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7.17.2006

Rahab

Last night I had the opportunity to meet a young woman (27 years old?) who is HIV+. She told me that she had been a prostitute from the time she was 13 until she was 24. She gave thanks to God for being HIV+ because it got her out from under her life of prostitution and gave her the courage to face life without alcohol. Today she feels better than she has ever felt before and takes care of her body and gives thanks to God each day. To give thanks for being HIV+! What an amazing testimony to the power of God even in and even through the adversities of our lives.

This morning's Daily Office reading was Joshua 2:1-14, the story of the prostitute Rahab who saves the lives of the two men sent by Joshua "to search out the land" in and around Jericho. We are told that Rahab hid the men and protected them from the King of Jericho. In return she asked that they spare her life and the life of her family when they ultimately occupied the land.

Some might say that Rahab was selfish in protecting Joshua's men; and yet, I think it is important to realize that she chose to protect them before she had received their promise of future protection. In fact, in her plea to the men, she proclaims, "The LORD your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below." This prostitute understands the miraculous power of the Israelite's God.

I have always been disappointed in Joshua's men for their reply to her request for safety: "If you do not tell this business of ours, then we will deal kindly and faithfully with you when the LORD gives us the land." Rahab protected two men without exacting a promise. But the men agree to protect her and her family only after exacting a promise.

I wish I could offer a brief "moral of the story" at the end of this post, but instead, I will sit with the discomfort and wonder, "what are the bargaining chips I insist upon for my good deeds in life?"

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