Good evening, friends!
Yesterday I shared a devotional with my coworkers at our weekly “small team” meeting. We’re absolutely blessed to work in an environment where faith is an apparent component of the culture. For those of us who are believers, we are not pressured to censure ourselves when speaking about our faith and are able to encourage one another through God’s word. It’s a big deal!
Anyway, back to the devo. I was feeling very nervous. As I told my team, intentionally sharing God’s word with them was somewhat outside my comfort zone. I’m used to speaking to a class full of third graders in small chairs on Sunday morning in a blue-painted classroom, not a conference room full of my peers. Still, I barreled forward, reminding them (as if I hadn’t talked about it enough at the time) of the week in July when I taught a class of fourth graders in VBS.
On the second night of VBS, the prescribed lesson was on Rahab and the spies.
Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. Joshua 2:1
My lesson book gave me two pieces of advice about sharing this verse with “middle elementary”-age students:
- Avoid saying “Shittim,” and
- Gloss over Rahab’s occupation.
Being me, I didn’t take either piece of advice. I just read the verse with a straight face, without pausing, and the kids didn’t even blink. (It’s possible they weren’t listening to me. Kidding! I had an amazing, attentive class.)
I continued on through the rest of the Bible story, summarizing Joshua 1-2 for them. I told them how Joshua had taken over leading the Israelites after Moses died, and how God repeatedly commands Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (1:6, 1:7, 1:9) as the Israelites pursued the promised land. The people prepared to cross the Jordan River and Joshua, as a good leader, sent spies into Jericho for recon. The spies found Rahab, and she sheltered them in her home.
However, the king learned that the spies were in Jericho. He sent someone to ask around, and Rahab lied right to his face. She admitted that the spies had come, but she said that she sent them away. It turns out that Rahab knew that the spies were God’s people; she had heard all about God’s power:
…and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Joshua 2:9-11
Rahab asked for the Israelites to spare her family when they took Jericho. They agreed, and the rest is history. When Isreal took Jericho in chapter 6, Joshua kept that promise (verses 22-25).
Returning to the recap of my VBS lesson, I told my coworkers how, when teaching this lesson, I ended up “confronting” Rahab’s sins with the fourth graders. As a harlot, Rahab was habitually sinful, and even within the story above, she flat-out lied. God still used her to do accomplish a great thing in the history of Israel.
My fourth graders had precisely zero issues with accepting this truth. They had no trouble understanding that God will still use someone so blatantly sinful, someone who believes in Him. In fact, it can be pretty easy to talk to kids about sin.
It’s much harder for adults. It’s harder for me.
I didn’t feel the need to discuss what sin is with my coworkers; as believers, we tend to be well aware of the “definitions and examples” of sin. However, we often have complicated feelings about our sin:
- We feel shame regarding our sin and don’t want others to know about it; this mentality often leads us to feel protective of our sin.
- Worse still, we feel comfortable in our sin.
I am absolutely guilty of both of these! In my ministry, I spend time worrying that God won’t use me due to my mistakes, instead of spending that time actively fleeing my sin.
With the remaining time in my devo, I chose to remind myself and my coworkers of God’s promises regarding sin in the following verses:
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Throughout all time, in every conceivable situation…God is faithful.
He kept His promise to Rahab.
He kept His promise to send a savior. (This is key: we must remember that we need Jesus because God hates sin!)
And He will keep His promise to make you a new creation worthy of being used for His glory.
The bottom line, as I told my coworkers, is that when you are struggling with sin, always turn to God’s word and remember His promises. Those listed above are just a few! He wants you to be liberated from your sin and sanctified for your ministry.