she had a gift...

Monday, September 6, 2010

a certain gift of hospitality.

my heart has a soft spot for her story because i too have used the gifts that Jesus has given me in ways that do anything but bring Him glory.

and i have to give her compassion...she didn't know Him.  she only knew that she had a gift in making her home open and men who were choosing to exploit her and themselves.

they were drawn to her.

rahab the prostitute. (you can read her story here in the book of joshua, chapters 2 and 6)

this past summer, away from everything familiar but the faces i hold dear, God has slowly been revealing a plan to my heart.  at first, i ignored it.  and then i began to hesitantly take a peek.  and then, in this last week, i flung open my heart and said okay to the Relentless Pursuer of my heart.

you see, He has placed certain gifts in my spirit too.  but like rahab the prostitute, before i completely surrendered my life to Him, i used them in the worst ways possible, because i used them to bring *me* the fulfillment that i thought i couldn't find anywhere else.  my focus wasn't on Him, or on others...but on me.

and as Jesus is slowly and gently revealing His plan and His heart to me, i am met head on with flashes of pictures from my past choices and mistakes.  regret and shame begin to fill my spirit and i find myself questioning not His plan but His inclusion of me in it.

i'm doing this study on the book of ruth.  i am loving it, despite the fact that one really needs a group of more than one to fully enjoy the food...


the focus today was on ruth 2:14, "at mealtime boaz said to her, 'come over here.  have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.' when she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain.  she ate all she wanted and had some left over."

seems rather insignificant until you understand that as a moabitess, ruth wasn't even allowed to "enter the assembly of the Lord" (deuteronomy 23:3-6) and the israelites were to have nothing to do with them.

but despite her label, despite who she was, the only one who could offer her a place at his table, did.

grace.  so beautiful, so undeserved, so freeing.

the next passage that was focused on was found in 2 samuel 9:1-12.  david, the king of israel, opened up his home to the crippled son of his best friend who had died.  again, someone who couldn't earn his way to the king's table, someone who was lame and broken, someone who had absolutely nothing found himself with an invitation to eat and be filled with the goodness that only a king could provide.

which brings me back to sweet rahab - the woman who used her gift for all the wrong reasons and in all the wrong ways.

rahab, who chose to trust that God could save and redeem her.

rahab, the prostitute who became a mother.

the prostitute who became the mother of boaz.

boaz, the one who offered his table and ultimately his name to one whom he should have considered beneath him. boaz, the man who became great-grandfather of david.

david, despite his many flaws, who was considered a man after God's own heart.

and that is why i have hope in the power of redemption.

that is why i have hope that the gifts and choices made with devastating results can ultimately be redeemed.  and used.  and conformed to the purpose that God intends.


one decision to turn from who i was and turn to the One Who Is, can change the course of my life and the lives of those that come after me...

rahab made the decision to turn from her former life.  she made a decision to use her gift of hospitality to please the God who saw her, had mercy on her and Who loved her enough to include her in His family.


not only did her gift influence her son, or her great-great grandson; her gift had a lasting impact on the entire course of history.

read it in matthew 1.  rahab is the second woman listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

and in the personhood of Jesus, the gift of hospitality is revealed in all of it's glory,
"then i heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting; 'hallelujah! for our Lord God Almighty reigns.  let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!  for the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.  fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.'  (fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)  then the angel said to me, 'write: "blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" and he added "these are the true words of God."" revelation 19:6-9

you and i have been invited,  the invitation has been given.  do you notice that even our clothes will be provided?  as the Ultimate Host, Jesus has provided everything.  everything.  we don't deserve it, but He saw you. He saw me, and His heart was moved with compassion to save.  the only step that you and i need to take is to "confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." romans 10:9

there is still a part of me that struggles with understanding why God would place such a dream in my heart,  part of me that questions His plan to include me.  but today, through a simple love story between a man and a woman, the reminder of who he had came from and Who came after them, i was reminded in the power of the choice to follow Jesus and the change that emerges from that.

hope.  grace.  mercy.  redemption.

she had a gift, yes.  but His made it so much sweeter...