Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday slowdown

We've been blessed before by this old hymn; it seems just right for this week.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Rebekah - going where God leads

We saw last time that Rebekah was willing to go the extra mile to help others; she was a person who made a difference in other people's lives. Then, when it seemed she was in the right place, at the right time, she was willing to go where God was leading.

How can we apply these truths to our own lives?

If we want to be the kind of women who make a difference, we need to put others first. Seems simple, no? But so important! When we live our lives looking for the needs that we can fill, and then place those needs ahead of our own wishes, or plans, or daydreams, we become changed women. Our focus becomes how we can show the mercy and love of Christ to others -- not a focus of  "it's all about me." We are living for something that is bigger than just ourselves, and when we invest our lives in people, the returns, the "dividends," are amazing. The blessings we receive are awesome, but the rewards are far more than what we see in our own lifetime . . . the rewards go forward into other's lives, as well.

Secondly, we can cultivate a positive attitude. I don't think that Rebekah complained about the work that she offered to do. She didn't huff and puff and draw attention to herself as she toted that large jar, and poured out gallons and gallons of water for the camels to slurp up. (Grin) She didn't stop her giving until the whole job was done. She gave Eleazer water, she watered his camels, and then she offered him a place to stay. She was incredibly positive in her attitude. We need to emulate that; we need to lift others up, not push them down. If we make them feel like we are doing them a huge favor by helping them, we've missed the point.

It's important for us to be self-starters. In business, a self-starter is a super resource. He or she is a person who looks for opportunities to do something, solve something, work on something. They don't wait for others to ask for help, nor do they wait to be told what to do. No one told Rebekah to water the camels -- for that matter, no one told her to kindly offer water to the stranger at the well. But she saw a need and jumped in to fill it.

Lastly, we can be "difference makers" by not worrying about the "what will I gain," but by thinking about "what can I give?"  Rebekah gave of her strength, her time, and her effort without thinking about what she might gain. She was sincere and genuine in her giving. She wasn't thinking about gaining anything for herself by trudging about in the dust, hauling water and pouring it into the trough. Are we "what can I give" people, or are we "what will I gain" people? Where is our focus? On getting something in return? If we are going to make a difference in people's lives, and in our world, we will be giving our best without expecting anything in return.

Because of the service that she gave that day, Rebekah's life was changed. Eleazer came to stay the night with her family, and told them of his search. He told them of his prayer, and how Rebekah's actions and attitude answered that prayer. They asked her if she wanted to go back with Eleazer to become the wife of Isaac, and she was ready to go where God was leading her. She said, "Yes."

Rebekah earned a special place in history that day. She gained a place in the Bible, and became the wife of Isaac, and also became a part of the line of the Messiah. So in a small way, Rebekah played a role in God's plan to save the world.

It's just the same for us -- God wants to use us in His plan to save the world. Our roles may not seem all the significant or important to us, but in the hands of God, everything that we do matters. Are we ready to go where He leads?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rebekah - going where God leads

We met Rebekah last time; do you remember how the Bible described her?

Rebekah (verse 16 tells us) is very beautiful. Did you know that only four women are described as very beautiful in the Bible? Sarah, Rebekah, Bathsheba, and an un-named attendant to King David are the only four whose outward appearance is described in this way. Many more women are lovely by their inward characters, but these four are commended to us as physically attractive.

Rebekah is also unmarried. Verse 16 also notes that she was single, and was a virgin. For a servant who had traveled to the old stomping grounds of his master, instead of choosing a wife from the idolatrous neighboring lands, this was great news! These were traits that were highly favored, and the servant must have known then that the Lord was honoring his prayer.

Rebekah is in the right place at the right time. Did you see that she came with her jar before Eleazer could finish his prayer?  God had heard his prayer, and the prayer of Abraham, and had put His plan in motion. We'll see that Rebekah is willing to go where God leads . . . have there been times that we were in the right place at the right time, but we missed an opportunity? Are we willing to go where He leads us?

Let's dive in!

Rebekah was the answer to Eleazer's prayer. She gave more than was needed, more than was asked for. Eleazer only requested a drink of water for himself. Rebekah offered to water the camels as well. She really went "beyond the call of duty."
We forget sometimes that it requires increased levels of effort to receive increased levels of blessings. Whoa......that sounded a bit like a smarmy television preacher.....I didn't mean that we can earn grace, or get to a higher level of salvation, or suddenly find millions of dollars flowing into our mailbox.
We are blessed when we serve God. We're also blessed when we serve those around us. The more that we serve others and do things with the right spirit, the greater the blessings that God will shower on our lives. We don't earn mega-bucks. We earn the blessings of peace, and of joy, and of contentment.
Rebekah was blessed with a new life because of her generosity. Her willingness to give.  Here was a thirsty, elderly man, who needed her help. She not only gave to him, but she graciously helped him by watering his camels.

