40.Day.Week4

JULY 22

HOLY HARLOT

HEBREWS 11:31 | By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. READ JOSHUA 2 AND JOSHUA 6:17, 25.

Rahab was just minding her own business when someone arrived at the door. First caller of the night? No. Two callers with foreign accents. Joshua had sent them to recce the Holy Land, which was not yet holy.

The Preacher of the Sermon to the Hebrews makes sure that most of his listeners, including women, will be able to identify with at least one of his examples. The only two heroines of faith in Hebrews 11 are Sarah, the mother of all believers, and Rahab, the patron saint of_________?

Rahab wasn’t born yesterday. She knew the ropes and kept one handy. When God came calling through his scouts, she got her act together. An act of faith. The things she had heard about the God of Israel were more real to her than the mighty wall on which her house was built. She believed. She staked her survival on things unseen. She sheltered the spies. She appealed for mercy. She hid them on her roof. She threw the guards off the scent. She let the spies go free. When the walls of Jericho fell, Rahab was saved with all her household. By faith.

She made it! Not only into the Hall of Faith, but also into the genealogy of the Son of God (MATTHEW 1:5). Jesus is not ashamed to call her Sister (HEBREWS 2:11). If Rahab the harlot can be a saint, anybody can. That’s just the point (WILLIAM WILLIMON).

Holiness is not instant moral perfection. Holiness is a sincere devotion to God that produces moral purity from the inside out in the long run. God confers his holiness on us the moment we believe (HEBREWS 10:10). But from then on, we have one lifetime to cleanse ourselves from all defilement, and to perfect our holiness in the fear of God (2 CORINTHIANS 7:1). If a harlot can become holy, so can you.

Rahab, by the way, is not the only seedy saint in the number. Noah the naked had one too many (GENESIS 9:21). Moses the meek murdered a man (EXODUS 2:12). Jephthah the judge slaughtered his daughter (JUDGES 11). Samson the strongman surrendered his sanctity (JUDGES 16). Yes, all these are included in the Hebrews Hall of Saints.

If the likes of these can become holy, so can you. If only you will believe and act on what you believe. That’s what makes us saints in the long run. Trophies of God’s wonderful grace.

HOLY HARLOT

HEBREWS 11:31 | By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. READ JOSHUA 2 AND JOSHUA 6:17, 25.

Rahab was just minding her own business when someone arrived at the door. First caller of the night? No. Two callers with foreign accents. Joshua had sent them to recce the Holy Land, which was not yet holy.

The Preacher of the Sermon to the Hebrews makes sure that most of his listeners, including women, will be able to identify with at least one of his examples. The only two heroines of faith in Hebrews 11 are Sarah, the mother of all believers, and Rahab, the patron saint of_________?

Rahab wasn’t born yesterday. She knew the ropes and kept one handy. When God

 

JULY 22

came calling through his scouts, she got her act together. An act of faith. The things she had heard about the God of Israel were more real to her than the mighty wall on which her house was built. She believed. She staked her survival on things unseen. She sheltered the spies. She appealed for mercy. She hid them on her roof. She threw the guards off the scent. She let the spies go free. When the walls of Jericho fell, Rahab was saved with all her household. By faith.

She made it! Not only into the Hall of Faith, but also into the genealogy of the Son of God (MATTHEW 1:5). Jesus is not ashamed to call her Sister (HEBREWS 2:11). If Rahab the harlot can be a saint, anybody can. That’s just the point (WILLIAM WILLIMON).

Holiness is not instant moral perfection. Holiness is a sincere devotion to God that produces moral purity from the inside out in the long run. God confers his holiness

on us the moment we believe (HEBREWS 10:10). But from then on, we have one lifetime to cleanse ourselves from all defilement, and to perfect our holiness in the fear of God (2 CORINTHIANS 7:1). If a harlot can become holy, so can you.

Rahab, by the way, is not the only seedy saint in the number. Noah the naked had one too many (GENESIS 9:21). Moses the meek murdered a man (EXODUS 2:12). Jephthah the judge slaughtered his daughter (JUDGES 11). Samson the strongman surrendered his sanctity (JUDGES 16). Yes, all these are included in the Hebrews Hall of Saints.

If the likes of these can become holy, so can you. If only you will believe and act on what you believe. That’s what makes us saints in the long run. Trophies of God’s wonderful grace.

Prayer Track

■ We are without excuse. Who are we to judge? What looks like seediness to you and me, often looks like potential saintliness to God… A woman guilty of repeated sexual sin might not seem like a good candidate for salvation, but appearances are often deceiving. Not every church member is as righteous as they appear on Sunday morning, and not every sinner is as far from the kingdom as we sometimes assume (RAY PRITCHARD). Ponder and pray.

