In April I spent the day with my cousin’s daughter who attends UCSB hiking at the Gaviota Wild Caves which they call the “Wind Caves”. It was a perfect sunny day with a slight breeze coming up from the Pacific Ocean. After picking out some munchies at the local store we headed over to the hiking trails. When we arrived we looked up toward the mountain that hosted our destination and this is what we saw.
The hike to the top was not an easy one with the heat of the day as I followed behind Tayler. You see Tayler is 19 years old and full of life. Let’s just say she would have made it to the top much faster without me. However, I think I did pretty good keeping up with her. (smile)
Our view from the top of the Wind Caves
As we looked up toward the mountain I was reminded of Rahab and the walls of Jericho. I envisioned seeing Jericho built up against these mountains and the amount of work it had to take to build the city. It takes work to build anything of value and if for some reason it falls apart it can be devastating. Whether it is a career, a home, family, business, or anything else we put our energy, love and resources into. If it crumbles or we don’t succeed it can leave us feeling as if life is over, now what? I believe if it were not for the stories Rahab heard throughout the years, and her new hope and faith in God she may have sat down in her ruins and died there. And yet, what happened is her faith and hope actually propelled her into the purpose and plan God had for her life.
One life lesson I take away from Rahab’s story is her past no longer dictated her future. It was the ruins of her past that brought her to a place where she longed to be free. And God in his grace and mercy took Rahab to the place where she found herself having to make the decision of whether to remain in the ruins of regret or put her trust and faith in God. We learn of how Rahab said YES to the opportunity knocking at her heart and front door which saved her and her family bringing them out of dark circumstances and into a new life with God. With each step she took she became closer to God, to his people and to her purpose in life.
So, what happened to Rahab after the fall of Jericho? It’s important for us to know Rahab continued on in her journey with the Israelites toward the Promised Land believing God for a better future and she got one! She learned the ways of God and His people, and became a woman of virtue. Little did she know the great plan of God when she became the wife of a prominent Israelite, Salmon of the tribe of Judah, and the mother of Boaz. In the book of Ruth you will find the story of Boaz and how he married Ruth, and they had a son, Obed. Their son Obed became the father of Jesse which was the father of King David.
Rahab’s life was valuable in many ways but would she have ever guessed one day she would be a mother in the line of the Messiah. I think not. Maybe her past would have left her hiding in the background of the Israelites feeling shame, or as a servant held in captivity. But God’s plan was different from any Rahab could have imagined. He took the shame from her past and wiped the slate clean when she put her trust and faith in him. The old was gone and she was onto something new.
Through Rahab’s story we learn the importance of accepting the freedom that comes with God’s forgiveness. Our past is just that, our past. All of us are faced with choices every day and in order for us to move up and into a better place more suited for our purpose we’re not to spend time wallowing in the things of the past. God’s desire is for us to learn from them, good and bad. We are to take the good and build on it and take the bad and learn from it.
When God calls you into a new place trust He has something bigger and better he wants to do in you and through you. His bigger and better for Rahab was that she would know and experience a pure and unconditional love with God, and in that new life he blessed her as a wife and mother.
Today do you find life crumbling around you from mistakes pulling you back into the past and prohibiting you from moving into the purposes and plans of God for your life? If so, I ask you to stop where you are and surrender those ruins because the same God who saved Rahab wants to save you. If you trust in him by faith he will walk you into your Promised Land. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” Romans 15:4