                   A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will 
                   himself be refreshed.  (Proverbs 11:25)

When we serve God by serving others, the amazing thing is that we are blessed as much or more by our giving!

                   Give generously . . . and do so without a grudging heart; then
                   because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your 
                   work and in everything you put your hand to. (Deuteronomy 15:10)

Rebekah gave willingly of her time and put a lot of effort into helping Eleazer. He was a complete stranger to her, but she was gracious to him. He was tired, and dusty, and probably could not be distinguished from any other traveler, rich or poor. She gave of herself, whether there was a "return on" her investment, or not.

In recent years the phrases "random acts of kindness" and "pay it forward" have become popular with some folks. Many more, though, couldn't care less. They are unwilling to go the extra mile to help someone else, or to help themselves. For example, some people won't put any extra effort into their job. Some won't put extra effort into their relationships; parents say they're too stressed to go the extra mile for their kids; students can't see the need to put extra effort into their studies..... as human beings, we sometimes find it difficult to "give our all." Rebekah is an example of how we should treat others.

Here is an interesting thought -- the National Geographic site says that a camel can drink about thirty gallons of water in about thirteen minutes! That means that Rebekah may have needed to provide three hundred gallons of water for the trough they were slurping from! If her jar that she carried on her shoulder or her head contained five gallons, she must have made many, many trips to the well, and poured it into the trough in front of the camels!

Do we have that kind of "above and beyond" mentality?  Rebekah made a choice that day. She invested her time, her strength, and her compassion for a stranger and his animals. She had no way of knowing that her service to another would change her life.  She is remembered because she gave, and gave.

And then she was willing to go where God was leading her.
We'll see more about this next time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Verses that inspire

Our verse that inspires this week comes from our study passage: Genesis 24.

Let's look:

                   So they called Rebekah and asked her, "Will you go with this man?"
                   "I will go," she said.   (Genesis 24:58)

This is truly an inspiring verse . . . but we need some background, no? Rebekah did not know how far it was between the home of her family, and the home of this man who came from his master to fetch a bride. She had no GPS to refer to, to know what lay between them.  She also did not know for sure what her bridegroom would think of her. Sure, the Bible tells us she was lovely, but looks aren't everything, right? Also, she didn't know for sure if this offer, this servant who seemed sincere, was "for real."

This sounds similar to the situation we faced before we knew Jesus Christ, doesn't it? None of us knows what will happen between the day we accept Him and the day we are received in heaven, but we will all make it home, no matter how rough the road. We may worry that Jesus won't accept us, but we need not worry -- no matter what our sins, He is faithful and won't turn us away. And the offer of salvation is "for real," in spite of what the foolish world may tell us.

Rebekah is willing to make the choice; even though she doesn't know everything about him yet, she knows that Isaac sounds like the husband she has been dreaming about. Salvation for us comes down to this: we make Him our choice, after He chooses us! And we choose freedom over bondage, life over death.
Rebekah also was willing to change, and to make a commitment. She was turning her back on everything that she knew, and changing her life. Coming to Christ means that we are willing to turn our back on the old life, and totally embrace a new way of life. It's a commitment to follow Him for the rest of our life; it's a permanent situation!

When we put our trust in Him, He is faithful. He forgives our sins and gives us new life!

                   God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship
                   of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (I Corinthians 1:9)

Has a verse inspired you recently, that you can share with us?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Rebekah - going where God leads

We're going to study the story of Rebekah this week, and we will finish our study of this woman of the Bible next week. Her story can be divided into two chapters, so this week we will start with "chapter one" where we are introduced to her. It's a long passage, but read all the way, and consider it. We'll start our study tomorrow.

Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way.He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?“Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.
12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.
22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels. 23 Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?24 She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor. 25 And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things.29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring. 30 As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring.31 “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord,” he said. “Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.”32 So the man went to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet. 33 Then food was set before him, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.”“Then tell us,” Laban said.34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The Lord has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36 My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns. 37 And my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, 38 but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’
39 “Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’40 “He replied, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family. 41 You will be released from my oath if, when you go to my clan, they refuse to give her to you—then you will be released from my oath.’
42 “When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come. 43 See, I am standing beside this spring. If a young woman comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,” 44 and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
45 “Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’46 “She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also.47 “I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’“She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor, whom Milkah bore to him.’“Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms, 48 and I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49 Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.”50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. 51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.52 When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother. 54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you may go.”56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”57 Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”“I will go,” she said.59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,“Our sister, may you increase    to thousands upon thousands;
may your offspring possess    the cities of their enemies.”
61 Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev.63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rahab - conclusion

Hasn't this been an awesome study, these two weeks? I have learned so much from the story of Rahab! We're finishing up today . . . let's dig in!

