The Joshua Series- SCARLET CORDS

Hebrews 11, the enviable “Hall of Faith” in the New Testament is chalk-full of formidable giants of the Bible. Abel, Moses, Abraham, Enoch, Noah, Isaac, Rahab, Jacob, Gideon, Samson, Sarah, David, Joseph, Barak, Jephthah, Samuel - the list is impressive to say the least. Most are well-known heroes of old who’s stories echo on the pages of history even to this day. All gifted by Yahweh to save His people, propel His Name, and glorify Him to the ends of the earth. All genetically part of His chosen people.

Except one.

Take a look back at that list again. Who stands out- glaring in red letters across the page amongst her fellow hero’s of faith? You may note that there’s only 2 women mentioned at all- one the mother of the chosen people of God, the other a prostitute from a pagan city.

Striking is it not?

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen....
By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1, 31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The natural question begs to be asked. What on earth is Rahab, an unmarried whore from a city-nation at war with the Israelites, doing smack-dab in the middle of the hall of faith? She wasn’t a Jew, she wasn’t a worshipper of Jehovah, she was a woman, a prostitute, an outcast. A seemingly strange choice to be added by the author of Hebrews to say the least.

I would bet there’s no few sisters out there, who, like me, sometimes feel like the outcast. We feel caught in the middle of some great war, surrounded by spies and enemies, morally broken, socially disabled, or spiritually dry. We see and hear of the Enemy coming for our families, our jobs, spouses, health, friends, our very lives- and we fear greatly the wrath and destruction upon our doorstep.

And yet, like Rahab, like all the great heroes of faith- we also feel the pull of God’s divine hand on our lives. So we take in the spies, we protect the needy, we help save God’s chosen people, we push past what the authorities in our lives say is right and proper- and we do the right thing. We obey. Plain and simple. We do the God-thing. We seek the face of Him who’s Hand guides our lives- despite our name, our culture, our past, or our present. Like Rahab we see past our circumstances and seek a better life. A life full to the brim with Yahweh at the head. We seek adoption into a different nation, a royal priesthood, and a cherished royalty.

Rahab had guts. She had foresight. She had unwavering faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob without even knowing Him personally. She was obedient to the instruction He placed on her going off of rumor-only. Her faith was put in the hope of things and situations she had only heard about. This woman protected God’s people, then when the time came, she put out her scarlet thread for all to see- and awaited her fate... wholly in God’s hands.

Today sisters, regardless of what situation you find yourself in, take heart from our Joshua outcast. If you find yourself staring down an army of the Enemy surrounding your home, a social outcast, morally struggling, or spiritually lost please know that God still has a hand of purpose on your life. If He chose a woman such as Rahab to fulfill His plans and protect His people, how much more will He have for you!

Obey the calling He has for you. Protect and serve His servants- in whatever way that looks in your life. And then throw your scarlet cord out the window dear one. Fall on the mercy of almighty Jehovah for safety and salvation.

“But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, ‘Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.’ So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. But Rahab the prostitute and her father's household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” Joshua 6:22-25 ESV

God did not forget Rahab and He will not forget you!

Or perhaps you are in a blissful season of rest and quiet. I encourage you to look back at the annuals of your walk with the Father and note all the scarlet cords hanging down. All the times and instances you placed your faith in Him and stepped out with foresight to come alongside what God was doing. Scared but hopeful, resigned but also resolved to follow Him. These scarlet cords are worth noticing, they weave a tapestry of faith that intertwines with the greatest of the Bible- just as Rahab‘s did.

To end, let me have you look at another list of names, take a quick peek at Matthew 1 and the geneology of Jesus…

“The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,

Perez the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

 Ram the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Obed the father of Jesse,

and Jesse the father of King David.”

Matthew 1:1-6 NIV

It would seem our harlot, through her obedience and faith was only the great-great grandmother of King David, but got pulled into the line of Christ Himself! Nothing and nobody is impossible for God!

The Joshua Series- GREAT EXPECTATIONS

I'm excited to start a new series with lessons found in the book of Joshua. The Lord has been walking with me through the early books of the Old Testament for the last year and I'm finally at a place that I can share all the insights God's been showing me. Join us weekly for some real, raw, open and honest this-is-where-I'm-at-right-now GodStuff. I pray it blesses you as it has me. ~Bethany

Recently my husband and I took in two new foster children. The Lord led us to fostering, quite unexpectedly, last year and for many months we've had just an infant with us. Last month though He asked us to take in two more, one with special needs. We prayed over them, we talked at length about the pros and cons, we took as much time as we could to decide. Because in this case, taking in these two would give us a total of six children, three of which have special needs, all of which are under 7. Yikes. I'm sure you can appreciate our trepidation at such a prospect.

Yet, God made it abundantly clear to us that we needed to take in these young boys. So we agreed with great expectations and not a few hesitations.

We're a month into our new season with these kiddos and let me just say in all honesty and that its been hard. I mean capitol H A R D hard. I've found myself stretched to the max daily, hourly, minute by minute at times. Going to bed so many nights questioning if we've done the right thing. Waking up exhausted every morning not knowing how I'm going to make it through the day. I've found myself questioning if we made the right call, questioning our sanity, questioning my ability to continue on. I've grieved the loss of time with my own kids and time with my husband. I've missed meetings, missed church, and had to pull out of other ministries that I adored. Yes, it's been a radical life change to say the least.

I don't like it.

I don't enjoy it.

I don't even 'want' it at times.

And yet, even in the midst of the chaos I know that I'm sitting (or more realistically, splayed out) right where I'm supposed to be. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I'm being obedient.

