Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Portraits of Redemption: Rahab

There’s something about Rahab that captures my heart.  It’s the daring, the determination – even her boldness, yet what saddens me is the truth that had I lived in her town, I would have probably disliked her with a righteous indignation befitting that of any decent woman.
Rahab lived in Jericho.  Her house was simply a hole in the wall.  Known as the town prostitute, she had little to live for and nothing to lose when the Israelites stood outside the city walls – ready to destroy them. 
Waves of panic swept through Rahab’s town as the news of the Israelites closing in on Jericho reached them.  War was imminent.  Death was probable. 
I see her sitting at her window.  The room behind her is dark, cramped and cold – much like her heart.  Deep inside, behind the carefully constructed façade, lay a wound that shot pain through her soul with every beat of her heart.  Day after day men wanted her – but only for a moment.  Time after time, they came knocking, used her, then cast her away without so much as a second glance. 
And for that women hated her.
Her world had become a prison in its own right but on this day, Rahab had reached a crossroad.  From anyone’s perspective, safety, security and a chance for life stood outside her door – deep in the heart of the city.  Death was just a stone’s throw outside the window, yet it is here that Rahab makes a decision that intrigues me. 
Most people make choices that will cause others to accept them – to love them.  But Rahab does the opposite.  She helps the Israelites – the enemies!  Now, not only is she a harlot – she is traitor!
Rahab’s life makes me think.  I wonder how often I make decisions based on what seems wise-in-my-own-eyes.  I choose the path that appears safe, secure… and expected of me.  If Rahab had chosen to walk out her door into the “security” of the city, her life would have ended, yet she knew to truly live, she must place her life in the hands of this God of the Israelites!  
The scarlet cord she hung from her window was her redemption.  How she must have clung to it while everything around her was crumbling!  When the shouts had died and the dust had settled, Rahab was liberated!   Her faith in a God she knew little about had saved her.  Rahab saw beyond the surface issues.  She chose the road with more danger, more twists and turns, and less visibility for what lay ahead and for that she found life!

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