As I study the Bible lately, God is revealing Himself to me as God Who Sees. To be seen is to be noticed, known, cared about; to be seen is to matter. Sometimes as I am going about my day, busily running errands and passing by people without interacting with them, I think about the people who seem like the “extras” in my life story. I’ll look at someone I have not spoken to or interacted with or seen before and pause to think about how “not random” she is to God, how intimately He knows her, how precious she is to Him, how in tune with her He is, and I’ll wonder about her story.
I am awestruck by the story of Rahab in Joshua 2. She’s the kind of person who seems like she should have been an “extra” in the Israelite story. I read notes about her in my study Bible and learned that she was a Canaanite and a common prostitute, which possibly meant that she was a widow who was trying to make ends meet for her family. Her house, built within the city wall, was likely a humble place. She was not an Israelite, and even among her own people, she was not a high-ranking person of seemingly great influence or importance. However, after reading the story about how her family alone was spared when the Israelites went to battle with the Canaanites, I can’t help but think that God knew, noticed, and cared about every intimate detail of her life long before the Israelites came. I believe that in His sovereignty, He placed her in an unremarkable, commonplace dwelling because He knew she would be in just the right position to be saved, both physically and spiritually.
In the story, Rahab tells the two Israelite spies that her people are terrified of the Israelites after hearing stories about them crossing the Red Sea and defeating two other kings. My study Bible notes her use of the word “Yahweh,” God’s personal name, meaning that she had become a believer in the Lord, God of the Israelites, and she goes on to make further statements offaith in the Lord.
Her situation did not look good. She was a common prostitute dwelling among a group of people who were about to be slaughtered by the Israelites. After she came to believe in the Lord and offered help to the Israelite spies, they agreed to spare her and her family. As I thought about her life before and then after this encounter, I wondered what her life was like after the dust settled and the fighting was over. As I continued to read and study, I could not help but gasp when I read Matthew 1:5: …Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab. There she is, right in the midst of the lineage of Jesus. What happened in her life after she professed faith in the Lord? She had been a prostitute, and then became married. She had been a foreigner, and then was adopted into God’s family. In place of shame, she was exalted to a place of honor in the lineage of Jesus. She is mentioned in both Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 as an example of a person saved by faith and justified by works.
When we feel like we are floundering, insignificant, unseen, and humbled by situations we are desperate to escape, we may find that God has placed us in just the right circumstances to receive salvation, blessings, and honor that are too great for us to even imagine. Rahab is the perfect example of the principle stated James 4:7: …God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. My favorite thing about what God did for Rahab is the same thing that he did for the widow who gave the two mites: he saw her. I love serving the God Who Sees, and pray that He would open up my eyes to give me that same sight, that I would really see those around me and that the seeing would lead to loving.