Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Highlights from Women of the Bible: Rahab

Dannah Gresh: There’s a healthy way to speak to yourself. That’s what Paulina Torres models for us.

Paulina Torres: I have to continually be intentional, telling my soul who He is and reminding my soul, “Remember, God is this, and God is that,” and making Him big in my heart so I can rest and have that assurance that God will help me. He will be with me because He is faithful to what He says.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, for Friday, August 14, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

If you’ve ever thought, God could never use me because I’ve ______. (You fill in the blank.) I could certainly fill in my own blank, but we need to be reminded of the Old Testament character Rahab.

Nancy, she’s someone we’ve been considering for the past couple of weeks here on Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Yes, Dannah. I just love the story of Rahab and the spies. I love the fact that God not only saved Rahab and her family’s lives, but also gave her the honor of being in the line of David and eventually the line of the Messiah, Jesus! What amazing mercy. What amazing grace. What amazing forgiveness. And what a precious reminder that nobody is beyond the reach of God’s saving love, and that God can take and redeem and use the life of any sinner who places their faith in Christ.

Dannah: And that gives all of us so much hope! God can truly reach anyone—even me.

Nancy: Well, this month on Revive Our Hearts our theme is “redemption” and the fresh starts God offers you and me. 

Today, we’ll hear some snippets from a more extended series of practical conversations around the story of Rahab and how her experiences and her expressions of faith intersect with our lives.

You’ll be hearing from a number of women, including Erin Davis, who is the host of the Revive Our Hearts’ Women of the Bible podcast. Erin sat down in the studio with Paulina Torres from Mexico, Lisa Whittle from North Carolina, and Leslie Bennett from South Carolina. They sat down to study Rahab’s story together and to talk about how it applies to us today.

Dannah: Let’s listen in to these excerpts from the Women of the Bible podcast on Rahab.

Erin Davis: Multiple places in Scripture—Old Testament, New Testament, different writers—they all tell us that Rahab was a prostitute. As we walk through her story, that’s going to be really important that we don’t sanitize that, and we don’t gloss over it. We don’t pretend like it’s not there, even though it’s uncomfortable to think of God using a prostitute in His redemptive plan. 

But not only was she a prostitute, but she’s a Canaanite and an Amorite—and Scripture does not speak favorably of the Canaanites. They did not worship the One True God. They worshiped little “g” gods, and lots of them. They had all of these practices of worshiping these gods that don’t align with the way God calls His people to worship.

So not only is Rahab a prostitute, she’s a pagan prostitute. And yet, Rahab’s story, the story of this pagan prostitute, shines a white-hot spotlight on the redemptive plan of God!

Lisa Whittle: Which is the whole point in pointing out and not glossing over the fact that she was a prostitute. That’s important because it’s important for redemption! So we’re not beating a dead horse here, and we’re not wanting to just pound that and say, “Remember, she was this . . .”

Erin: “Prostitute, prostitute, prostitute!”

Lisa: Right! It’s for a point. There’s a point, and that’s why it’s in the Bible.

Erin: Well, we’ll get there. But if she was just this perfect woman living this perfect life, would she need redemption?

Lisa: Right, would we be drawn to her? 

Erin: Would we see ourselves in her?

Paulina: No wonder God used her in the Bible!

Erin: Yes. She earned that. No wonder God rescued her—which He’s about to do—“because she’s a good girl with a cleaned-up life.” And that’s not who she is, and God is the One writing this story! And God’s the one writing your story for His glory, and every piece of that matters. But God used Rahab, the pagan prostitute, to declare the message of redemption so that He could get the glory.

So what message is God using your life to tell that shocks you?

Lisa: Well, I’m shocked I’m here talking on a podcast, reading the Word of God, partly because I was really a shy kid. For me, growing up in a pastor’s family, I would crawl under the table when people would try to talk to me at restaurants. I mean, that’s how shy I was, Erin. It was just painful!

Erin: What did your momma do? Did she just let you sit under there?

Lisa: Well, she let me get under the table. She wasn’t overly picky about germs, I guess.

So, I mean, that’s miraculous! That is a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in me to be able to do that. And that piece wouldn’t feel as much like redemption, but it’s still a surprise.

