So many of us struggle with trust, and everyone gets let down by others. There are a lot of unreliable and deceitful people in this world who can hurt us, and they can be difficult to avoid. Part of the problem may be that so many of us do a terrible job of judging the character of others and end up trusting the wrong people.
I am a terrible judge of character. It may be because I naively tend to believe in others or it might be that I rely too much on appearances. A large part is because, like so many others, I make generalizations and assumptions. I think of one patient I have known for years. I thought she had it together. She was funny, outgoing, always well dressed and put together, physically fit and from all I could tell, devoted to family. She was my patient for 15 years before I learned that she also had been downing a bottle of whiskey a night the entire time she was my patient!
As often as I fail by assuming people are good, I think I more often fail in the opposite direction, reaching negative conclusions about people based on superficial appearances, generalizations and assumptions. This may be why I love teaching the Sunday School lesson I taught this week.
This week's lesson- The story of Rahab from the Old Testament book of Joshua. Rahab lived in the city of Jericho, a city with massive walls that stood in the way of the people of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land. Her introduction to readers in Joshua 2 is not at all flattering. Israeli spies are said to have entered the city and gone to the home of "a prostitute name Rahab." A prostitute. Not how a woman would be prefer to be known. This label never left her. In the New Testament book of Hebrews, when a brief account of her faith is given, she is called "Rahab the Harlot."
Many things come to mind when one hears the word "prostitute", faith, courage and dedication are not among them. But they are when it comes to Rahab. This woman, who for years had lived an immoral life, was different from all of the other people in her city. While it seems that everyone in the city had heard how God had done miraculous deeds on behalf of the Israelites, how they had won major battles and conquered powerful armies, Rahab's response to the news was different. While all were afraid, Rahab reached a unique conclusion. Rahab believed that the stories were evidence that the God of Israel was real, powerful and true. She concluded that He was a God to be feared and served.
Rahab's faith led to action. The Israelite spies stayed in her home, and when messengers from the King of Jericho came looking for them she hid the spies and helped them escape, risking her life for the servants of the Lord. As she helped them escape, she proclaimed her faith in the One True God and asked for protection. Later, When the city of Jericho fell, Rahab and her family were the only ones spared. Rahab turned from her immoral life, married an Israelite and became an enduring example of faith. (Rahab is mentioned on a number of occasions in the bible, including being listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ. She was the great grandmother of the Old Testament King David).
Not what one would expect from a prostitute! While it would be natural to assume that a story of a woman that begins with the words "a prostitute" will be a story of failure and misdeeds, in this case the assumption would be totally wrong.
It is my prayer that I will learn to not make such assumptions but will try to take the time to learn a person's heart and character. I fear I have missed out on many blessings in life by looking to the wrong people for the reasons. This is the lesson of Rahab, a woman of faith.
If you like this post (even a little) Please click one of the buttons below and share it with your friends. It is the only way others learn about the blog!