Daily Office Readings – Old Testament ( Joshua 2:1-14 )
Today the Old Testament passage was about the two spies that Joshua sent into Jericho and their interaction with the prostitute Rahab. I’ve read this story multiple times, and for whatever reason, today what jumped out at me was not the fact that Rahab was a prostitute, but that Rahab the prostitute had discernment far clearer than the king of Jericho.
Rahab hid the men and lied to the king of Jericho to protect them. And then she tells them that she knows that God has already given the land of Jericho to the Israelites. So she makes a request for the safety of herself and her family. She not only chooses to trust the two spies but also to place her trust in God, that God would deal kindly with her family. We know how the story turns out; Rahab and her entire family are spared when the mighty trumpets of Israel knock down the walls of Jericho.
The king, and all the people of Jericho knew that the Israelites had been conquering the land, and they were full of fear. The king and his men wanted to find the spies to kill them. Rahab, on the other hand, could have handed over the men, but instead understood the plan that God had already set in motion and acted with greater wisdom than the king; the king himself could have made a deal with the spies, just as Rahab did, but instead his entire people were lost because he wanted to defeat the Israelites, rather than making peace with them. He chose to fight against God, essentially. And he lost mightily.
Back to Rahab.
She was a prostitute. A profession not commonly desired, nor respected, by most people.
Most people would simply dismiss her opinion or her entire person because of her chosen profession. And yet she shows wisdom, true wisdom in seeking to save the lives of her entire family because she knows that God has already decided what the future will hold for the Israelites. This woman who would be cast aside by most respectable people, showed incredible discernment and wisdom.
This little revelation struck me because I had to think back to how often I’ve made snap judgments about people based on anything from their profession, to how they dress, all the way down to what music they listen to. Seriously. I’ve judged the entirety of someone based on their musical choices – which in itself is ironic, because I listen to heavy metal and most people would quickly dismiss me based on my own choice of music.
Making these snap judgments is not something I’m proud of, but something I recognize as part of my personality: I am prone to judging others. And even though I have worked diligently to rid myself of this sort of behavior, when I am tired, exhausted, or just plain grumpy, I can easily revert back to this tendency to dismiss people who I deem to have nothing to teach me. It is a bit disheartening to think of how often I might have failed to hear God’s words because I judged the messenger.
Back in seminary, when my friends and I might have felt a bit unworthy, or felt like we lacked the skills necessary to engage in our calling, we would remind ourselves about God’s ability to use anyone or anything to spread his message. It went by way of a joke:
“If God can speak through Balaam’s ass, he can certainly speak through me.”
How quickly we can unlearn our lessons…