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Rahab Contra Mundum

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2021 8:00 am

Rahab Contra Mundum

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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May 21, 2021 8:00 am

Can a heroine emerge from a brothel in a vile, pagan city? Rahab the prostitute had absolutely nothing going for her... except enough faith in the True God to stand alone against her entire culture! On The Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Boice tells the story of "Rahab Contra Mundum," it means "Rahab Against the World."

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Can a heroine emerge from a brothel violent pagan city Rahab the prostitute had absolutely nothing going for except enough faith in the true God to stand alone against her entire culture today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce tells the story of Rahab come from under that means Rahab against the world and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce repairing you to think and act biblically and immoral woman living in a wicked place seems like a lost cause. But God loves a lost cause and story of judgment quickly turns to a story of mercy. In Joshua chapter 2 it would be a miracle brighter than the Jewish crossing of the Jordan or the falling down of the walls of Jericho, Rahab, Amorite prostitute new lap because Latin didn't come to Palestine until they Roman conquest, which was about a thousand years after the days in which you live. But I Rahab had no Latin.

Rahab might well have described her situation in Jericho as Rahab countrymen them means Rahab against the world. People who are students of early church history may recognize those words contra among them because they're the words that the early church father Athanasius used the described himself in his situation during those early controversy of Christian centuries. Athanasius was born in the year 295, or about the year 295 you live to 373, so we had a long life. He died with many honors and yet he had a very hard life because Athanasius was a sound Orthodox informed committed Christian. In an age when many people really didn't know up from down in theology and when for long decades. The drift of the church was away from the orthodoxy of the Bible.

What Athanasius really stood for these years.

All the Trinitarian controversies was the deity of Christ, he stood against the Arians, but the arguments were so confusing to so many people and the errors in the side of the Arminian seem so winsome at times.

Athanasius literally did stand almost against everybody and emperors were against him. He was exiled from his bishopric in Egypt five times church was against them seemed wrong. So they had no friends at all and it was Athanasius to use those words originally said Athanasius contra them Athanasius against the world because he stood for the truth of God and the revelation of the Scriptures, and in the end that God, the true God vindicated him and the theology that we have as a result of those rates councils of the church as a result of his faithfulness is what I mean when I use these words in reference to Rahab because in some ways Rahab was even greater when Athanasius Athanasius at least had the Bible, Rahab had no Bible. Athanasius at least heard of Jesus Christ. Rahab hadn't heard of Jesus Christ. Haven't heard all this gone as God of Israel.

What Rahab heard about this, God was sufficient to evoke faith in her heart and bring her to a level of commitment in which she literally stood against her entire culture. I want to say is we look at this story in some detail is that that is precisely what you and I are called to do the BU countrymen against her culture really going to be faithful to God of this Old Testament and the New Testament. Our story is set in the midst of a greater story of the greater story is that of the conquest of the land and moreover it's intertwines with another story which is also part of the greater story and the story with which it's entwined is the story of the sending of the spine's while Joshua had been commissioned and he stood with the armies of Israel, on the banks of the Jordan ready to go in.

God said they were going to do that he sent to spies ahead of them.

I find it interesting that he sent to spies. I'm sure I was, not accidental. You recall the 38 years before Moses said sent 12 spies in the promised land in 10 of them had come back with the misleading unbelieving report that it is true. It was a great land and it would be a wonderful place in which to live, but it was already occupied and it was occupied by giants of the wasn't hemp in the world for this body of Jewish troops to drive out the occupants and the world only to spies the 12th. Joshua was one of them. Caleb's friend was another who said yes lands a good land, but God is great enough to give it to us. Think Joshua must have been thinking back to that and so when he sent spies this time. I think he must've said I don't want 1210 of whom are going to prove unbelieving, I want to have faith in the God of Israel and will find out what we need to know and will come back with a believing reporter people.

Lewis said he was probably wrong to send the spies was evidence of unbelief.

