Daily Devotionals

“Loosed” for God’s Purposes

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Scripture: “Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ So, they went and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and spent the night there…. [Rahab said] ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land and that dread of you has fallen on us…. As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you. The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.’ The men said to her, ‘Our life for yours!’” – Joshua 2: 1, 9, 11-14

If you haven’t read the story of Rahab recently, I encourage you to go to the second chapter of Joshua and read the fascinating story. I recently had the opportunity to teach a lesson for Circles 1 & 3 who are learning about all of the women mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1) this year. In that genealogy, Rahab is listed as the great-great-grandmother of King David, but believe me when I say that she is no ordinary grandmother! 

This Old Testament story has all the makings of a spy thriller with an unlikely heroine, Rahab– a prostitute, a harlot, a “loose” woman. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember many of my Sunday school teachers talking about Rahab a lot when I was growing up. In fact, we don’t really talk about her a lot today. Prostitutes, harlots, “loose women.” These aren’t people that we should be learning about and from – should we? Surprisingly, the meaning of “loose woman” doesn’t really have anything to do with having questionable morals, per se. It comes from the idea that a woman was typically “bound” to her male head of household – so if a woman did not have a male head of household, she became someone who was no longer bound in those terms and was “loosed” to make her own choices. 

The scripture passage quoted above recalls just a small portion of Rahab’s story, but it is a key part that reveals why I think God chose her for this important purpose. Rahab declares her belief in the Hebrew God, which if you think about it, is nothing short of remarkable. Jericho is a pagan city, and she has lived there all her life. Not to mention the whole prostitution situation! She has not had any interactions that we know of until now with the Hebrew people, and yet – she believes and makes her choice to cast her lot with Israel and with God. She recognizes God’s sovereignty, and God’s truth resonates with her. Unsuitable and “loosed,” Rahab turns out to be perfect for God’s intention and plan, and then she becomes an integral part of God’s greatest plan – the sending of Jesus to redeem and save us all. 

I want to challenge all of us to think about how we can become unbound and “loosed” for God’s purposes both now and in the coming year. How in the world do I do that, you ask? Begin by choosing to see yourself as God sees you and not as others may see you (easier said than done – I know!). Second, make the choice to also see all those who are marginalized and deemed unsuitable by society but who are God’s beloved, just like you, and, in light of the freedom that comes from being declared a beloved child of God, let’s be “loosed” into this battered and broken world to do the work that God asks us to do. To love God and neighbor however that manifests itself. To have the privilege of being a part of His eternal and love-filled plan.

Prayer: Lord God, we are all completely unsuitable in light of God’s perfect holiness. But if our holy God believes in and loves us as unworthy sinners, how can we not respond? Now and in the coming year, free us from caring about how others define us, and help us to see ourselves as God sees us instead – as his beloved people, “loosed” for his purposes and plan. I cast my lot with you, Lord God. Give me a heart for you, and for all those you love. Amen.

Submitted by Ginger Bates