The spies had promised Rahab and her family, that if she hung the scarlet cord in the window of her home, and if everyone stayed indoors during the attack, they'd be saved.

                       Now the men had said to her, "This oath you made us swear will
                       not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied
                       this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and
                       unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and
                       all your family into your house. If any of them go outside your
                       house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we
                       will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, 
                       their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them.
                       (Joshua 2:17-19)

Now, Rahab had heard all about the Israelites; I'm just betting that she had heard about the exodus from Egypt, and about the Passover celebration. She'd heard, too, about the children of Israel before they left Egypt -- putting the blood from the basin on the lintel and the door posts, sheltered beneath the shed blood of the lamb while the Angel of Death went through the streets in judgement. I bet she knew about that!

And so here she is, carefully checking each day to make sure that the scarlet cord, just as scarlet as her sins, hangs in the window. With each gust of wind, it stirs, and she glances there. Each day she walks to the window, and moving the scarlet cord aside, gazes out across the wilderness . . . maybe today. Maybe today.

Then one day she sees in the distance a dark sea of men, and a cloud of dust behind them as they move toward the city of Jericho. It's the Israelites! She can almost see the fierceness of their faces. Will they remember their promise? Will their general, Joshua honor the covenant she made with them? Will their God honor their promise to spare her?

I think she ran into the house again, and then if they lived in another house, she ran to get her mother and father, her brothers and sisters, and their children. She told them to stay inside the house, not to step outside; breathlessly she told them of the covenant she had made, and as they watched out her window, they held each other tightly and were quiet. That day they watch as the seven priests carry an ark, the Ark of the Covenant, around the city. They're followed by thousands and thousands of soldiers. As the dust rises outside the city, the people of Jericho jeer and hurl insults, safe behind their walls. All except Rahab and her family. Silently they watch, and sometimes reach out to touch that scarlet cord.

The next day the priests and Israelite soldiers repeat their march, and again the third day. It continues for days until the seventh day. At sunrise, the men march again, but this time they encircle the city seven times. Suddenly there is a blowing of a rams horn, and a mighty, thunderous shout from the people outside the city -- and the city walls are shattered! The Israelites rush in and destroy the city, and when the dust and smoke clears over the ruins of Jericho, only one house is till standing . . . and you know whose house it is.

Rahab's house!
Since the Bible tells us that her house was built on the wall, we must believe that there was one small section of the wall that did not fall. Before they burned the city, the two spies must have gone in and escorted Rahab and her family to safety. The promise was that their house would be saved, and they in it. And that is exactly what happened.

Does this remind you of the words of Jesus?

                  Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts
                   them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on
                   the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds
                   blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it 
                   had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25)

The Israelites' salvation had been secured by the scarlet blood on the door posts in Egypt; Rahab's salvation had been secured by the scarlet cord. All of this was pointing to the shedding of Christ's blood in which we put our faith. Christ was the Passover Lamb, and was sacrificed for us. "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin."

I bet that when the people of Jericho noticed the scarlet cord in her window, they may have laughed. And people today mock and scorn Christianity; they laugh at it because they don't understand it. The cross is "foolishness" to them, but it's the only way to be saved. This story also shows us that just like the Philippian jailer who asked Paul and Silas "what must I do to be saved?" and then his whole household was saved, salvation was good enough for Rahab's whole household, too.

So many things to learn from Rahab's story! One is the importance of women in the redemption story. Along with Sarah, Rahab is the only woman mentioned by name in the "hall of fame" of faith in Hebrews chapter eleven. Her story tells us that God's grace knows no limits! It tells us that salvation is through faith alone, and that our faith brings us into the family of God and His Son Jesus. Rahab lived in Israel, and married an Israelite man, Salmon. Some folks say that he was one of the spies, but we don't know that for sure. We know for sure that Rahab was the mother of Boaz, so she was the mother-in-law of Ruth, who was the great-grandmother of David, and eventually came in the line of our sinless Savior.

And the scarlet thread continues, as He shed His blood to save us all.

Wow! What an awesome story we have considered for the past two weeks! Is the story of Rahab your story, too? Have you been saved by the grace of God?  Is your faith placed strongly in His hands? If you have not yet made that decision and want to know more about it, please click on the tab called "What is salvation" on this blog, or get in touch! Don't let another day go by before you make certain of your relationship with Jesus.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rahab - scarlet threads

Let's get back to our study of Rahab! We noted last time that she heard about God, and that she believed what she heard.

She also knew that she and her family would die, unless they found refuge in the God of the Israelites. She had heard who the living God was, and that He was holy -- and so He was the one Who condemned sinners. She had heard that message of judgment, and now she had faith in Jehovah. It is, of course, faith that saves us.