In all honesty, I'm not that foster mom that's dreamed of doing this all her life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad and there are definitely glimpses of awesomesness here and there. I for sure don’t hate this season. But I'm not that foster parent that has the proverbial huge heart for these kids. I foster because it's a ministry that God called us into and one that is worthy to be doing. I do it because it's Biblical and the right thing to do. I do it because I can't say no to my almighty Father- even when I want to- even when the ministry is not only not 'right down my alley' but quite frankly at times is not even in the same city!

This obedience-thing is not for the faint of heart! And it’s H A R D work.

Yet, my Father is good, even moreso in my vast weaknesses. He has me in Joshua right now and the encouragement I've found even within the first chapter has brought me more than once to tears. (It's like He knew!)

"Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouths. Meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:8-9 NIV

So where I am at with all this you may ask?

What I'm learning is that when God told Joshua over and over to be strong and courageous, He wasn't at all referring to taking the Promised Land. Jehovah was telling him to be strong and courageous in his obedience to Him. He was instructing Israel to be resolute, obstinate even, in their obedience.

Regardless of the outcome. Regardless of the scenery on the other side of that leap of faith.

Regardless of whether it makes my own life more pleasant or easy.

I'm learning slowly but surely that oftentimes 'ministry' that God calls us to doesn't necessarily come with the assumed great expectations of obedience that we all want. We assume that our obedience to Him will result in happier times, contentment, provision, or greener pastures.

Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Our saying yes to God and these boys certainly hasn't made our highways and byways clearer. In fact it's significantly impacted all of them. And yet, I'd venture to say that it's made their little pathways more manageable.

I'm learning is that my obedience is the only thing I can control. The rest is up to God: the provision for each day, the strength to continue on, the sanity to push forward, and even the wherewithal to choose to obey again...

and again... and again.

What I'm learning is that despite the seemingly extreme 'inconvenience' of this ministry God has placed on us, the idea of being outside His will and His way is far more terrifying. This season may not be one we would have chosen, it has not been ideal by any stretch, we can only hope and pray that it gets easier... but my expectations of my 'yes' are secondary to the work God has for me.

And suddenly the tables are turned. What great expectations I had placed on Him, are now turned and seen through His eyes upon me. His expectations for me must be quite grand to entrust some of His precious children to us for a time.

It turns out, I've learned I had this entire thing backward the whole time.

Dear ones, view whatever ministries God has called you to- easy, hard, good, bad, or ugly- as opportunities to step up in obedience and meet our Father's great expectations of you. It is no small thing to place you where He did with the treasured people and work He's entrusted you with.

You have your Father's great expectations upon you this day- be strong and courageous, be not discouraged!


Why running away is exactly what God wants you to do

My young sons were playing in the park the other day with my husband. They had spent the better part of the afternoon there and it was starting to get dark. Time to go home. We recently moved to a new neighborhood within walking distance of this particular park so my husband decided to see if the boys were familiar with their surroundings enough to find their way home. "Boys, it's time to go home. Our house is that way, " he said pointing broadly to the west.

Except our house is actually in the exact opposite direction...

Jonah, our 3 year old, looked at Gabe, saw his pointed finger, and took off running in the direction it was indicating yelling, "Okay daddy!" as he bounded off. The boy loves to run. It took Gabe by surprise how quickly he bolted away- without question and with fervor- such immediate obedience. Blindly and unquestioning, Jonah heard his father's instructions and obeyed them with gusto. He was 50 yards away before he heard Gabe hollering at him to stop and turn around! If only our oldest, Jesse (or as we call him, Little Napoleon, was so immediately and blindlessly obedient... he simply looked up at Gabe during the initial instructions and told him promptly that our house was in the other direction- the boy's got internal GPS! But I digress....)

I love that my kid listens to his daddy. I love that, despite 'incorrect' directions, he still obeyed what he wanted him to do. Even if it didn't make sense. Even if it went against what he knows to be true.

If only we as Christians would obey our Father in heaven so immediately and blindly!

Even when He gives us 'incorrect' directions...

Scripture tells us over and over to have faith like a child. Abram had it despite God commanding him to sacrifice his son. Moses did it when God told him to meet with Pharoah while doing and saying some pretty crazy things. Joshua obeyed when he was told to simply march around the walls of Jericho. The Bible is littered with examples of obedience in the face of seemingly insane instructions.

I am constantly convicted of how little my own faith looks like a child's and how hard it is for me to achieve such faith! It shouldn't be so tough and yet it is! My head, logic, reason, and foolishness get in the way much too often for me to ever claim to have faith like a child. It is a sad state of affairs when my 3 year old shows more obedience and pursuit of instructions from his father than I do of my heavenly Father. Oh to run away with such immediate vigor in the direction God tells me to; without hesitation, without argument, without questioning the reasoning- even when the instructions seem to make no sense at all!

As a mom, it frustrates me to no end when my littles question me or delay their obedience. In fact it often infuriates me! I desperately want them to listen and obey. We have a song in our house about obedience- "When we obey we do it right away, we do it all the way, and with a happy heart." Gabe and I instituted it several years ago for the kids, but dadgum! does God not use it almost daily to convict me of my own obedience to Him! Funny how He works like that... and how often my behavior must frustrate Him (thank God for grace!! Amen?)

I want to be like my Jonah- who listens and obeys his father immediately, with excitement, as fast as his little legs can carry him; without thought or argument, without reasoning or suggesting a better direction.

So today, dear one, I challenge you to pursue running away with as much gusto and faith as you can muster. Look to where God is pointing His finger and GO!

Will you obey right away, all the way, and with a happy heart?

RUN AWAY TODAY

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my heart today. Please comment below with thoughts and ruminations of where your walk is today. Please share and follow if this blesses you!