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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Colonial home near Valley Forge PA
A colonial era home near Valley Forge PA decorated for Christmas

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"Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab" (Matthew 1:5). "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient" (Hebrews 11:31).

I received an email with an interesting perspective. A reader shared how she tried to read Matthew and Luke each Christmas season. In reading the names in the genealogies she noted, "I make myself read every one, even if I can't pronounce them. The way my thinking goes is this: 'If this person was important enough for God to make sure they are listed in the Bible, it's important enough for me to read it.'"

RahabToday let us note the second woman mentioned in Matthew's genealogical record of Christ (Matthew 1:5). Rahab's story begins in Joshua 2 where she courageously hid the Israelite spies as they were being pursued by the King's messengers of Jericho. She then helped them to escape by lowering them out a window over the city wall on a rope. And then later, as a guarantee for her family's safety, she placed a scarlet cord out the window signifying her faith.

The final mention of her in the Old Testament is in Joshua 6:25 where we read that "she lives among the Israelites to this day."  I find it interesting that none of the Old Testament narratives or genealogies refer to her after this and specifically her marriage to Salmon who is listed in Matthew's genealogy: "Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab."

Scarlet cordScarlet cord
Dr. W. A. Criswell wrote, "Rahab the harlot is an example of the grace of God at work. Her salvation was not based on her character or merits: she lived in a doomed city, practiced a condemned profession, engaged in subversive activities, and falsified [lied about] her actions. Nevertheless she acted upon faith, and was spared the judgment of God which was executed at the hands of the Israelites."

Both references to Rahab in the New Testament epistles specifically call attention to Rahab's background as a prostitute (Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25).  But she is commended for her faith and obedience in assisting the Israelites.

Some may wonder what business the Israelite spies had staying in the house of a prostitute which was likely also an inn.  We could speculate that it would also have been a good place for strangers to enter and gain information without undue suspicion!

Rahab was not a member of the covenant community nor was she bound to its moral laws.  Yet, after hearing the miraculous stories of the Red Sea crossing and their great military defeats, she was observant and had a great sense that these spies would conquer her homeland of Jericho as she said to them, "I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us…" (Joshua 2:9).

I believe there's a great lesson in her purposeful inclusion in the genealogy of Christ.  Rahab was certainly not deserving of salvation on the basis of any type of her own merit. But God saw her faith, rewarded her obedience in tying the scarlet cord in the window, and she is an early example of His grace.

But that's not all.  God used her to fulfill His plan. In the providence of God she married one of her Israelite conquerors and with him bore an ancestor of the Messiah.  If God can save and use Rahab the harlot He can surely save and use each one of us!  Like her, we're a trophy of grace, a masterpiece of His mercy and nothing we've done could deserve His great love.

What's your past like?  For some it's like Rahab.  But God hasn't changed.  He's still saving, transforming and using lives today! This message applies to every reader and to those for whom you are praying to be saved.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we think of Rahab's obedience in hanging the scarlet cord from the window of her home which brought safety and deliverance for her and all her household.  It would seem that the scarlet cord is symbolic of the blood of the Passover lamb that was posted on the houses of the Israelites during their mighty deliverance from captivity in Egypt.  And, on the personal level, when we receive Jesus as our Savior we post His sinless blood on the doors of our hearts so that we are freed from the captivity of Satan's tyranny.  We are protected from our deserved judgment for sins, because Your Son, Jesus, bore our sins for us.  Thank You for making provision for us just as the spies made provision for Rahab.  But even greater is that Your provision for salvation is not just for this life but for all eternity.  We give You thanks in Jesus name.  Amen.

The story of Rahab is found in Joshua 2

Yesterday's message prompted an interesting response from a reader named Tamara: "Today's gave me a chuckle I thought I would pass along. The title of today's message caught my attention, and the irony of the introduction being about names and pronunciations.  My formal name is: Tamara (hence why the email subject caught my attention), my maiden name was Knight.  Tamara was meant to be pronounced like "camera" but with a "t", but  more commonly is pronounced "tomora" (like "tomorrow"). So I grew up with the name: Tamara Knight (Tomorrow Night)."

Follow Up Note to Yesterday's Request:  Thanks to many who responded to our request to send a word of encouragement to our new sister in Christ, Mary Lou, as she is in the last stages of lung cancer at our local hospice.  I copied the notes over to a single file and delivered eight pages of caring notes to her last night.  Then Ester and I joined with her and her daughter, Christy, in singing a number of Christmas carols.  Mary Lou sang along when she could.  She was deeply touched by your notes and very much surprised.  We will deliver any notes that continue to be addressed to her.

2008 Coal Delivery
Another photo collection for the terminally curious.
2008 coal delivery to Weber's home
Yesterday our 2008 coal was delivered.
(We had some left from last year to carry us this far into the season.)
How would you like to have the driver's job here!

2008 coal delivery to Weber's home
The coal slides from the truck down the chute into the bin. The four tons I ordered filled the bin and should last well into next year's heating season. I take the coal into the house in two large buckets once a day and fill the hopper behind the stove. From the hopper the coal is slowly fed to the fire. I also have to empty the ash pan and dispose of the ash. The stove essentially heats our entire home with a little electric heat assist on really cold days.

Coal stove burner
Inside the stove the burner is white hot.

Roxie and Dottie in front of stove
On a cold, wintry night our pets enjoy laying in front of the stove.
They have never thanked me, not once.

Brooksyne at coal stove
When it's really cold Brooksyne enjoys working in front of the stove.
She regularly expresses appreciation for this warm spot in our house!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"My Tribute"  Video  This song was sung at our wedding in Sapulpa Oklahoma in 1976.

"Trophy Of Grace"  Video
  A great message in a song and band I had never heard of before.  Lyrics  (Actually I was looking for another song with the same title!)

Today's message calls to mind a book by one of the great Bible teachers of the last century, William Graham Scroggie,  It's titled "The Unfolding Drama Of Redemption."

The Unfolding Drama of RedemptionThe Unfolding Drama of Redemption By W. Graham Scroggie / Kregel Publications
Get your front row seats now for the greatest drama ever---God's plan of salvation for humanity! Organized like a dramatic play, this classic traces the theme of redemption through each book of the Bible with careful scholarship and a thorough analysis of its content and history. 1413 pages in three ''acts,'' hardcover from Kregel. Note: This is a very heavy book (both literally and figuratively) and is not for the faint of heart.  It would be more like a winter reading project for the serious student.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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