In 2015 the Seattle Seahawks were on the verge of winning back to back super bowl championships. With just 26 seconds to play, trailing by 4 points, they were on the New England Patriots goal line. With one of the NFL’s most dominant running backs they were sure to score and win the game. Rather the run the ball, however, Seattle elected to throw a pass and it was intercepted by New England’s undrafted, rookie, Malcom Butler sealing the win for New England. Butler instantly became the most unlikely hero.
Today, as we take a look at a small section of Joshua, we will encounter another unlikely hero.
In the book of Joshua, we read the story of Rahab. Her story begins when two Israelite spies show up at her front door (2:1). The spies had come to gather intel from Jericho. They were planning an attack on the city. They were, by all accounts, enemies of Rahab, but Rahab had heard about Israel’s God and she believed (Joshua 2:10-11) and as a result she protected the spies and helped them escape the city successfully before any harm could be done to them (2:15-16).
As the spies were leaving she asked that they would remember her when they came back to the city to attack it (2:12-13). The spies agreed and asked that Rahab would hang a scarlet cord from her window to identify which house was hers (2:18). Once Israel invaded Jericho they destroyed everything and everyone except Rahab and her family. Once they saw that scarlet cord in the window they passed over her house and onto the next. Rahab’s faith saved her (Hebrews 11:31).
From this story (from this real-life historic event) we see that a hero emerges, an unlikely hero at that. Now the primary hero in this story is God. God is always the hero. He is the hero of your story and He is the hero of the entire Bible. But a secondary hero is Rahab. She opens up her home to the two spies, she puts her life in danger to hide them, and then she helps them escape, showing great faith, courage and boldness.
The Bible spends a good deal of time highlighting Rahab in a positive way. We see her story here in Joshua, but she is also mentioned in the book of James (James 2:25) and Hebrews (Hebrews 11:31) as well as in the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 1:5), where she is named in the lineage of Jesus.
Rahab is portrayed as a hero of the faith, but how unlikely of a hero she is. She was a Canaanite woman (not a Jew, not of the people of God), living in Jericho (a wicked and idolatrous city) and her profession was that of a prostitute. She would have been thought of more as a villain than as a hero, yet God used her, as unlikely as she was, to do a great work.
That is how God is. He regularly takes average, or even unlikely people and uses them to do great things for Him. Not because they are great and awesome, but because God is great and awesome and He can use even the least likely to accomplish His work.
God can use us, as average or unlikely as we are, to have a tremendous impact for His kingdom. That impact might be on just one or two people. You don’t have to have a gigantic Twitter following, be the author of several Christian books, or have a million friends in order to have an impact for Christ. Rahab impacted the lives of two spies who then went on to impact an entire nation. She also had an impact on her family by bringing them in her home, keeping them from certain death as Israel attacked. Her impact was on a small group of people, but reached far beyond that.
We too can have an impact on those in our circle. It may just be one or two people, it may just be our family, but we should be intentional to point people to Jesus.
God can use us to have a tremendous impact for Him. Our attitude should be, “Here I am God, use me. I am not great or awesome, but You are and You can do great things through me.” Let that be our attitude and prayer and see how God can use us for His glory.