“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psa. 136:1).
Let us consider how the Lord has used many people to show us that if we turn to him he will receive us. He warns us about those who do not turn to him: “Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up” (Psa. 28:5). The world entices us to set our affections on the works of men, rather than on God’s. If we are fully involved in the world there will be no time to seek God’s works to do them. How can we find out the works that God does? God has revealed much of what he has done through the scriptures. Note how many times God used David to point to His works.
- His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
- He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
- He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
- He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.
- The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
- They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness (Psalms 111:3-8).
Some think the work of God is only through the miracles. “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 8:29). Jesus directed them toward working the genuine works of God.
Just for a minute, consider the wonderful work God does in our physical bodies… “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psa. 139:14). As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all” (Eccl. 11:2). These are not miracles, but the “ordinary” work of God. Of course there is so much more…
Does God work through people? What about prophets and apostles? What about his miraculous witness to the same ‘people?’ What about the wonderful works he has made to be remembered—by the same people—and in the same way? We might consider studying the various accounts of how our Heavenly Father showed the world who he was through parting the waters of the Red Sea, stopping the Jordon, through Christ on the cross, etc. Should we look for these ways he worked through people to accomplish specific things for his other people? Let’s take a brief look at the work of one Gentile woman, whose life stands out gloriously in contrast to others from the Old Testament.
Her name was Rahab. She was the harlot in the wicked city of Jericho who hid two Hebrew spies, thus helping them to escape (Joshua 2:1-21; 6:17-25; Matt. 1:5). Rahab’s house was on the city wall of Jericho. She also manufactured and dyed linen, so she was able to secretly house the two spies whom Joshua sent to explore Jericho and help them escape by hiding them under stalks of flax on her roof (Joshua 2:6). Some question why she would reverence the God of Heaven when her own nation did not worship Jehovah. In Deuteronomy 2:25, the Lord said, “This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.”
Rahab refused to reveal the Israelite spies, but let them down the outside wall of Jericho by a rope through the window of her house (Joshua 2:15). When the Israelites captured Jericho, they promised to spare Rahab’s household if she would hang a scarlet cord from the window—a sign that a friend of God’s people lived inside. The Israelites agreed to save her father, mother, brothers, and her father’s entire household if they would wait for them inside Rahab’s house. No doubt when the Israelites saved Rahab and her family, they were gloriously welcomed to become a part of the Israelite nation. Furthermore, it is quite obvious that Rahab was not only welcomed into the nation of Israel but also ordained by God to be a blood line through which Jesus was born to Mary (Luke 3:32). Not only was she brought into the lineage of Christ but was specifically named as such twice in the New Testament.
Matthew refers to Rahab as the wife of Salmon (Ruth 4:20-21; Matt. 1:4-5; Salma in 1 Chro. 2:11). (Ancestral listings are given for both Joseph and Mary’s lineage) Rahab’s son Boaz married Ruth and became the father of Obed, the grandfather of Jesse, and the great-grandfather of David. Thus, a Canaanite harlot became part of the lineage of King David out of which the Messiah came (Matt. 1:5; Rachab, KJV)—God used Rahab to show the world that he gives his favor and forgiveness to all and that it is not limited to any one nationality (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; James 2:1; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2 Pet. 3:11).
The Scriptures testify that Rahab came out of a culture where harlotry and idolatry were acceptable, and yet she also recognized Jehovah as the one true God. Her statements recorded in Joshua 2:9-11 leave no doubt that she did. This Canaanite woman’s declaration of faith led the writer of Hebrews to cite Rahab as one of the heroes of faith (Heb. 11:31), while James, the brother of Jesus, commended her as an example of one who has been justified by works (James 2:25). The Lord used Rahab to show the world that those who repent and turn to him are fully accepted no matter their nationality or life experiences.