Faith is one word that received a great deal of Bible coverage. You could open your Bible to almost any page and not have to scroll very far to come across this word. Most especially if you opened your Bible to Hebrews chapter 11. Faith appears in every verse. No wonder I’ve heard the chapter described by many as the “Hall of Faith”.
The chapter begins with a definition of faith:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
If one can see it, faith isn’t required. If someone were to ask me how I know that the Bible isn’t a book of fiction, I would have a one word answer: FAITH. If someone were to ask me how I knew the Lord saved me when I prayed and ask Him decades ago, I’d have the same one word answer.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Salvation is a gift but it doesn’t come wrapped up in a package with a bow on top. It’s not something I can hold in my hands and show everybody that I have. At the moment of asking, I had to take the Lord on faith without hearing angels singing, or trumpets blowing or looking any different. I also didn’t turn into a 9-year-old angel either as my Mom could attest too.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.Hebrews 11:6
After salvation, faith is required to grow spiritually and closer to the Lord. Reading and talking about faith is the easy part. It is a whole another ballgame to live it. To follow a conviction on one’s heart, especially if it comes with a high risk or the potential to change every aspect of your life, requires that word again … faith. To take what’s on your plate, whether it be the size of a rain shower or a tsunami, requires this same word. I don’t have a problem saying a prayer to the Lord about a problem, but I do have a problem worrying about that problem within seconds of saying “Amen”.
This chapter contains a list of examples of those who had a story of faith. They are familiar names on the list such as Abraham, Noah, Daniel, etc.
Noah, for instance, didn’t build an ark because of what the sky was telling him. He built that ark because God told him too and if that’s the only reason for a decision made or an action taken, I can’t think of a better reason.
One of those listed who sticks out to me is a woman. She’s one of the few women mentioned. Another is she was a prostitute. One wouldn’t think that a prostitute would be on a list such as this one that includes the likes of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. But this chapter isn’t about almost perfect people. It’s about those who acted on faith and thus, Rahab qualified.
Rahab lived in the city of Jericho surrounded by a wall. Not far from the wall were the children of Israel led by Joshua. Joshua, through God’s guidance, had his eyes set on capturing the city. Before the battle, he sent in a couple of spies to check out what was behind that wall. The spies landed at the home of Rahab. Being a resident of Jericho, she was obligated to notify authorities but she did not. Authorities got word there were spies in their midst and they were at Rahab’s home. Authorities questioned Rahab as to their whereabouts and she admitted they had been in her home but had since left.
If authorities had known that Rahab had allowed the spies to hide on her roof, she probably would have been in big trouble. I don’t think authorities would have had any mercy on her for hiding spies and lying to them about it.
Why would she take such a risk for spies from the enemy camp?
Rahab had heard about the Israelites and their God. She believed what she heard about God giving His people victory over their enemies. She believed so strongly that Jericho would fall that she took this big risk. She didn’t have a crystal ball and could see into the future with her own eyes of the fall of Jericho. She was certain of what she could not see which is the definition of faith.
All Rahab asked in return for assisting the spies was that she and her household would be spared when Jericho fell. While Rahab waited for the fall to take place, she could have changed her mind and went to authorities. Being human, I’m sure she was tempted to change her mind, but she stayed on course all the way to the day when the wall fell and the Israelites overthrew the city. Rahab and her household were remembered.
I take comfort in Rahab’s story because if someone such as her who was a harlot could have a story of faith, then so can I. All of God’s children should have stories of faith in their everyday lives. The story doesn’t have to be a matter of life and death. It can be, but it can also be a simple gesture of kindness such as following the conviction on one’s heart to pay a visit or even just call a neighbor. It may be that neighbor was crying buckets the night before thinking no one cared. Your show of concern is like soothing ointment to their aching heart.
I recently received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome (high functional Autism). I take it on faith that the Lord directed me to the job of assisting special education classes where my paths crossed with a 12-year-old girl whose behavior mirrored my own. She was the lightning rod that led me down the path to a diagnosis. Now that a heavy fog has been lifted, I can use my autism to make the best of it. Living on the spectrum has its challenges, but it has its rewards too. I don’t believe I would have a passion for writing if I wasn’t living on the spectrum. I have since thanked the Lord for my autism. I can’t prove the Lord had anything to do with my path to a diagnosis. It’s a matter of that word again … FAITH!