I don't think so when you read back in the book of numbers and have the account there of Moses sending the 12 spies you find that it was God who told Moses to send spies even though they brought back a bad report. I have no doubt at all that God told Joshua to do the same thing Zoe was believing God and obeying God do it.

At any rate, spies went off they went to Jericho, I met Rahab. They came back with a report that the land, the people of the land and hearts were failing them with fear because of the presence of the Jewish people on the far banks of the Jordan really a very interesting story to see if God was the one who sent the responsive God had said to Joshua in whatever way I want you to send the spies into the land and understand that it wasn't primarily for the sake of bringing back information about Jericho but the spies were sent because God knew all about Jericho and he knew what he was going to do and the battle as it turned out. Didn't depend upon any particular strategy hinged upon the geography of the land or anything like that but it was all God's doing so, they really did need information about Jericho.

If God was sending the spies in the Jericho.

The obvious reason why he was sending the spies in the Jericho was the savory because he had one of his children.

There, in this pagan city. A woman who had come to believe on him and it was through our meeting with the spies and the arrangements that were made that this woman's life was spared that and lives of all of her family. When the Jewish people eventually did overrun the city and destroyed utterly in accordance with God's command of the situation is similar to the kind of story that we have in the fourth chapter of John where we read early in the chapter that Jesus had to go to Samaria. Geographically, I was in control of the runaways to get there. He didn't have to go to the north through Samaria but spiritually he had to because God had wanted his people in that city. The Samaritan woman. Jesus had to go there in order that he might save her.

Just the same way, God sent these spies into Jericho to say Rahab is interesting therefore that the first great story in this book is a story of God's saving of this pagan woman all, it's the second chapter the first chapter tells us about the commissioning of Joshua someone really isn't much of a story yet.

That's just getting things underway first real story is a story of God's saving of this woman really means you say is that the first real story in a book of vicious conquest is a story of God's grace from the Jewish point of view this is a marvelous stories of victory, but from the point of view of the people of the land was a judgment was known nice little altercation was a massive invasion and it was an invasion flowing from the judgment of God because of the sins of the people of the land way back in the book of Genesis when God was speaking to Abraham about the land that he was going to give you spelled it all out. He named the peoples the tribes and he said, but that's not going to happen for a long period of time yet because he said the iniquity of the Amorites is not full, but they hadn't come to full term in judgment. What you see now my hand all those years of gone by the iniquity of the people at increased and judgment was coming.

God was going to blot out this people in a way very similar to the way in which the peoples of the earth were blotted out the time of knowing the great flood was a judgment, pure and simple, yet you see is an interesting story, which is the story of the judgment. The first story is a story not of the judgment of an act of mercy is gone, reaches out to save this pagan woman is really striking and it should direct our attention to the mercy of God in her case in many other cases as well. Mercy of God is particularly evident in Rahab's case because, of course, humanly speaking, she had nothing going for you have to think of her liabilities and the mop. First of all, she was a Gentile sin that anything going forward is a Gentile. It's true that in the long history of the Old Testament, God had a remarkable propensity to save Gentiles here and thereby bringing them into the company of the Jewish people. Ruth the Moabitess was one example Naaman the Syrian was another whole lot of them and they were say they were saved by becoming Joe's me a Gentile was nothing it was to be cut off from the spiritual benefits regarding port upon the Jewish people in history. Paul writes about it in Romans. Yes, a rhetorical question in the third chapter.

What advantage then is there and being a Jew many answers at this way much in every way first trouble they been entrusted with the very words of God that it had the Bible Gentiles didn't have that and he went on to say in the ninth chapter. When he finally gets back saying what he was really going to say earlier. Theirs is the adoption as sons theirs the divine glory to competence the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Jesus Christ had none of those things didn't have a Bible didn't have the patriarchs didn't have true worship understand any of these things spiritually. She was a Gentile was a tremendous liability only was she Gentile. She was in Amorites when the people of the land or name the Amorites are just one of the people way back there in the 15th chapter of Genesis that I mentioned earlier, God names the people, the Canaanites and the Rapley Heights and the Hittites and the Jebusites, and so on. About 12 different tribes or name. One of the more the Amorites, yet it would seem that of all these wicked people they really were very wicked. They performed while sacrifices they killed their children.