But I’ll tell what is redemption for me—and I feel this all the time. Not everybody listening knows the parts of my story where there’s church hurt involved because my father was the pastor of a very large church, and he lost his church in a very public way. It really wounded me as a young woman.So there’s a lot of church hurt there, and people listening can relate to this, because there are a lot of listeners that have gone through this.

So the fact that now God has me speaking to the Church—that I love dearly! Honestly, besides Jesus Christ and my family, the Church, I love the Church. That’s redemption! That He would use the thing that wounded me in many ways to then heal me, and that He would use that part of my story to be redeemed, that I might be in great fellowship there causes me to marvel every single time. I don’t get over it!

Erin: Paulina, what message is God using your life to tell that just shocks you? 

Paulina: I’m also shocked that I am here. If you would you go back more than ten years ago, you would say, “Well, there’s Paulina”—maybe not the prostitute, but “there’s Paulina, the big huge sinner!” I could totally identify my life with Rahab.

There’s sexual abuse in my past, and when there’s abuse, you react in different ways. For me, I grew up without a father, so I was also a woman that looked for acceptance and love in men. So I would go and have different boyfriends. I just wanted to fill that gap or that emptiness in my heart. I thought that it was going to be fulfilled by somebody loving me. So I could totally think like Rahab, “I don’t like what I’m doing, but at least I want somebody close to me, or at least I want to be desired.”

Can I read a verse?

Erin: Sure!

Paulina: It’s 1 Corinthians, which is me, and I know you ladies will relate as well. In 1 Corinthians 1:27 and 28, it’s a picture, really, of my life. It says, 

Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world, what is viewed as nothing to bring to nothing what is viewed as something. 

Erin: She’s got me in tears! We’re already in tears. Yes, and just in my limited interactions with you, your life declares the goodness of God! I didn’t know you ten years ago, but you didn’t think you were going to be declaring the goodness of God. None of us got to this spot in this podcast by earning it. We’re all amazed! “How’d we get here?”

Paulina: Just a couple of years ago I got the opportunity to teach in a city that was my “sin city.” I got to teach the Bible, and I got to teach about Jesus. It was so great. There was a person that said, “You’re Paulina from this and this?!” 

I said, “That’s me. And I’m here to tell you about Jesus now!” 

Lisa: That’s neat; that’s amazing!

Dannah: We’re listening to some highlights from the Women of the Bible podcast, looking into the life of Rahab.

Now, it’s interesting that God promised the Israelites they would have victory over the city of Jericho, but He still required them to fight for it and to believe He would deliver it to them.

Here’s Erin with more.

Erin: Lisa,can you think of an area in your life where God’s promised the victory, but you’re still fighting?

Lisa: Oh, I think about that with parenting. You’re still in the trenches. You still have to obey and follow and battle through and parent. Right?

I think about that in ministry. I think about where I feel like God has promised to me that He would use my life, and yet I still have to walk in obedience. Sometimes that feels really tricky, and I have to get over myself.

I think about the intangible. We had a piece of land that we owned for about ten years. We had this dream of what we wanted to do with it—it involved ministry and all kinds of stuff. And for ten years we thought, This is never going to have closure. We’re never actually going to own it. (There was some lawsuit around us that had nothing to do with us.) I say all that just to say it looked bad. I felt like it was ours. We bought that in faith, but for ten years, there was no visible sign, Erin. It was dark. 

Erin: So you could have put that land up for sale at any point. “Well, I cut my losses.”

Lisa: Right. And in full disclosure, we actually tried that. But I feel like that was something intangible. We believed that God . . . because you can’t see what God’s going to do. That’s the sovereignty of God that we don’t have access to. But we just did believe that. Now I will say, not all stories end with, “And now this happened . . .” But I will say that this summer, that did come to a full closure, and so we get excited to move forward.

_______

Erin: The Canaanites had a fear of God, but it was like they were afraid He was going to hurt them. But for Rahab it was different. She wasn’t afraid of God. She had a fear of the Lord. And how did that change her? She wasn’t just afraid He was going to hurt her. How did Rahab respond to the stories of the Red Sea and other stories she’d heard?

