This has been our final week studying Rahab, and she has been a really inspiring character to learn about. Despite having no Jewish connections, she recognised God’s sovereignty, and risked her life to shelter his spies. She was a prostitute, yet God placed her in the lineage of Jesus. She was rewarded for her faith and her actions.
Our final verse on Rahab has been one from the New Testament: James 2:25-26.
In this passage, James gives examples of people’s actions accompanied by their faith. He gives examples of people who speak blessings over people who are in need, but do nothing to relieve their physical needs. James tells us that faith expresses itself in works.
So what is our faith if we do not do good works?
Rahab’s faith was evidenced by her actions. She believed, and immediately put herself and her family at risk of death by hiding the spies.
James gives us two examples from the Old Testament: Rahab and Abraham. I love that – a man and a woman. The father of the faith and a prostitute, given equal weighting in this chapter of James. Doesn’t this illustrate the incredible, redemptive love of God? Abraham made huge mistakes, as we looked at in the stories of Sarah and Hagar, and Rahab was a prostitute from Jericho. In so many ways, she is such an unlikely heroine, but here she is, mentioned in the New Testament as an example of faith and deeds.
I love that God uses us, no matter our background. I love that we’re challenged to do good works. I know that doing good, or living a moral life, does not save us – only the gracious love of God does that.
So what ‘works’ could we do?
Recently, I was reading Psalm 146. These verses, about what God does, stood out to me, verses 6-9.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
Shouldn’t we take these as our guidelines? To care for the earth, the sea and everything in them; to uphold the cause of the oppressed; to give food to the hungry; to set the prisoners free; to give sight to the blind; to lift up those who are bowed down; to watch over the foreigner; to sustain the fatherless and the widow and to frustrate the ways of the wicked?
Our works should align with God’s purpose. Our purpose is to love him, to worship him, to serve him and to share the gospel.
So this study leaves us with a challenge. What do we do? What works do we look for? How, through our deeds, do we serve God?
Next, we look at Mary Magdalene – another fascinating women. We’ll start by discussing Luke 8:2-3 : “…some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.”
Do come and join us in our Mummy Meditations community over on Facebook and join in the discussion. I’ll be doing the summary post again next week here on the blog.