S195P6 – The other side of faith: Rahab’s fear

Jos. 2:8-11

Now before they lay down, [Rahab] came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.  For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.“

They had heard wonderful and unbelievable stories about a God who they did not know.  They knew the people who served this God, but they did not know him.  These were enemies of theirs, so these stories had an impact on them.  This was a people against whom they planned to stand, and they knew that the destruction of which they had heard indeed had occurred.  The defeats of Israel’s enemies were not folklore but were verifiable fact.  This created a fear that their own fate might be the same as those who had come against Israel in the past and fallen.  That fear could move them to defiance or to faith.  For Rahab, it was the latter. 

Rahab is another figure mentioned in the faith hall of fame.  When she hid God’s spies and protected them from her own people, it showed that she feared God in two ways.  First, she feared the sheer power of the Lord to destroy his enemies without difficulty.  He would not be defied, and He would not be defeated.  This made her believe that He is the one true God, and that moved her to a second kind of fear, which is respect.  First was terror, then was reverence.  That is when she was moved to work on the side of God’s chosen people in order to help him gain the victory.  This kind fear, this reverence and respect, should be a product of our faith that continues to strengthen as faith gains depth and is refined.

Each person’s conversion is universal yet unique.  We run to God for all kinds of reasons.  Some are triggered by pain, others fear, and still others desperation.  Whatever the reason we turn to faith in God, we come out on the other side with reverence.  As we continue to grow in the Lord and in our faith, we know him more and experience his glory more.  We come to God out of need because we realize we cannot do this without him.  Our growth in faith then brings us to give to him that which He is due because of who He is, which is the fear we are to have for our Lord.  Father, let our faith produce a proper reverence of You that grows as we come to know You more.