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God's Grace and Power

Last Sunday I heard an excellent sermon on Hebrews 11:35 "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."  Rahab had four strikes against her. 
Strike 1 is that In Genesis 15:16 we read "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”  Thus, God had promised to Abraham that the Amorites would be destroyed.  Hundreds of years later, Joshua is at the city of Jericho and is ready to destroy this Amorite city.  Yet because of God's grace, He decides to save Rahab.
Strike 2 is that Rahab is a woman.  As a general rule, women are not mentioned by name.  For example, in Genesis 7:13 we read "On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark."  Noah and sons are mentioned by name, but not their wives.  But in this story Rahab is mentioned, but not her father or her brothers.
Strike 3 is that she was a prostitute.  In Hebrews 11:35 the Bible records "By faith the prostitute Rahab."  There is no mincing of words - she is a prostitute.  But God's grace extends to prostitutes. 
The first three strikes are against Rahab. 
Strike 4 is a wall problem.  In Joshua 2:15 we read "So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall."  So Rahab is living on the city wall.  Not only that, but she lives on the highest part of the wall because early in the chapter, she has hidden the spies on the roof.  In Joshua 6:5 we read "When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in."  Then in verse 20 we read "When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city."  The problem God had to solve was to have all the walls collapse, except for where Rahab lived.  Some scholars say the walls collapsed when an earthquake struck the city.  So God caused the earthquake that happened exactly when the people had completed marching around the city and shouted, and the earthquake destroyed all the city walls except where Rahab was. 
Thus, this story is a display of God's grace in saving Rahab, and a show of His power in destroying all the walls except at the exact area where Rahab had lived.
    We need to thank God for His grace to us as sinners and His mighty power.

Ipods, Solomon, and Thanksgiving

     Are we truly thankful for all that we have?  Solomon in all his glory was not as rich as the average middle-class American.  We have so much, but I fear that we are not very thankful.  Some examples:  We have air conditioning and heat.  With a flick of a switch we can have air conditioning that cools are homes to a comfortable 75 degrees without humidity.  If we want it cooler, we adjust the thermostat, and it cools to 70 degrees.  If we want heat, we flick it from cool to heat and our houses are instantly warmed.  We want cool water - we go to the refrigerator and get some fresh, filtered water.  Need it literally ice-cold?  We add some ice.  And we have the choice between cube and crushed ice.  Need some music, we put on some headphones or ear buds so we don't disturb anyone and listen to a full orchestra on our iPod that is so small we can put it in our bag.  Want an opera?  We select opera.  Want something totally different?  Then we select some country-western.  We want some entertainment?  Then we go to Netflix and download any one of hundreds of movies and watch them on our TV.  If we don't like the selection, we can shift to our DVD collection.  Life is good. 
     But what is our attitude?  We are richer than Solomon, one of the richest men that ever lived.  We have what he did not even dream existed.  And our attitude, which should be one of thanksgiving, is often complaining.  It takes too long for the hot water to reach the bath.  We have only 170 hours of music and someone else has 230 hours of music.  We only have a 50" TV and our friend has a 65" TV. 
    So let us always be thankful to God for the great riches that He has poured on even the poorest of us.

Snowflakes and God

I was out to sea last week so I did not get an opportunity to write a blog.

It snowed last night - fast and furious, and what beauty - lots and lots of snow flakes coming down.  But what struck me last night is God's creativity.  Every snowflake is unique and there were thousands of them last night, perhaps millions.  How can that be?  God, who is infinite in power, is also infinite in creativity.  So He made each snowflake unique.  I think I would have run out of new ideas after a thousand, but He creates millions and millions of snowflakes that are unique.  Just like no two human beings are identical.  Even identical twins have different fingerprints.  Each one of us has our own God-given DNA, our own finger prints, our own teeth, etc. 
So let us praise God because of His creativity.