For example, offer the mop all sorts of bad things in the midst of file people, the Amorites, or perhaps particularly vile. That's why when God spoke to Abraham. He said that the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet will see there was particular wickedness associated with the tribal division well. Rahab was right and then in addition all that she was a prostitute, which story says very clearly doesn't bother some people may say well maybe it doesn't really mean she was a prostitute.

Or maybe it was the case that she was a reformed prostitute that if she had been a prostitute but she wasn't a prostitute any longer are the W pinko is usually a very wise commentator goes a little overboard.

I think this point because he notices that up on the roof of her house was flax and I got flax on the roof of the house was used to make linen and that probably meant that Rahab had an honorable occupation. She used the flax to make linen even goes further than that. He recalls that in the 31st chapter of Proverbs with a virtuous wife is discussed. One of the things she is praised for is that she works with wool and flax, with her hands so he said all know Rahab must've been a virtuous woman is not what it says is that Rahab was a prostitute. Now I don't think that Rahab was converted to say she was converted before the story and it may well be that she had recently abandoned her profession was in the process of abandoning her profession.

Certainly she abandoned it later when she was incorporated in the Jewish people, but I do notice that when the king heard a rumor that spies and entered the city and the God of the warehousing wasn't at all surprised wise got into her house and coming and going all the time and when she said well they were here but they laughed widely accepted that that's sort of thing that happened I think it indicates that she really was immoral and so when you begin to handle all of that when you say well look what did she have going for the answer was absolutely nothing. It was a Gentile and Amorite, a prostitute about everything you can think of to say.

At that point well wasn't fitting that Blodgett save a person like that.

The answer is, Francis Schaeffer says in his commentary is that it is most fitting, because it's precisely people like that the God save Jesus himself that I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance is that there is more joy in heaven over the center of the repents them over all the righteous but have no need to repent.

There's a woman really did repent. I said a moment ago she had nothing going for anyway. She had a lot of liabilities but that isn't entirely true. Almost even that much going for one great thing going for is that you heard about the true God.

What you hadn't heard didn't have any of these advantages that the apostle Paul talks about in Romans patriarchs in the adoption of the glory and the covenants of the receiving of the lawn all about, but she heard when she begins to speak to the spies in the heart of the story which is really her testimony.

This is what she talks about says I know that the Lord is given this land to you and the great fear of you is fallen on so that all you live in this country are melting in fear because of you because we have heard how the Lord dried up one of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did decide on and on. The two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroy she heard a low six. Know the Bible says faith comes by hearing, and here she had heard of the God of Israel and just hearing that the steering that was sufficient to leader faith in the true God. Interesting thought occurs to me at this point because I asked myself, from whom did she hear it.

I suspect the people from whom she heard it with the men who frequented our establishment say there probably was no greater place for gossip or for catching up on information in the house. Rahab the prostitute and they would have guess there one day who would say did you hear what happened in Egypt.

Now what happened in Egypt well was a great Exodus of people. They had been slaves, but there God's name is Jehovah there God brought judgments upon the Egyptians series of planks you know that there God turn the water of the Nile River to blot that there God multiplied naps and frogs in all sorts of insects so they infested the land that their gods brought on planes on the cattle so the cattle died that there God blotted out the sun so it was dark for a period of three days that there God killed the firstborn of all the land of Egypt is aware somebody else would say yeah.

Did you hear how they got out why there God parted the waters of the Red Sea is vast number of people billions of them. I hear crossover the Red Sea on dry land. When they got on the other side the armies of the Egyptians were chasing them.

They followed them into the Red Sea and there God at the water come back in a drown. All the armies of the Pharaoh.

