Shameless: Rahab: Pretty Little Liar

Introduction: We’ve all used labels. We stick them on jars and manila folders so we’ll know what’s inside. They allow us to choose the right size shirt. They help us determine which grade of gasoline we are putting into our car or truck.  We also stick them on people for the same reason. Most of us have experienced having a label attributed to us. Often, we are mislabeled. As Christians we need to make a concerted effort against employing the types of labels that often keep people from seeing God through us.

Something To Talk About:

  1. It’s not what you were that matters, it is what you can become: Before Israel showed up outside the walls of Jericho, Rahab wore a label. Her neighbors and fellow citizens knew her as Rahab the prostitute. But that’s not all. Rahab was also a Canaanite-who were the hated enemies of Israel. And she was a woman. Her most exemplary deed was telling a lie. Think about all that for a second. A prostitute, a Canaanite, a woman and a liar. You would think she would be nothing but a footnote in the Bible, but think again. She became more than her label. She was a woman of faith. You don’t have to take my word for it. Hebrews 11:31 says, “It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”
  2. I have labels, but I am going to take a faith risk this week: Faith always means risk. Everything in life is a risk. Ecclesiastes 10:8 says, “When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake.”   There’s nothing we can do that doesn’t have some element of risk in it. When God challenges you with a risk of faith, take the risk and be confident that He has a plan and purpose behind every roster of faith you take.

Questions:

  1. What comes to mind when we talk about being labeled?  How have you labeled people?  How have people labeled you?  How have those labels affected you? 
  2. In your mind is labeling someone the same as judging them?  Why or why not? 
  3. Do you feel that some sins in your past or present are so terrible that they can’t be forgiven or that you are unworthy to serve God? How does Rahab’s story encourage you?
  4. Reflect on your own personality. Would you describe yourself as a risk-taker? Why or why not?
  5. What can we do to take a faith risk this week? 

Take One Thing Home with You

Rahab the prostitute. She couldn’t shake that label. You’ve probably felt like her before. Stuck with a label you really didn’t want. Sure, you may have lived up to it at one time, but you’ve moved on and that’s not who you are anymore. It’s who you were, but it is not who you are now. And although you’ve let it go, they can’t. They simply can’t see you for who you are now because you have been labeled.

Think about Rahab. When she entered the picture, she was a prostitute, but that’s not how her story ended. I love this story. I love seeing how God takes a person whose future looked bleak, and rescues them. It is what God does. The spies showed up to scout out the land, and they ended up on Rahab’s doorstep. We don’t know why. She had heard about these people and their God. She knew of His power and His abilities. And so she hid the men when the authorities showed up. She saved their lives, and in return, she asked that they save hers. She said, “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.”. (Joshua 2:12-13) 

They could have lied. But they were men of integrity, men who had given a stranger, a woman they just happened upon, their word. And so the day that the walls fell, Rahab and her family were saved from death and added to the people of Israel, to God’s chosen ones.

God looks past our labels. Our faith can lead us to a renewed life, restored life, and life everlasting.