                    However, to the one who does not works but trusts God who
                    justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
                    (Romans 4:5)

I think this qualifies! She heard, and she knew, and then she believed what she had heard. She said "I know" and that was the assurance of her salvation that was brought about by her faith in this great God she had heard about.

                    By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies,
                    was not killed with those who were disobedient. (Hebrews 11:31)

Now, I guess we need to study about the fact that she lied. Yep. She did. It was when she covered for the two scouts . . . the Bible doesn't say, "Oh, Rahab was great because she lied to the soldiers about where the scouts were."  No, it says that she is to be commended for her faith.  I would guess that a prostitute would have been quite accustomed to lying about the whereabouts of men, no? An anxious wife here, a stressed-out father there, all coming to inquire about whether or not a certain man was inside her house? Maybe even a wealthy or powerful man -- perhaps the king was looking for him. She would lie about it to cover for her customers, I'm sure. But God doesn't want us to emulate her etiquette, her lying. He wants us to emulate her faith.
Let's look at the story again, when the king of Jericho sent messengers to her house:

                 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab; "Bring out the men     
                 who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to 
                 spy out the whole land."  But the woman had taken the two men and 
                 hidden them. She said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know
                 where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the 
                 city gate, they left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them
                 quickly. You may catch up with them." (But she had taken them up 
                 to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out 
                 on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that
                 leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone
                 out, the gate was shut..... "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 that you will spare the lives of 
                 my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to
                 them -- and that you will save us from death." Joshua 2:3-7,12-13)

As soon as she had sent the pursuers on their wild goose chase, she ran to the roof and made her deal with the two spies. The story continues that she kept them safe and then sent them on their way. She gave them a strategy to follow: stay around the outskirts of the city for three days, and then take their messages of intelligence of the city and its walls to Joshua. Their covenant bound them to keep her (and her family) safe from destruction -- she was to place a scarlet cord out the window of her house, so that the attacking army would know, and leave her unscathed.

When I studied Rahab's story, I also studied this verse in James:

                   In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered 
                   righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies
                   and sent them off in a different direction?  (James 2:25)

This is the final mention of our heroine in the Bible, and it is in the midst of the (sometimes) thorny passage that many Christians can get hung up on . . . the discussion of faith versus works. "Justified by works" is something that really bugs many Christians. We're so used to reading in Romans and Galatians and other passages that tell us it's not by him that works, but he that believes that the ungodly are justified.  Here is how it shakes out in my mind (you may have different thoughts, and that is fine, too. The Spirit gives us understanding, and you may be way further along than me!). The writer of Romans wants us to know that salvation is by faith apart from the works of the law; it's by faith in Christ alone.  The writer of James isn't talking about how we are justified before God, but before men . . . it's how we can show our faith to others so that they can believe on Jesus, too.

I'm not heading down a rabbit trail here. Just saying that the Bible does indeed teach that we are justified before God by faith alone. That is clear in a lot of different verses. I think what James is trying to impress on us is this: we are justified before men by our works; faith without works is dead. Does that make sense? We show people our faith by our works. (You can spend some time in the second chapter of James if you want to dig in there.)  James gives us an illustration of what he means, by pointing to Rahab; he tells us that she was justified before the Israelites, who she went and lived among, because she kept the spies hidden and then let them go . . . proving her faith.

In Hebrews she is lauded because she received the spies; in James she is commended because she received them and then let them go out another way. Here is why that is important: up until the moment that she let them go, she could have betrayed them. She could have killed them; she could have changed her mind and pointed up to the roof when the soldiers questioned her; she could have let them be captured. Even the spies had their doubts about her at first:

                          But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the
                          oath you made us swear. (Joshua 2:20)

So, by letting them go another way, and telling them how to go without drawing attention to themselves, they made good their escape. And she proved that she was a friend of God, and proved she was a friend of theirs.

Isn't that true of us, too? We hear about God, and we put faith in God, but we have a duty to show that faith to others. We must show them that our faith is alive. Be on the same side as God's people. Stay in God's ways, and in His Word, instead of siding with the world. She heard, and she believed, and then she showed her faith to others. And she was saved.

Salvation is not just a once-in-a-moment experience. We've been saved, and the Bible says we are being saved (some people use a five-dollar word to describe that: sanctification). One day we will be saved forever, at the end of this world (that one is glorification). We will be delivered! For Rahab, that day of deliverance came on the same day that the walls of Jericho fell:

                       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.
                       (Joshua 6:25)

Because of the scarlet cord that hung from her window, Rahab's home was clearly marked, and among all of the people who were slaughtered that day, she and her family were spared.

We'll conclude our study of Rahab tomorrow.