Friday, November 17, 2006

Book Club: 30th November 2006

This fortnight we are reading the Chapter on 'Rahab: A Horrible Life Redeemed' Pages 51-67 of '12 Extraordinary Woman'

Please post your comments here...


Ames said...

Notes from Book Club - November 30:

We all really enjoyed reading Rahab! Some of us even read the chapter twice!.

The story of Rahab stands out as an amazing example of Gods unmerited and free grace towards sinners.
‘She is a reminder that God by His grace can redeem even the most horrible life.’ pg 67

Rahab's unlikely background:

“As far as the record of her life is concerned, there was no redeeming qualities whatsoever about Rahab’s life up to this point. On the contrary, she would have been in the very basement of the moral hierarchy in a Gentile culture what was itself as thoroughly degenerate and as grossly pagan as any society in world history. She was a moral bottom-feeder.” Pg 52

What a damning description of Rahab. The lowest of the low. NS looked up ‘Bottom Feeder’ to get a better picture of what John McArthur was getting at. The definition she came up with was, ‘an opportunist, who profits from others misfortunes’.

It seems she was very practiced in her profession, well prepared for hiding people and obviously did well out of her work. Given that she lived in prime real estate on the wall of Jericho.

John McArthur noted that people have tried to water down the depth of Rahab's depravity, ashamed of such a women being in the lineage of Grace. But as he quotes Spurgeon: ‘This woman was no mere hostess, but a real harlot… I am persuaded that nothing but a spirit of distaste for free grace would ever have led any commentator to deny her sin.’ pg 67… The depth of her sin only magnifies the glory of Gods Grace.

Sometimes we see the immoral and sinful behaviour of others and think that they are lost, that salvation doesn’t seem possible. It is wrong to think that the measure of sin equates to the likelihood or not of salvation. Not only should we remember that none of us deserve salvation as we are all sinful, but we should be encouraged by Rahab’s story that God can still give the gift of grace to the most depraved sinner.

Rahab's expression of faith:

“I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you” pg 61 (Joshua 2)

It was interesting to note that Rahab, though she had never met an Israelite until this point, new of God. They had all heard accounts of the exodus, and of their military strength. She had probably grown up with the stories, as the exodus would have been 40 years before this! They were fainthearted… Did Rahab fear for her soul? Or was it simply a fear of what would happen when the Israelites came to stay? It is clear though that she new God was on Israel’s side Josh 2:10.

“Rahab's actions in protecting the spies involved the telling of a lie. Was that justified?... I see no need to justify Rahab's lie. Was it necessary for a greater good? Certainly not. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego might have escaped punishment by lying too.” Pg 59.

The lying question is difficult. Whilst we all understood that God cannot lie, and that lying is wrong under all circumstances. We all felt that if pressed in similar circumstances, rightly or wrongly we would find it difficult not to lie or mislead. We discussed situations such as those who harboured Jews in World War II. If you know that someone faces death if you reveal their whereabouts, is it wrong to lie, and say you don’t know where they are?

Gods amazing Grace…. Isn’t extraordinary that God chose a woman like Rahab, such as she was, to not only help his people, and save her, but that he chose her for the line of Christ. What a remarkable honour. What a wonderful picture of Gods grace!

deb said...

Hey there everyone! Am officially a "blogger" now apparently! (to Andrew's great amusement!)
I missed last week's book club :( and must confess I haven't actually read the chapter yet BUT loved Amy's post ..... I have read a booklet entitled "Was Rahab's lie a sin?" .... anyone else heard of or read that?? Michael has often made comment about whether or not people are entitled to the information they are asking for.... Say in the example of the war, you could argue that if the soldiers were intending to kill the people you were hiding, you don't need to lie or mislead... just say that they (the soldiers) are not entitled to that information. Of course that puts you in a precarious situation regarding your own personal saftey but seems much more in line with what Jesus did.... Can't think of an exact Scripture off the top of my head but He often didn't answer the Scribes and Pharisees when they were asking things they were not entitled to know...
Love to know the rest of your thoguhts about this chapter especially as I missed chatting about it on Thurs .... and hi to Sharon & Heidi who I don't know :)

S White said...

Hello everyone(and a special 'hello' back to Deb :) I look forward to meeting you all soon :)

I've really enjoyed reading this book and thought Amy's summary of this chapter was fantastic.

This comment refers to Page 60 of the book "She had obviously developed a great curiousity about YHWH from the tales of His dealings with Israel. Now that she had met flesh-and-blood people who knew Him and worshiped Him, she was ready to throw her lot in with them."

This paragraph raised a question in my mind as to whether Rahab's blossoming curiousity in YHWH would have been diminished if the spies had treated her with less 'dignity and respect' (Page 57).

If the spies had instead been critical and judgmental of her and treated her with disdain (she was, after all, a harlot and one of their enemies), I wonder if things could have turned out differently for her, and consequently her family?

By the time the spies reached Rahab's house they would, presumably,have been weary after their long and arduous journey. They would also have been under considerable pressure, as they had important work to do in a minimum amount of time, while trying to remain undetected.

Yet, even though tired and under stress, the spies treated Rahab with 'patient dignity and respect', taking the time to explain who they were and talk to her about YHWH (page 57).

This makes me think about how I act when I'm tired and stressed out :|. This part of Rahab's story helped me to see the significance the impression I give to others has(especially those I encounter who are strangers to me and who are different from me). Everyday words, tone, attitudes and actions toward other people really do matter!

Ames said...

Thanks for your comments Deb and Sharon.

Deb, do you know the author of that little booklet 'Was Rahabs Lie a Sin?' or where I could get it. I'd like to read it.

I had always wondered, how, these Isrealites came to be hiding in the place of a harlot. I had never considered before that they would have chosen to stay there, because of the understood need for discretion pg 56. So they obviously clearly new what she was. The Isrelites dignified treatment of her pg 57, was probably not something she was used to from men. Most men probably only came to her with one purpose.

I thought Sharons point about not being Judgemental to those who are different than us was good, and it harkens back to what we read in Elizabeth Georges 'A Womans Walk with God'... as christians we are called to love the unlovely. (like Rahab).