Lisa: She believed them. Instead of responding in fear of, “God is going to come in and wipe us out!” she had faith. She chose faith instead. She chose to believe that He is the One True God.

Leslie Bennett: I think the distinction is kind of like a holy awe. There’s some fear there, but it’s a right fear. It’s not fear in the way we think of being afraid of something or the ramifications thereof. It’s acknowledging, “This is who this is, and in that place, I have this reverence,” which, by the way, we could all use some more of in this day and time, I believe.

Erin: Yes.

Really, Rahab sees more than a one-dimensional God. Where the Canaanites see, “He’s powerful.” She somehow also saw, “But He is also loving because, yes, He drowned Pharaoh and his chariots in the sea, but the Israelites were rescued through that.”

Sometimes when we only see one side of God—whether it’s His wrath or maybe it’s just His love—and we don’t respond with that reverent awe. When we start to see how big He is and how good He is, and yes, He’s a God of judgment, but He’s also a God of mercy, the fear of the Lord is the result.

Dannah: The story of Rahab is full of beautiful truths about God. One of the great things about a study like this one is that the Holy Spirit begins to show us how those truths apply to our own lives.

Let’s continue with some highlights from the Women of the Bible podcast season on Rahab. Here are Erin, Paulina, and Leslie.

Erin: Courageous living (and Rahab’s doing some courageous living) flows out of a higher view of God. I have this little mantra I’ve adopted recently (I don’t know where I picked it up) which is: I don’t need a smaller view of my problems; I need a bigger view of God!

I don’t just need to trivialize the challenges in my life, in your life, and in your life, because some of those are not small!

Paulina: They’re big!

Erin: They’re big! And so the answer for making my heart have peace or me living courageously is not to minimize those but to have a bigger view of God. “I need to see more of You; I need to understand more of Your character!”

I really believe that we see in Rahab someone who got a bigger view of God along the way, and it equipped her to take some risks for Him. So what did she risk? Rahab is willing to house the spies. She lies to the king about it. What did she risk in doing that?

Paulina: She risked her life and her family’s lives!

Leslie: Everything! I mean, she was a traitor to her nation, and she knew that she could lose everything!

Erin: There was no going back from this moment. Now, we know that Jericho was destroyed, and she wasn’t going to be able to go back anyway. But she did not know that. So there was no going back in any way from this. She risked it all because she believed God was who He says He is.

Her view of God became higher than her comfort. Her view of God became higher than her view of her government, of her plans for her life. So you said it, it’s true: What we believe about God determines what we believe about everything else, or at least how we see and prioritize everything else.

So let’s talk through just a few areas. How does it impact our lives if we have a high view of God’s sovereignty—the idea that God is in control? If we really have a high, big picture view that God is in control, how does that impact the way that we live?

Leslie: Well, I think for one thing in my life, it allows me to rest in Him, especially when I’m praying for a particular way and God chooses to answer a different way. Then I can say, “Okay, God, You’re in control. You know what’s best. You’re working out Your plans. Your plans can’t be thwarted. Whatever’s happening over here is not going to keep You from accomplishing Your plans and Your purposes.”

So it gives me more peace and rest, and I just have to keep reminding myself, “God is Sovereign over all things. He never leaves the throne for a moment! There is no detail outside of His control, our lives included.”

Erin: Versus, if you had a low view of God, a small picture of His Sovereignty, and He didn’t answer the prayer in the way that you thought He should (which He won’t, because He’s God) . . .

Leslie: I’d be a wreck!

Erin: You’d question everything!

Leslie: Yes, and I would feel like everything depended on me! And how many times do we think that anyway? “Oh, God, let me fix this. Let me take care of this. You’re depending on me to correct this problem.”

Erin: Paulina, I’d love to hear you speak to this one, because you’ve spoken to it some already. How does it impact your life when you have a high, a big view of God’s love? 

Paulina: I can see both happening in my life all the time. When I see a big God and how He does, I come away with these promises. God is with me like a powerful giant, and you see His faithfulness.

