Herald Journal Columns
April 3, 2006, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

God’s grace is for each of us

Rev. Robert Hellmann, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran, Montrose

The spring sun shone bright and warm on the young woman. From her high-rise, she looked out over the valley at the distant river.

But the magnificent view failed to calm her troubled heart. She felt degraded by her life as a prostitute.

Her conscience railed against her. How could any god accept her, considering the kind of life she was living?

Across the river, a large foreign army was encamped, threatening her city with destruction. Her worthless life might be finished in just a few days.

Then, two men knocked at her door. They were dressed like men of the city, but it was clear by their talk that they were spies from the enemy camp.

She was at a crisis point. She could turn them over to the king and get a reward.

But why do that? The men of the city had never done anything but degrade her and use her. Turning these two men in would delay the city’s doom by a few days, at most.

What if she would help them and throw her lot in with their people — and their God? She had heard of the great things that the Lord had done for His people, how He had delivered them and given them victory over all their enemies.

She said to the men, “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” In contrast, the gods of her people were nothing but worthless superstitions.

The woman? Rahab. The city? Jericho. The spies? Sent by Joshua just before he led Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land.

Rahab quickly acted on the spark of faith that God had put in her heart. She hid the spies from the king’s men, gave them advice on how to avoid capture, and let them down by a rope from her high-rise on the city wall.

In return, they took an oath that she and her father’s house would be saved when Israel destroyed this heathen city at God’s command.

The rest is history: Jericho was destroyed. Israel conquered the Promised Land and made it their home. Rahab and her family became part of Israel.

But there’s more to the story. Rahab married an Israelite man and had a family.

There’s still more. One of her descendants was David of Bethlehem, Israel’s greatest king.

The story gets even better. Centuries later, she became an ancestor of an even greater king: Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

This Jesus, who is God and man in one person, suffered the punishment for the sins of each one of us. His suffering and death redeemed us from sin, death, and hell. That’s what Lent is all about.

Why, then, should we use our lives to serve sin? There is nothing to gain by that. No matter how bad our sins are, Jesus invites us to come to him, have forgiveness, and be part of his people.

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. May God give us all faith like Rahab’s to trust His Word and promises.

May He give us the spiritual strength and courage to do His will, and witness for Him every day in this increasingly evil and godless world.

Note: You can read the whole story about Rahab in Joshua 2; 6:20-25; Matthew 1:5-6; Hebrews 11:31. Read the story of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection in Matthew 26-28, or at the end of Mark, Luke, and John.

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