God Gives Mercy Because God Is God
"And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: For the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death." (Joshua 2:11-13)
Rahab was a sinner saved by God's grace. She had been a godless woman living in a godless city, Jericho. One day, two spies from the children of Israel came to see Rahab's city, because their leader Joshua had told them to. God was going to help the children of Israel fight and take over the whole city of Jericho.
Of all the houses the spies could have visited, they visited Rahab's. Rahab had a bad reputation. She had done many bad things, and she was a low woman in her city. But Rahab took the spies in and protected them from the leaders of Jericho who came searching for them. She helped the spies, showing them kindness, and gave them guidance for how to escape. Do you know why?
All the people of Jericho had heard about the children of Israel and what their God had done for them. They had heard about how God opened up a dry path through the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross in safety, and then how the Egyptian army was drowned when they followed them and God brought down the waters on them. The people of Jericho had also heard about how God fought with the Israelites. And the people of Jericho were scared that they would be next.
Was Rahab like the rest of her people? Was she scared of the children of Israel and their God? Yes! So why did she show kindness to Israelite spies? Rahab was not just scared of God. She believed in Him. She believed that the God of the Israelites was the one true God, everywhere and over all.
Rahab believed God, and she feared Him. But in spite of her fear, she had the faith to ask for goodness and mercy and deliverance from death. Based on what she knew of the Israelites' God, based on all that He had already done, she asked for mercy for herself and her family. The Israelite spies agreed. They promised that when they came to take over Jericho, they would protect anyone who was in her house.
Even though Rahab knew she was a sinner who did not deserve mercy, she asked for help from the only ones who could help her. She was not asking for mercy based on all the things that she had already done. How could she? But she knew enough about God and all the things He had done. She could ask for mercy, in spite of herself and in spite of her fear, because she trusted that He was the kind of God Who shows mercy to people who turn to Him.
God is the kind of God Who shows mercy to undeserving people who call upon Him for help.
» Am I trusting in the God of the Bible, or in myself?
» On what basis can I hope to have mercy from God – based on my own good deeds? based on how well I pray?
» How can I show by my actions that my faith is placed in the one true God?
Truth In Real Life
“I esteem it the duty of every Christian to seek the advancement of the cause of Christ more truly than they are wont to their own favorite objects.”
Marcus Whitman, who became a famous pioneering medical missionary, was born in New York on September 4, 1802. He was just 7 years old when his father died. Whitman wanted to become a doctor and a missionary. Unable to decide between the two, he chose both! He felt called of God to go to the West – states such as Montana and Idaho were just being developed – and he wanted to take the Gospel to those who had never heard.
One weekend, he met a woman named Narcissa Prentiss who wanted to travel to the West as a missionary but was unable to go because she was single. He agreed to marry her that weekend – and together, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman became one of the most famous missionary teams in history.
In 1836, the Whitmans, along with a group of other missionaries, joined a caravan of fur traders traveling to the West. They traveled farther west than any American group had traveled before, setting up several Christian missions and sharing the Gospel as they went.
Whitman built missions, led Christian meetings, and served as a doctor. Narcissa ran her household, helped her husband, and taught school. Along with being used by God to share the Gospel, the Whimans became famous for leading the first party of wagon trains along the Oregon Trail. Thousands of immigrants followed in their footsteps to make the West what it is today.
Sadly, the Whitmans and their motives were misunderstood. They ended up being killed by the same people they had desired to help and tried so hard to reach. But God used them to spread His Gospel and to encourage pioneer missionary workers in the future.
Courage can be contagious. Do you have the courage to serve God and to do what it takes to advance His cause? Do you think His Gospel is worth giving your life to share?
Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.