But I also see sometimes when I doubt, and maybe I’m too much, how do you say it? You’re over yourself? 

Leslie: Get over yourself.

Paulina: It’s all about you. “I’m suffering,” and “my comfort,” and I’m making me big, and I’m making God small. And then His promises or what His Word says, I get worried. 

Erin: I don’t need a bigger view of me. I have a pretty big view of me, and you’re right.

Paulina: I have to continually be intentional about “making Him big!” He is big, but telling my soul who He is and reminding my soul, “Remember, God is this and God is that!” I’m making Him big in my heart so I can rest and have that assurance that God will help me. He will be with me because He is faithful to what He says.

So, yes, I can definitely tell a difference in my life when it’s Paulina being “big” in the picture and a “small” God.

Dannah: Rahab’s story includes an interesting detail about a scarlet cord she hung from a window. On the Women of the Bible podcast, Erin, Paulina, and Lisa spend some time thinking and talking about the significance of that red cord.

Paulina:

Come now, let us discuss this, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool. (see Isa. 1:18)

Erin: Okay. We get a color assigned to sin here, and what’s the color?

Paulina: Scarlet.

Erin: Scarlet—red. Something I didn’t know for a long time has really transformed my love for the Bible. It is that all of the Old Testament is pointing forward to Jesus, and all of the New Testament is pointing backward to Jesus.

So here we see this red thread in Rahab, and if we don’t know that, it might be disconnected, or we might gloss over it. But no, it’s pointing us forward to Jesus. Isaiah’s prophecy here is talking about how your sin is like scarlet, but it’s going to be white as snow. He’s pointing forward to Jesus.

The scarlet represents sin. Why? Is that God’s favorite color? Did He just pick red? It’s because Christ’s blood is the answer to our sin problem. It’s the color of blood. Even that’s not a mistake. God could have made our blood any color He wanted to make it.

Lisa: I think it’s interesting that in secular culture, which isn’t necessarily trying to pull in threads from the Bible, that God’s making His presence known through this earth. I think about how the color red in society is known as a power color. Right? So people think of red as a power color.

I just feel like God is saying, “I’m making Myself known throughout all of creation in ways that are subtle, that society may not notice Me and may not love Me, but I’m here.”

Erin: I want to take us back to Exodus 12 because I think this is an important piece. We won’t read all of it, but Exodus 12 is the story of the Passover.

I’ll give us the 10,000-foot view: God’s people were enslaved in Egypt. They call out for a deliverer. Moses is that deliverer.There’s plagues, but this moment happens when they’re going to be delivered. And God gives them some mysterious instructions about how that’s about to happen. He tells them to take a spotless male lamb—which those of us who know the gospel story know that that spotless male lamb represents Jesus, the Lamb slain for us.

But there’s this part here in Exodus 12:7. Lisa, can you read us Exodus 12:7?

Lisa: Yes. It says,

They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them.

Erin: So let me take us to Romans 5:9.

Paulina: I have Romans 5:9.

Erin: Oh, great. You give us Romans 5:9.

Paulina:  

Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from wrath.

Erin: So it’s the blood! It’s the blood of Christ that saves us or redeems us, that spares us from wrath, that moves us from death to life, from hopelessness to hopefulness.

So what is it that covers our sin allowing us to be spared from death? The same thing that allowed the Israelites here to be spared from death—it’s the blood of Christ. And it’s the blood of Christ that bears the load.

The blood was on that load-bearing beam on their doorpost, and it’s the blood of Christ that bears the weight of our sin and our shame. So in the Passover, it was the lamb’s blood, and that pointed to Christ, whose blood was shed for us. And in Rahab, it’s that red cord that points forward.

__________

Erin: What did Rahab have to give up in order to pledge her life to the One True God?

Leslie: Well, she had to turn her back on everything she knew. She was a Canaanite and a pagan worshipper. We’ve already talked about that a lot. But she had to absolutely turn away from that and go in a completely different direction. Her family was saved, so she wasn’t turning her back on her family.

Erin: But were her friends, were her neighbors?

Leslie: No. They weren’t.

Erin: And her culture was obliterated. It’s not like she could vacation there. Her culture was obliterated.