■ We are without excuse. If a harlot can become holy, so can you. The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives (FANNY CROSBY). Pardon is one thing. Perfecting holiness is another. Are we making progress? During Covid-19 lockdowns, a parallel pandemic of pornography broke out. To what extent are we part of this massive porn spike? According to Whole Life Inventory, in the last 12 months, 61.6% of Christian husbands and 17% of Christian wives in Singapore have viewed porn. Are you frolicking in the online world of sex and sleaze, too? This secret, persistent porn use must stop! Fear God. Own up. Repent. Plead for mercy. Turn to Christ for cleansing. Day by day, moment by moment, take personal responsibility to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord (2 CORINTHIANS 7:1). Cry out to God for a holiness movement in the Church: You shall be holy, for I am holy (1 PETER 1:16). Put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires (COLOSSIANS 3:5). May we be the moral compass of our city.

■ We are without excuse. If a harlot can be used by God, so can you. Rahab did not let her past define her future. Why should you? What has God called you to do? Sure, he could have picked a more holy and experienced person for the job. But he chose you. He appointed you. That you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide (JOHN 15:16). By faith, act on what God has spoken.

■ We are without excuse. If Joshua admitted a harlot into the community of faith, who are we to despise and reject the Rahabs of our city (JOSHUA 6:25)? Jesus pardoned an adulteress caught in the act (JOHN 8:2). He forgave a prostitute as she washed his feet (LUKE 7:48). Today, let us pray for the sex workers of our city. While they are still sinners, God loves them (ROMANS 5:8). Do we? Pray for open eyes to see that prostitution is primarily the result of a lack of choice among the most marginalised, vulnerable, and defenseless people in the world (EXODUSCRY.COM). Pray for open ears to hear their tragic history of sex abuse, poverty, and rejection. Pray for open hearts to welcome them into our communities of faith. Pray for open minds to think out of the box and create safe spaces where they feel they are heard and accepted, where they can belong. Pray for them, not against them. Like Rahab, they can experience the triumphs of faith and become trophies of God’s grace.

Prayer Track

■ We are without excuse. Who are we to judge? What looks like seediness to you and me, often looks like potential saintliness to God… A woman guilty of repeated sexual sin might not seem like a good candidate for salvation, but appearances are often deceiving. Not every church member is as righteous as they appear on Sunday morning, and not every sinner is as far from the kingdom as we sometimes assume (RAY PRITCHARD). Ponder and pray.

■ We are without excuse. If a harlot can become holy, so can you. The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives (FANNY CROSBY). Pardon is one thing. Perfecting holiness is another. Are we making progress? During Covid-19 lockdowns, a parallel pandemic of pornography broke out. To what extent are we part of this massive porn spike? According to Whole Life Inventory, in the last 12 months, 61.6% of Christian husbands and 17% of

Christian wives in Singapore have viewed porn. Are you frolicking in the online world of sex and sleaze, too? This secret, persistent porn use must stop! Fear God. Own up. Repent. Plead for mercy. Turn to Christ for cleansing. Day by day, moment by moment, take personal responsibility to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord (2 CORINTHIANS 7:1). Cry out to God for a holiness movement in the Church: You shall be holy, for I am holy (1 PETER 1:16). Put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires (COLOSSIANS 3:5). May we be the moral compass of our city.

■ We are without excuse. If a harlot can be used by God, so can you. Rahab did not let her past define her future. Why should you? What has God called you to do? Sure, he could have picked a more holy and experienced person for the job. But he chose you. He appointed you. That you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide (JOHN 15:16). By faith, act on what God has spoken.

■ We are without excuse. If Joshua admitted a harlot into the community of faith, who are we to despise and reject the Rahabs of our city (JOSHUA 6:25)? Jesus pardoned an adulteress caught in the act (JOHN 8:2). He forgave a prostitute as she washed his feet (LUKE 7:48). Today, let us pray for the sex workers of our city. While they are still sinners, God loves them (ROMANS 5:8). Do we? Pray for open eyes to see that prostitution is primarily the result of a lack of choice among the most marginalised, vulnerable, and defenseless people in the world (EXODUSCRY.COM). Pray for open ears to hear their tragic history of sex abuse, poverty, and rejection. Pray for open hearts to welcome them into our communities of faith. Pray for open minds to think out of the box and create safe spaces where they feel they are heard and accepted, where they can belong. Pray for them, not against them. Like Rahab, they can experience the triumphs of faith and become trophies of God’s grace.