples we find near the end of that great chapter.  One is an example of faith overcoming by unusual means the other is the faith of an unlikely person.  

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies (11:30-31).  These verses remind us that biblical faith accomplishes remarkable things through unlikely people and by unlikely means.  Israel had wandered around the desert for 40 years.  Now they were on the verge of entering the Land of Promise and that would mean war.  First up, the walled city of Jericho.  Talk about overwhelming odds!  But Israel was not alone.  They were commanded not by Joshua but by the Holy One.  To prove that to the world and to Israel, they were given a “foolish” assignment.  They were to walk around the city once a day for six days.  Then on the seventh day they were to walk around the city seven times then shout and the walls would come down.  Well, that seems to be a logical plan.  But they obeyed.  The whole time they must have been thinking, “Boy, I feel stupid.  This isn’t doing a thing, and they are laughing at us!”  Yet, on the seventh day, following the shout, the walls fell flat, proving, the battle is the LORD’s.

I’m not surprised reading through Hebrews 11 to find, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Moses.  But Rahab?  A prostitute?  In the Hall of Faith?  She hardly seems Hall of Faith material.  A prostitute, a gentile, a Canaanite what’s going on here?  But read Joshua 2:8-14 and you will find she’s pretty remarkable.  She confessed the might of God, His majesty and His mercy.  She risked her life, her family, everything for the people of God.  Not only is her life spared, we find her listed in the genealogy of our Savior in Matthew.  Our God uses the most unlikely people to accomplish His purposes.
When the odds seem overwhelming, we just need to remember, the battle is the LORD’s.  Our job is to obey and leave the results to the One who does remarkable things through unlikely people by unlikely means.  Sometimes, all we need to know is, if God be for us, who can possibly stand against us?

Have a blessed week, and I will see you Sunday!