I love hearing amazing stories that inspire others. I also love hearing stories of people that were changed after a life event. Listening to another person’s story can change our own story. We can feel inspired, convicted, or even challenged by someone else’s story. A story can inspire us to change ourselves and it can encourage us to take a risk. Its great to hear stories from others; their stories will affect our story.
God has given us each a story worth telling. A testimony is not just something that happens to you once in your lifetime; a new testimony can happen everyday. Not only can you have a testimony but also the great part of it is that with Gods help we have the ability to be a testimony for someone else. You have a testimony and you can be a testimony.
Two weeks ago I mentioned in my sermon, “Your test will become your testimony and your mess will become your message.” That’s truth! God is the author of our stories.
The big question is this; are we living a life (story) worth telling? Is the life you are living worth sharing? When you allow God to lead you; you will always have a story to tell. God uses what we have to do what He does.
Your story today affects future stories. You are making decisions today; that will change your tomorrow! Maybe you have been raised in family that has made a series of bad decisions in the past. Maybe you had an alcoholic parent. Maybe you were forgotten, neglected, abused, or broken by others decisions. Just because you were raised in this environment and treated this way, does not mean that YOU ARE that environment. These situations do not have to define you. You can allow them to develop you but you don’t have to let them define you. Just because its part of your story it does not mean it’s the end of your story. God is still the author of your life. Don’t allow people and situations define you, allow God to define you. God never wastes anything. “He will use our past to change another’s future”.
When I think of a dramatic story in scripture that takes a persons test and makes it a testimony, I think of Rahab. Rahab lived and grew up in Jericho. Had three negative things against her, she was a Canaanite (not a Jew), She was a prostitute, and she was a woman (not truly respected in that culture). She lived in Jericho during the same time that God was leading Moses, Joshua and the Israelites to the promise land. She heard of the miracles that God was doing with the Israelites. She knew that Jericho was a roadblock for the Israelites on the journey to the Promise Land.
Before Joshua decided to attack Jericho, he sent a few spies ahead to get info in Jericho. These two had an encounter with Rahab.
Joshua 2 (NIV) 2 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 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.”
4 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. 5 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.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 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.
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b] 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 “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.”
14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”
Rahab had an experience with God. She met with Him. Rahab said that she heard what God did for the Israelites. She heard about the Red Sea parting. She heard about the manna. She heard how God continued to fight and provide for the Israelites. Not only did she hear about it, she decided to experience God for herself. Its one thing to hear about God, it’s to have an experience with God. You can hear about someone but it’s not the same to KNOW that person. Rahab begin to KNOW God. She was being changed because she met with God. When you truly meet with God, you are changed. She had her own experience with God. It wasn’t a hand me down experience. It was not just another person’s story. She not only heard the stories of what God did in others, but she was beginning to have her own new testimonies (stories). She was being changed. She changed the way she lived.
She began to recognize her identity in Him. She was a sinner who was saved by grace. She KNEW she was a sinner so she KNEW she needed a Savior. Until we realize our need of a Savior, it’s hard to be changed. We all need God. We all have sinned. Her actions with the spies stem from a heart change.
She helped the spies. She went into her own people (Canaanites) and she helped out the Israelites. She left what she knew to follow God. She began to experience the same things we all face and what the Israelites faced; we were all once slaves and not we find freedom in Him. She sold out her people for HIM. She changed.
In Joshua 6 , the Israelites, led by Joshua marched around Jericho and the walls fell down (read the story, pretty amazing).
After the walls came down, they rushed into Jericho to destroy the leftover and steal the treasures.
Then Joshua said this, “Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.
24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 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”.
That’s amazing! She risked her life and her families’ life. She was not defined by her past and her mistakes. She went against country and became part of the Israelite family. Joshua accepted her and her whole family. Because of her decision, her whole family was spared. That’s amazing. Our decisions not only affect us but affects our future generations. We have the ability to help direct the hope for the future. Her decision opened the door for future blessings. She changed the course of history for her family and future generations.
In Matthew 1, we read the Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah.
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David”.
She was in the family tree of the Messiah. Because of her decision, she became part of a new family. She was a descendent of Jesus. She was not part of the family, but then her decision made her part of the family. Not only that, God used a prostitute to be in the family tree. That’s grace! God wrote her story! She was not defined by people or by her mistakes (sins). She did not allow her past to define her, but she allowed it to develop her.
We need to remember who we are. We are a son/daughter of the King. We are in the family tree. His BLOOD runs through us. His blood was spilt for us. We call Him Father. You are not your past. YOU ARE NOT YOUR SIN! That’s not who you are. You are a CHILD OF THE KING!
God gave Rahab a story worth telling. God gives all of us a story worth telling. Our test becomes a testimony and our mess becomes our message.
The Faith of Rahab will always be remembered. The Bible mentions Rahab the harlot as a hero of the faith. She made the Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11. Think of that list . . . Abel . . . Enoch . . . Noah . . . Abraham . . . Sarah . . . Isaac . . . Jacob . . . Joseph . . . Moses . . .
“If ancient Israel had a Mount Rushmore, her face would be on it”
Joshua 6:25 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.