Somebody else would say, those people are still around because not so long ago hearing the other side of the Jordan. The attacks I monologue to kings of the Amorites, and they destroyed the completely I say I find that interesting because all of the Bible certainly does not endorse the prostitution. It was in the context of my kind of life that Rahab heard what became the good news is, as long as that's true, you can never say as we sometimes tend to say well I despair of the salvation of so-and-so. Our or I just don't see any hope in that situation why there's so much sin there so much disobedience. Things are so bad. How could God possibly work there. God delights to work in situations like that one is a story Rahab stands in the Bible we was never despair of the salvation of anyone. We certainly was never despair about ourselves. So here's the story the woman with no advantages at all except for the fact that she heard about the God of Israel, letter to faith.

As I said, you know that this woman is praise twice in the New Testament for faith. One of the places in which she is praise for faith is a great 11th chapter of Hebrews, which contains a roster of the heroes and heroines of the faith says over there in verse 31, by faith, the prostitute Rahab because she welcomed the spies was not killed with those were disobedient short reference was a good one. And as long as references are given for Jacob and Joseph a number of the others who are mentioned, then again, James praises her for her faith in the second chapter verse 25 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. Save what James is saying what Hebrews says as well as that hers was a true faith because it was based on knowledge and its resulted in action S action and saving the Jewish spies is even more than this when you begin to think of what Rahab did and when you put that in the context of our culture only was faith a genuine faith expressing itself in action. Her faith was probably Clay because it was exercise a great danger and near isolation, think what you did.

First of all, she put her life on the line. Jericho was in a nice city. This wasn't a pleasant suburb somewhere. This was a military outpost and in the military outpost, especially in wartime. You do not take the existence of traders widely if instead of taking our word for it going away and reporting to the King spies left the city before the gates were closed, so they set off in pursuit in the wrong direction instead of that the messengers had said to Rahab, but we don't believe what you're telling us we can search her house.

They had gone.

And on top of the roof and pounds buys hiding there on the flax and got back and told the king Rahab would've been arrested on the spot taken before the king undoubtedly tortured and killed, perhaps in the cruelest way possible and probably her family would've been killed as well as I say this was not a nice environment. Yet Rahab but her life on the line Rahab race all in order to identify with what she perceived by the work of God in your heart to be the truth concerning the Jewish God. Secondly, Rahab turned her back on her own people listen wartime Jews were sets against the inhabitants of Jericho.

Indeed, for the inhabitants of the entire land of this was awarded the death the inhabitants of Jericho know that if the Jews succeeded in over running the city they would kill everybody and, by contrast, if the citizens of Jericho in one of the Canaanites and one they would've killed all the Jews was that kind of environment, and yet here was Rahab the Amorites citizen of Jericho all week and I would live there all her life. Nevertheless, turning her back on her entire past water people because of her conviction of who God really was what God required of her and not only that, but only if you lay her life on the line and turn her back on her people. She was prepared and actually did identify with the new people. The Jewish people. She said as wealth sent to her mother-in-law, Naomi, your people shall be my people and your God my God, that's what Rahab was doing.

She literally was separated from the environment in which she lived and was incorporated in the covenant people of Israel, the Jewish state, and you know I want you to think about that because when God took Rahab in the Israel did not take Rahab in the Israel as a second-class citizen. Hers was not a second-class salvation, she was not a Gibeonites Gibeonites. You know, deceive the people were going to come to their story and because of the deception, although they promise to save their lives, they weren't branded full status. They were to be hewers of wood and drawers of water, they were servants, slaves was not the case with Rahab. Rahab was received. Apparently, from the beginning with tall stature in the Jewish And, moreover, she married in the Jewish By the grace of God through that marriage actually became an ancestor of our Savior Lord Jesus Christ was a prince, Judah among the Jews, whose name was Solomon. Solomon married Rahab and their son was Boaz Boaz was the one who married Ruth from them came over and then came Jesse, and Jesse was the father King David. We know that from King David, the Lord Jesus Christ and that line of descent.

Marvelous.