Leslie: Right.

Erin: She gave all of that up to follow God. But what did she gain? 

Leslie: She gained everything—eternal life in Christ.

Paulina: Purpose!

Erin: Yes! Peace—she became one of the children of God.

Leslie: A new family.

Paulina: Joy.

Erin: We know that she married into the Israelites. She becomes the mother of Boaz. And Boaz is the husband of who?

Paulina: Ruth.

Erin: So God does this amazing thing in her story.

We give things up when God changes our identity to be His children. What do we give up to follow Christ?

Leslie: I was a young mom with two small children when I was saved. So my lifestyle changed dramatically. God led me to new friendships. I maintained relationships with these non-Christian women who I loved, but I needed some godly women. I was blessed that the Lord just developed friendships with women who knew the Lord and were further down the road than I was.

I had grown up in the church and thought I was a believer, but I was not. And so that also meant changing to a new church because the church I was at, I was not hearing the gospel preached. I didn’t know you could have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought it was all about my works. So that was another big change in my life.

So my lifestyle really began to look different. Gradually—a lot of these things didn’t happen overnight—but I was going in one direction, and I turned around and started going a different one.

Erin: In reality, it’s nothing. No matter what it is that He asked you to do, it’s nothing.

Paulina: Right.

Erin: There really is no cost to count when all is said and done. Whatever price Jesus asks you to pay, pay it. Whatever it is He asks you to give to Him, give it to Him. Because it’s always a trade up. 

Leslie: And really, we’re the debtors. There’s nothing I can do to pay the cost that it took the blood of Jesus to redeem and to save me. I’m the debtor. Christ paid the cost.

Erin: That’s right. And though it cost her some, Rahab was transformed from a pagan prostitute to a member of the Israelites.It matters who she was in light of who God transformed her to be. So we don’t erase all of that. It’s part of the story of what God is doing.

Paulina: Yes. And God gets all the glory.

Erin: Yes. God gets all the glory. I really love that!

What Rahab became was brand new. Can you read us 2 Corinthians 5:17?

Paulina:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away; and look, new things have come. (CSB)

Erin: Here’s your identity: New Creations in Christ. If we are in Christ, we are not who we once were.

Nancy: Wow! It’s so encouraging to me to listen to a group of friends who view life through a biblical lens and to see ways that this Old Testament story applies to our lives today.

We’ve been listening to some excerpts from the current Women of the Bible podcast season on the biblical character of Rahab. You heard Lisa Whittle, Paulina Torres, Leslie Bennett, and Erin Davis. You can find out more about the Women of the Bible podcast at ReviveOurHearts.com

The story of Rahab is an incredible example of the amazing grace of Christ. And you can see the thread of redemption that’s woven throughout her life, and throughout the whole Scripture, in this new study on Rahab. It’s a part of the Women of the Bible series from Revive Our Hearts.

I love seeing how God is faithful to restore sinners like Rahab—sinners like us—through His gospel of grace.

We’d love to send you this six-week study with your gift of any amount to this ministry. To make your gift, you can go online to ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us at 1–800–569–5959. And when you make your gift, be sure to ask for your copy of the Women of the Bible study on Rahab.

Well, God is in the business of transforming us, giving us those fresh starts we were talking about earlier, and making us into the image of Jesus. All next week on Revive Our Hearts, we’re going to hear some beautiful stories of redemption and grace—how God has been at work in the lives of some of His daughters. You won’t want to miss it.

I hope you’ll have a wonderful weekend, and then be back with us on Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Helping you trace the thread of redemption through history. Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Speakers

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many …

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Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett served as a Director of Women’s Ministries for a dozen years prior to joining Revive Our Hearts in Women’s Ministry Initiatives. She is also the content manager of …

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Paulina Torres

Paulina Torres

Paulina Torres currently lives in Querétaro, MX where she serves in the women's leadership of her church and also serves in the Aviva Nuestro Corazones ministry. She is the wife …

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Lisa Whittle

Lisa Whittle

Lisa Whittle's love runs deep to see people pursue Jesus for life, grow deep roots of faith, and walk strong in the midst of a world that so often seems …

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