I got this woman, a Gentile and Amorite, a prostitute and saved her simply through hearing about the Jewish God and out of her environment and incorporated her among the company of his people so that you actually married and to align the produce Lord Jesus Christ. I started out by saying that this is a story of God's mercy and needed is now let me say as I close, it's also our story, we understand it correctly. Where Rahab's of this world when the spies arrange to save her life. They said that she was to tie a scarlet cord in her window sword with which to let the spies down and I was to mark the house and nobody was to touch it and so she was saved by this marked the start of court back in church history going all the way back to Clement of Rome, there has been tendency to trace that scarlet cord as it were, through Scripture, it's been related to the blood of Christ. It's called the line of the blood scarlet cord going all the way back from Abel's sacrifice of the Lamb and the garden of Eden, the whole way up to Calvary and and the audit is through the mark of the blood that were saved. I don't know whether that's reading too much into it or not. Maybe it certainly powerful symbol and there is this connection with the blood what she was to do is strikingly parallel what the Jewish people were to do at the time of the Exodus from Egypt when they were to take the blood of the lab and marked the lintel and the doorpost of their house. So the angel of death might pass over this scarlet cord, red like the blood marked her house so in the destruction.

She was not destroyed is not parallel but as I say I don't know whether that's reading too much into it or not, but what I do know is whether the symbolism points to this.

Her story is nevertheless our story because our background is her background and our salvation is exactly what she experienced as we are separated from the advantages of Israel. Most of us. We haven't had the law on the covenants and the promises in the worship but all of those things as an hour person.

Furthermore, we have been part of dwell in the midst of the wicked people and we have our own since it might not of been the sin of prostitution, though it may have been, but whatever it is, so our sin. We know what it is and so in our alienated stage like the citizens of Jericho. We have found ourselves from the judgment of God, waiting, that which is certainly due to us for our sin and what happened. God allowed us to hear the gospel good news to find out who he was, that the real God is not the gods of the people among whom we live those falls those images we throw up, to make ourselves feel better about the real God, the God of the Old Testament, the God of the New Testament, the God of Jesus Christ, the God who died for us to provide our salvation and we had messengers, representatives, all that God teaches about him, and by the grace of God. Just as in the case of Rahab. We believe that that faith produces works of us. We began to live differently. We began bullet was Rahab did against the world because you see our situation now is the situation in which she found herself between the moment of her belief in the time of her deliverance when Jericho was destroyed by car. We live in the midst of that kind of a pagan city. We believe on God, the true God, but the deliverance we anticipate is not yet so we live in faith and we live boldly against culture because it's a culture. Contrary to the culture of our God we say is Rahab did, that the nations did all the other great saints of God, their own historical situations were thousands upon thousands of years here I stand against the world because I stand for God and his righteousness. One of my to say to you if you're a person who in the symbolism of the story is not like Rahab but is still living in Jericho, living there in unbelief.

You may be deluding yourself. You may be looking around the walls. You may be saying because I guess this is what the citizens of Jericho said well we don't have a lot of fear is a big, thick walls as were surrounded by our secular battlements were safe besides Jericho is been here for thousands of years. Jericho, interestingly enough, is the oldest city in the face of the earth, how long our secular culture has endured. Lookouts also are why will write we don't need the God of Israel and yet I wonder if it's not the case as it was the citizens of Jericho that internally your heart is failing you with fear you're saying to yourself what it is God really is all powerful. One of his God really is the true God. One of this God really does demand righteousness and holiness of life. One of the really is a final judgment.

What if I must really stand before it one day.

You got to that point by me say you don't have to remain in unbelief any longer. Rahab must've been there herself at one time but she passed from unbelief to faith. She passed from unbelief to faith. She passed only from the kingdom of the Amorites and of the kingdom of the Jewish past the kingdom of Satan's darkness of the kingdom of God's light. That's what you need. Why not tonight need only to put your life in the hands of God and say I know that that's the true God, and that's the God I'm going to follow regardless of the standards or pressures of my culture, that God will save you is done before that God would do it again that God will do it now if your trust is Rahab did this prior father.

We know we can't produce that faith in ourselves. It's your work through the hearing of the word, but you were here you are working. The word is preached, we don't ask you to work in the lives of some right now for your great glory. You are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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